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Kava-Kava Extract, Case Study Example

Pages: 1

Words: 363

Case Study

Kava-Kava extract, or Kava, is a member of the pepper family and is native to the islands of the South Pacific where it has been used as a ceremonial beverage for many centuries. It historically has also been used to aid individuals suffering from fatigue or insomnia and has recently been known to treat urinary tract infections as well as some cases of asthma. The extract has been said to be beneficial for the treatment of anxiety, but the Food and Drug Administration recently issued warning statements that linked Kava extract with liver problems, especially in the elderly population(Kava-kava: A calming herb from the South Pacific, 2012).

The extract has been reported to cause both hepatitis and liver failure in addition to general liver damage. It also is reported to have contraindications with pharmaceutical drugs used for the treatment of Parkinson’s disease(Kava-kava: A calming herb from the South Pacific, 2012). This could be a reason for the scaly and yellowed skin that is found in long term or heavy users of the extract(Balch, Stengler, & Young-Balch, 2008).

The complete mechanism of Kava on the nervous system is not known. However, some experts believe there is a relationship between the effects of the extract and the potentiation of GABA receptors in the central nervous system. This could give an explanation as to why the calming effect occurs in some individuals who ingest the substance. It is because of this calming effect, and sedative effect on many individuals, that experts advise against the operation of heavy machinery or driving while using Kava until one is certain there will be no dangerous interactions(Kava Kava ( Piper methysticum)). The recommended dosage is 50-70 mg taken three times daily as needed per individual. This should not be taken with other sedatives or antidepressants(Herbs at a glance: Kava, 2012).

References

Herbs at a glance: Kava. (2012, April). Retrieved from National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine: http://nccam.nih.gov/health/kava

Kava-kava: A calming herb from the South Pacific. (2012). Retrieved from Healthy.net: http://www.healthy.net/Health/Article/Kava_kava_A_calming_herb_from_the_South_Pacific/305/2

Balch, J., Stengler, M., & Young-Balch, R. (2008). Prescription for drug alternatives: All-natural options for better health without the side effects. Hoboken: John Wiley & Sons.

Kava Kava ( Piper methysticum). (n.d.). Retrieved from BHIA.org: http://www.bhia.org/herbal-supplements/kava-study.htm/

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