Kava Kava and Depression
Answered by: Susan Eagles
Question from: Steven
Posted on: July 22, 1998

In Varro Tyler’s Q & A in Prevention magazine, he suggested that Kava Kava not be use by people with or prone to depression. However, he did not explain why. Is Kava Kava a depressant or something that could induce a depression or depressive episode? Also, although I’ve read that Kava does not produce physiological dependence, can a person become psychologically dependent on it? Any info would be greatly appreciated.

In large doses, Kava Kava depresses the central nervous system. In any dose, you can notice the numb effect in your mouth when you take this herb. Tyler’s statement may refer to the fact that if a person tends to be low, a herb that depresses the nervous system even more is not appropriate, because it can make them more depressed. It is a sedative, usually used to treat insomnia, tension and pain relief, though it is often listed as an anti-depressant. It is not known to be addictive.

For more information on Kava, see "Kava: The Pacific Elixir" (available at Richters).

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