Dateline, my home town, Boca Raton, Florida, which, previously unknown to me, is home to a kava bar called Nakava where this root of the pepper plant is served up as “horrible tasting” tea to thirsty college students at nearby Florida Atlantic University, so says USA TODAY.
The FDA says that the popular nutraceutical ingredient can cause liver damage. Another article claims that “from 1999 to 2002, doctors in Germany, Switzerland, and the U.S. have identified more than 25 cases of liver damage linked to kava products.” Of course, alcohol causes liver damage too, but no mention of that in either article. Hmmm, I wonder how many cases of liver damage were linked to alcohol from 1999 to 2002? Meanwhile, Steven Dentali of AHPA is cited in the second article for the proposition that “thousands of years of use on South Pacific islands shows that kava can be an effective, safe anti-anxiety agent.”
Update: Student in the Lynn University communications program visits Nakava and is rewarded with a feeling of tranquility, despite the fact that the kava tea tastes like mud. To watch the video, click here.