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Bringing Ancient Traditions into the New Year with Kava

November 03, 2019

Bringing Ancient Traditions into the New Year with Kava

The 3000 Year-Old Tradition of Kava

The holiday season is generally a time when we look back and remember family traditions. Most of us have fond memories of setting up ornaments, gathering together, singing holiday songs, or gift-sharing with our loved ones. 

But some traditions are much, much older than others! Kava is an ancient root that is part of many rituals and traditions in the pacific. It may not quite be all that comes with a Thanksgiving dinner, but it’s a resourceful root and tradition that we are excited about here at GacLife.


What is Kava, Anyway?


kava is a pepper plant from polynesia

If you haven’t heard of kava, this is a great time to learn about it! Kava is a non-alcoholic beverage that is native to Polynesia and the pacific islands. It’s used to reduce stress and anxiety, and is a much healthier and more relaxing alternative to alcohol. 

Because the Polynesian triangle is so large, it became known by different names on different islands. It‘s sometimes referred to as awa, ava, and yaqona to name a few. 

Regardless of what it’s called, kava was first found on the island of Vanuatu and became an integral part of ancient polynesian medicine, religion, and culture. Kava powder was used by native islanders to treat insomnia, reduce pain, sedate patients, and relax muscles. 

Additionally, kava was drunk as part of ceremonial rituals such as weddings and births. At times, it was used after funerals to communicate with ancestors. The tribe leader would initiate the ritual by drinking kava and then passing it to the rest of the tribe members. 


Kava Then and Now


polynesian islands

Traditionally, kava has been prepared by extracting the juice from the roots of a type of pepper plant called the Piper methysticum plant. The roots are chopped into fine pieces or ground into a powder and mixed with a bowl of coconut or cold water. 

While kava is still used as part of ceremonial rituals and village social events in Polynesia, it’s typically consumed more casually in Western culture. Local Kava Bars are becoming more and more common, and allow visitors to pick up a drink of kava without having to stand on ceremony.

In Western culture, a lot of people are turning to kava as a natural treatment for anxiety and stress and as a healthier alternative to alcoholic beverages. And, kava contains compounds that offer a safe way to unwind without suffering the negative side effects of a hangover! 

Many people in western culture prefer to have kava in a tea, instant mix, paste, capsule, or in candy. 


The Best Way to Enjoy Kava


enjoy kava in tea or gum

There are plenty of ways to enjoy kava, and each way has a different benefit. Whether you opt for a traditional kava drink like the ancestors had, or you choose to take it as a classy herbal tea, there’s a way to enjoy kava for everyone. 

1. Traditionally Prepared Kava


Traditionally prepared kava is most often enjoyed in indiginous bars, which are found around the Polynesian triangle. There are plenty of kava bars which offer brewed kava, typically served out of a shell. 

The active ingredient in kava that causes relaxation and stress release is called a kavalactone. In traditional kava there are usually 500mg or more of kavalactones in each drink. 


2. Kava Extract


Some people enjoy taking kava in a paste or in a tincture. Kava tincture is another form of kava extract that can be enjoyed. It’s typically stronger than a traditional kava brew, but comes in a variety of different strengths. 

Some kava extracts and pastes include passion flower or lemon balm or other additional herbs, which make kava even more relaxing and enhance its effects. 


3. Instant Mix


Just like there’s instant chai tea mixes and instant coffee, there’s also instant kava mixes available. You can easily make kava by adding hot water and stirring the drink. 

Instant mixes are a great option for people who are watching their weight or counting calories, because it’s easy to keep track of the nutrients and the dosage.


4. Kava Gum


If you enjoy chewing gum, kava gum or kava breath mints can be a great way of enjoying this herb. Some companies provide chewing gum that will allow you to enjoy the flavor. However, kava gum will not give the same stress relieving effects as enjoying a drink. 


5. Kava Tea


Kava tea is one of the most popular ways to enjoy the drink in Western society. It’s a spin on the traditional drink that is more palatable to most people in the Western hemisphere. 

Interestingly enough, kava tea is the weakest way to enjoy kava. When kava is mixed with water heated to 140 degrees Fahrenheit or more, the kavalactones are destroyed. It ends up leaving the tea with the flavor kava but without the effects.


6. GacLife Relax


GacLife is the first all natural commercial drink to incorporate kava roots into its list of ingredients. This drink is meant to calm the mind and help soothe you before bed, and you can grab a can at local coffee shops and health stores

Relax is a kava infused drink; the kava roots offer natural stress relief. When combined with gac fruit, kava provides a powerful stress deterrent and makes a great beverage for winding down. 


Getting Into Kava


man enjoying a drink outdoors

No matter how you choose to enjoy kava, understanding its history and its properties can help you benefit the most from this unique root. 

If you’re struggling with stress, anxiety, or high emotions, incorporating kava into your diet is a great way of naturally reducing these symptoms without having to turn to medication. And, you don’t need to travel all the way to Polynesia; you can enjoy kava right from the comfort of your own home. 

Ready to experience the relaxing effects of kava on the body? Check out GacLife’s Kava Infused Drink and enjoy a stress-free state of mind.

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