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know what you drink
The man who drinks kava is still a man, but the man who drinks liquors becomes a beast.
Traditional Hawaiian proverb
Why Traditional Kava Use is Essential
All types of kava are not equal. As discussed in our "Traditional Use" section, only noble or daily use kava prepared by water extraction is suitable for consumption. The following quotes from kava experts make this point clear:
"In the case of kava, the determination of suitable qualities is reflected by the secular experience in the Pacific. In this region, experience tells that noble cultivars are safe and deliver the appropriate physiological effects with no hang-over. However, experience with two-days cultivars, indicates that they might possibly be connected with observations of liver toxicity."
Dr. Vincent Lebot, "Detection of flavokavins (A, B, C) in cultivars of kava using HPTLC", 2013
"Noble cultivars are considered by Pacific practitioners as the safest as no incidences of liver toxicity has been linked to their traditional social use."
Angelique F. Showman et al "Contemporary Pacific and Western perspectives on `awa (Piper methysticum) toxicology", 2014
“Calculations and comparison of known toxicity data with flavokavin contents of noble and two-day kava underline that there is a potential problem with the safety of non-noble varieties."
Dr. Mathias Schmidt, "Islands Business", Suva Fiji, 2014
"Adverse reactions emerged unexpectedly in face of the apparent safe traditional use of kava for thousands of years; these reactions were most probably a consequence of poor-quality raw kava material employed in the manufacture of a few kava extracts."
Dr. Rolf Teschke, "Kava and the Risk of Liver Toxicity: Past, Current, and Future", 2011.
"Products should be developed from water based suspensions of kava; ethanolic and acetonic extracts should be avoided.
Clinical trials of kava have not revealed hepatotoxicity as a problem."
World Health Organization, "Assessment of the risk of hepatotoxicity with kava products", 2007.
“In my nearly three decades of work in Polynesia, I have never heard of a single case of liver toxicity caused by kava consumption.”
Dr. P.A. Cox, Botanist, Director, National Tropical Botanical Garden, Hawaii
"We have no current intention to seek a recall or other regulatory action but would rather continue to approach kava from a science-driven perspective."
United States Food and Drug Administration.
“There is no clear evidence that the liver damage reported in the U.S. and Europe was caused by the consumption of kava”.
Dr. Donald Waller, Toxicologist, University of Illinois at Chicago, USA
"Hepatotoxic effects of kava intake cannot generally be ruled out. However, in comparison with alternative treatments for stress and anxiety disorders, respectively in comparison to drug intake related hepatotoxicity in general, the risk of adverse liver effects seems to be very low."
Dr. Mathias Schmidt, "An analysis of the known data on adverse effects of kava preparations on the liver"