Part of the plant used: roots and rhizomes
Kava is a shrub, 3 meters or taller, that grows in the Pacific islands of Micronesia, Polynesia, Indonesia and New-Guinea. While it does blossom, it cannot reproduce by itself and needs man's help to propagate. The applicable part of kava is the root, from which kavalactones are extracted. Kavalactones are thought to be responsible for kava's effects. Because the kavalactone content may vary from 3 to 20%, standardized kavalactone preparations are preferred to crude extracts. Polynesians are still using kava for its "magical" properties during ceremonies and celebrations: it apparently calms those who take it and increases their sociability.
Used doses: 70 mg of kavalactones, 3 times a day.
Used doses: 80 mg to 160 mg ate bedtime.
There is insufficient reliable information to conclude that kava is effective in any other indication, including topical application.
In 2004, Canada adopted new regulations that control the manufacturing, packaging, labeling and importing of natural health products. The new regulations also include an adverse reaction reporting system. Products that conform to the regulation's criteria are identified with a natural product number (NPN) and can be legally sold in Canada. This number indicates that the product meets specific criteria for safety and purity, not that it is effective for any indication.
Medicinal plant contents vary naturally from plant to plant - just as fruits from the same package may vary in taste and texture. There is no standard to measure the active content of each plant. Thus, efficacy of natural products should be expected to vary from brand to brand as well as from bottle to bottle of the same brand.
For more information about the Natural Health Products Regulations, or to check if a product has been assessed, visit the Health Canada website at www.hc-sc.gc.ca/dhp-mps/prodnatur/index-eng.php.
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