Kava - what is kava ?

Kava is a crop that has been growing in some of the Pacific islands for more than 100 years ago. It is a crop that was and is still regarded as a very special crop. It is being planted for subsistence-farming and also for commercial farming purposes. In Vanuatu the local villagers plant kava in the islands and sell their kava plants once harvested to buyers in the towns (Port Vila / Luganville). The buyers then sell cuttings to kava bars in the towns. Cuttings are sold in the towns for an equivalent amount of 1.61117 USD per Kg. It can also be exported overseas to companies which buy sun dried kava cuttings. Quality dried cuttings are being sold for the equivalent of 10.7411 USD per Kg.

Why do they drink kava

The juice is taken during special traditional ceremonies, i.e. if there was a dispute between two locals the chief calls for a meeting at the nakamal, it is considered as the juice for reconciliation purposes. It washes all the disputes away deep into the calming waves of the ocean and eases you to forget the troubles. The juice can be taken at evenings to relief the hard day works in the gardens or in the towns the stress from the office works. It also is taken in ceremonies whenever there is a visitor in the village or in the house, a sign of good gesture.

The effects of kava can be summarised in one word “natural high”. It gives you a whole relaxation of your body from the head through the back muscles down to the muscles of your leg and feet. You feel totally relaxed and calm. When the effect takes its pace you will feel a sense of mild numb on your mouth. It is considered safe to rest for 10 – 15 minutes before the next sip of kava. The kava juice is served in dried clean coconut shells. The effect of kava can be felt within 2 – 5 minutes after consumption of the juice. In Vanuatu the kava is strong because it is believed the species of kava being planted borogu and melomelo most common kava species have a higher contents of kavalactone the core parts that make you feel the effect when consumed.

Kava juice is sometimes taken for health and medical reason. Some research and studies have shown it to be a good remedy for people with sleeping disorders, stress, insomnia and other more importantly recently it found to be a potential cure for ovarian cancer , leukemia and kava can also cure anxiety. Further readings about such researches can be found on the two links link one and link two.

In closing I would like to raise my point again that kava is a very good and best way to end a hard days work , good for realaxation and is good way to make new friends expcially in the kava bars (nakamals). I will continue with my next topic will be describing you how easy you can prepare kava juice.