Kava Kava is a tall shrub, genus Piper, belonging to family Piperaceae, native to western Pacific. The herb has been used in traditional medicine as a drink for sedative and anesthetic effects and to treat anxiety, insomnia, etc.
1. Mood and anxiety disorders
In the investigation of Kava and St. John's wort (SJW) and theirs effect on anxiety and depressive disorders found that current evidence for herbal medicines in the treatment of depression and anxiety only supports the use of Hypericum perforatum for depression, and Piper methysticum for generalized anxiety, according to "Kava and St. John's Wort: current evidence for use in mood and anxiety disorders" by Sarris J, Kavanagh DJ.(1)
2. Synovial sarcoma
In the assessment of flavokawain B (FKB), a novel chalcone from kava extract and its potent inhibition of the growth of SS cell lines SYO-I and HS-SY-II through induction of apoptosis,
found that the natural compound FKB has a pro-apoptotic effect on SS cell lines. FKB may be a new chemotherapeutic strategy for patients with SS and deserves further investigation as a potential agent in the treatment of this malignancy, according to "Flavokawain B, a kava chalcone, induces apoptosis in synovial sarcoma cell lines" by Sakai T, Eskander RN, Guo Y, Kim KJ, Mefford J, Hopkins J, Bhatia NN, Zi X, Hoang BH.(2)
In the identification of beverages containing ingredients such as melatonin, valerian, kava, tryptophan, and other products traditionally thought to play a role in sleep, sedation, or neurocognitive function found that Although moderate consumption of these beverages by healthy individuals is likely safe, an objective reduction in stress is improbable and associated adverse effects are possible, according to "Relaxation drinks and their use in adolescents" by Stacy S.(3)
4. Lung tumorigenesis
In the determination of a commercially available form of kava extract and its inhibitions of 4-(methylnitrosamino)-1-(3-pyridyl)-1-butanone (NNK) and benzo(a)pyrene (BaP)-induced lung tumorigenesis in A/J mice at a dose of 10 mg per gram diet found that Analyses of lung adenoma tissues derived from kava-treated animals revealed that kava significantly inhibited adenoma cell proliferation while it had no detectable effect on cell death, indicating that kava primarily suppressed lung tumorigenesis in A/J mice via inhibition of cell proliferation. Flavokawains A, B, and C, three chalcone-based components from kava, demonstrated greatly reduced chemopreventive efficacies even at concentrations much higher than their natural abundance, suggesting that they alone were unlikely to be responsible for kava's chemopreventive activity, according to "Lung tumorigenesis suppressing effects of a commercial kava extract and its selected compounds in A/J mice" by Johnson TE, Hermanson D, Wang L, Kassie F, Upadhyaya P, O'Sullivan MG, Hecht SS, Lu J, Xing C.(4)
5. Neurocognitive effects
In determination of Kava (Piper methysticum) elicits dose-dependent psychotropic effects and its potentially deleterious affect on cognitive performance found that found that kava significantly improved visual attention and working memory processes while another found that kava increased body sway. One chronic study found that kava significantly impaired visual attention during high-cognitive demand. Potential enhanced cognition may be attributed to the ability of kava to inhibit re-uptake of noradrenaline in the pre-frontal cortex, while increased body sway may be due to GABA pathway modulation, according to "Neurocognitive effects of kava (Piper methysticum): a systematic review" by LaPorte E, Sarris J, Stough C, Scholey A.(5)
6. Behavioral health
In the reviews of alternative medicine (CAM) modalities in the treatment of depression, anxiety, sleep disorders, and attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) found that Only kava has high-quality evidence for use in the treatment of anxiety disorders, and its use is discouraged because of safety concerns, according to "Complementary and alternative medicine usage for behavioral health indications" by Larzelere MM, Campbell JS, Robertson M.(6)
7. Prostate cancer
in the classification of flavokawain B (FKB), a kava chalcone and its effect on hormone-refractory prostate cancer (HRPC), found that FKB synergizes with TRAIL for markedly enhanced induction of apoptosis. Furthermore, FKB treatment of mice bearing DU145 xenograft tumors results in tumor growth inhibition and increases Bim expression in tumor tissues. Together, these results suggest robust mechanisms for FKB induction of apoptosis preferentially for HRPC and the potential usefulness of FKB for prevention and treatment of HRPC in an adjuvant setting, according to "Flavokawain B, a kava chalcone, induces apoptosis via up-regulation of death-receptor 5 and Bim expression in androgen receptor negative, hormonal refractory prostate cancer cell lines and reduces tumor growth" by Tang Y, Li X, Liu Z, Simoneau AR, Xie J, Zi X.(7)
8. Bladder cancer
In the assessment of Flavokawain A, the predominant chalcone from kava extract and its action in a p53 wild-type, low-grade, and papillary bladder cancer cell line (RT4), found that Consistently, flavokawain A also caused a pronounced CDK1 activation and G(2)-M arrest in p53 knockout but not in p53 wild-type HCT116 cells. This selectivity of flavokawain A for inducing a G(2)-M arrest in p53-defective cells deserves further investigation as a new mechanism for the prevention and treatment of bladder cancer., according to "Effects of the kava chalcone flavokawain A differ in bladder cancer cells with wild-type versus mutant p53" by
9. Lipid peroxidation and cyclooxygenase enzyme inhibitory effects
In the researches of Echinacea, garlic, ginkgo, ginseng, Siberian ginseng, grape seed extract, kava kava, saw palmetto and St John's wort, some of the popular supplements used for a variety of health benefits found that the supplements tested demonstrated varying degrees of COX enzyme inhibition (5-85% for COX-1 and 13-28% for COX-2). Interestingly, extracts of garlic (Meijer), ginkgo (Solaray), ginseng (Nature's Way), Siberian ginseng (GNC, Nutrilite, Solaray, Natrol), kava kava (GNC, Sundown, Solaray) and St John's wort (Nutrilite) selectively inhibited COX-2 enzyme. These supplements also inhibited lipid peroxidation in vitro (5-99%). The results indicated that the consumption of these botanical supplements studied possess health benefits, according to "Lipid peroxidation and cyclooxygenase enzyme inhibitory activities of acidic aqueous extracts of some dietary supplements" by Raman P, Dewitt DL, Nair MG.(9)
1. Overdoses may cause hepatotoxicity, acording to "Toxicokinetics of kava" by Rowe A, Zhang LY, Ramzan I.(a)
2. The herb may interact with other medication, according to "A brief report of student research: mechanism of analgesic effect and efficacy and anesthesia interactions of kava in the male Sprague-Dawley rat" by Sullivan J, Romm J, Reilly M.(b)
3. Do not use the herb in children or if you are pregnant without approve from the related field specialist.
4. It may cause skin disorder or dermopathy, if it is used in large amounts and in a prolonged period of time.
5. It may cause also indigestion, mouth numbness, headache, drowsiness, etc.
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