Kava and Kratom are two herbs that are often associated with each other. Furthermore, they are often mistaken for one another. While these two exciting compounds are similar in several ways, there are also differences between the two.
Here we will look at how kava and kratom offer similar potential benefits and, alternately, what makes each of them disparate from the other. We will also explore public opinion of these compelling herbs.
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Kava, or kava-kava as it is sometimes called, is a crop from the Western Pacific that has been in use as a folk medicine and sacramental herb for centuries. The greenish-brown root of kava-kava produces changes in brain waves which instill a state of calm. For this reason, it is considered a viable herbal alternative to prescription meds like Valium.
Kava exhibits potent anti-convulsant, anxiolytic (anti-anxiety) and muscle relaxant properties. It is implemented in the treatment of sleeplessness, stress relief and restlessness. It has even been shown to help fight cancer. It is believed to boost immunity, combat breast cancer and produce a pleasant sense of euphoria.
Studies suggest that kava can treat migraines, urinary tract infections, menstrual symptoms and more. It has been used to relieve the pain associated with CFS (Chronic Fatigue Syndrome) as well.
Kava is a popular ingredient in herbal teas, specifically for its ability to induce a calm and alleviate stress. Kava can also be taken to achieve a deep, restful sleep without disturbing REM. Some popular and affordable brands of kava drinks include Yogi Kava Stress Relief and Kava King Products’ Instant Drink Mix, Vanautu Blend.
Alas, Kava can have some adverse effects, particularly problems with your liver. Kava has been linked to liver failure in several previously healthy people. Long-term use can lead to shortness of breath, scaly rashes and facial swelling.
Kava should not be used in conjunction with alcohol or psychotropic drugs. There are several contraindications with kava root. Some medical experts have questioned whether kava’s risks outweigh its purported benefits.
As Dr. Josh Axe has said in the past, “The jury is still out on kava root overall.” However, he is quick to add, “The benefits, if taken in proper dosage, seem to outweigh the negatives.”
“The key,” he says, “is consuming the appropriate amount and not overdoing it, particularly since it’s been shown to be addictive.
Kratom, or Mitragyna speciosa, is a stimulant from the coffee family that can also have sedative effects in larger dosages. Unlike kava root, kratom influences serotonin and norepinephrine receptors while simultaneously stimulating mu and delta opioid receptors. For this reason, it has been found to be useful in treating opiate withdrawal symptoms.
Kratom is used to treat chronic pain due to its analgesic qualities and has been implemented in the treatment of anxiety and depressive disorders. It is also enjoyed by those looking for a coffee-style energy boost without the jitters associated with caffeine.
Whereas kava root is typically brewed into a tea or used in powder form as a supplement, kratom leaves can also be chewed on. In fact, this was initially the most common practice among users in Southeast Asia where kratom originated.
Like kava, kratom should not be consumed in concert with alcohol as it significantly impairs one’s motor skills and coordination. The effects of alcohol are sedative in nature as are the effects of large doses of kratom. Taken together, they intensify each others’ effects which can have dangerous consequences.
Kava and Kratom both have several things in common, most notably their abilities to improve alertness, reduce stress, produce euphoria and induce calm. They can both be intoxicating in certain dosages.
They both have a reputation for helping the user to relax while simultaneously increasing energy. Both are frequently used to brew herbal teas. Both herbs are alternative treatments for CFS (Chronic Fatigue Syndrome).
Many noot nuts have wondered whether you can safely combine kratom with kava. There are countless posts about it in forums and experience pieces on sites like Erowid. The thought of the combo has given many people pause ever since the ever-opportunistic Dr. Phil taped an episode of his TV show where he “explored” kratom and kava addiction.
While the Dr. Phil Show focused on the dangers of each of these herbs, they did nothing to acknowledge their potential health and wellness advantages.
Regardless, it is widely believed that taking kratom in tandem with kava maximizes their effects, exuding more powerful benefits. When taking them together, there is a substantial reduction in anxiety, a significant increase in cognition, a far better chance of combating depression and a much more noticeable sense of well-being.
The kratom-kava mixture enhances mood by virtue of the combination’s dopaminergic and serotonergic stimulation. And for those suffering from chronic widespread pain, they will benefit from the analgesic effects of the kratom while concurrently experiencing the fatigue relief produced by the kava root.
That being said, there are some drawbacks to mixing the two. Chronic dosing with kratom and kava can lead to hepatic and renal failure. They cause damage to renal glomeruli which is why it is not rare for users to end up with bloody urine. Excessive kava use can also cause tremors and dangerous weight loss.
If users combine the two with alcohol, the mixture can cause cirrhosis of the liver. There is also the risk of the pair interacting poorly with other medications including diuretics.
Users on Reddit have posted multiple methods for combining Kratom and Kava, most notably the milkshake technique whereby you put the two herbs in a blender with milk and then use a strainer to get rid of the tough root fragments and splintery fibers.
Another popular method is to take your usual kratom dosage on an empty stomach by itself, wait a short time and then dose with your kava root supplement, following up with some food to pad your stomach and reduce the bitter aftertaste.
As with individual doses of either herb, it is vital that you stick to safe recommended dosages. It is best to take 2-6 grams of kratom and 15-25 grams of kava root. Do NOT mix these two herbs with any drugs or alcohol. Do NOT take this mixture of a daily basis lest you develop a tolerance that will lead to long-term abuse and addiction.
A poster on Erowid has said that the effects of the kratom and kava mixture far exceeded his expectations while a user on Reddit said, “I made it in the blender with milk and water about an hour ago. I feel great now, but the first hour my stomach hurt so bad it wasn’t so enjoyable.”
A user on drugs-forum.com copped to trying 84% kavalactone (kava root) paste and 2 grams of 15 x kratom, reporting that the combination resulted in a “very strong opiate like high.”
Not everyone is so enthusiastic about mixing the two. A user by the handle kavalover posted in the Kava Lounge, saying, “It’s a very easy mix to offshoot and end up with terrible nausea and digestive hell. I wouldn’t recommend it.”
Kavalover also references vomiting and “the spins” as side effects of kava and kratom combos.
When taken responsibly, these two herbs can be safe and effective. As with all herbs, no two people will respond to them in the same manner. If undesirable side effects crop up, the user should discontinue use and seek immediate medical attention. Be safe, be smart and emancipate your brain.
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