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Medically reviewed by Last updated on Apr 7, 2023.

What are other common names?

  • Piper methysticum
  • Ava
  • Ava Pepper
  • Ava Root
  • Awa
  • Gea
  • Gi
  • Intoxicating Long Pepper
  • Intoxicating Pepper
  • Kao
  • Kava Kava
  • Kava Pepper
  • Kava Root
  • Kava-kava
  • Kavain
  • Kawa
  • Kawa Kawa
  • Kawa Pepper
  • Kawain
  • Kew
  • Long Pepper
  • Rauschpfeffer
  • Sakau
  • Tonga
  • Wurzelstock
  • Yangona
  • Yaqona
  • Yaquon
  • Yongona

What is this product used for?

Kava is used to help lower anxiety and as a sleep aid. It may also relax muscles.

What are the precautions when taking this product?

  • Always check with your doctor before you use a natural product. Some products may not mix well with drugs or other natural products.

  • Be sure to tell your doctor that you take this product if you are scheduled for surgery or tests.

  • Do not use this product if you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant soon. Use birth control you can trust while taking this product.

  • Do not breastfeed while using this product.

  • Avoid beer, wine, and mixed drinks (alcohol) while taking this product.

  • This product may cause you to be sleepy. Take extra care driving and doing tasks that you need to be alert for.

  • Take extra care if you are taking drugs that make you drowsy or help you sleep. These are drugs like lorazepam (Ativan), phenobarbital (Donnatal), zolpidem (Ambien), or diphenhydramine (Benadryl).

  • Take extra care and check with your doctor if you have:

    • Kidney problems

    • Liver problems

    • Blood disorders

    • Parkinson's disease

    • Low mood

    • Heart problems

What should I watch for?

  • Upset stomach

  • Decreased amount of urine

  • Eye irritation or problems seeing

  • Loss of balance or problems walking

  • Mouth numbness

  • Scaly rash

When do I need to call the doctor?

  • Signs of a very bad reaction. These include wheezing; chest tightness; fever; itching; bad cough; blue skin color; seizures; or swelling of face, lips, tongue, or throat. Go to the ER right away.

  • Signs of liver problems. These include upset stomach or throwing up, belly pain, feeling tired, dark urine, yellow skin or eyes, not hungry.

  • Very bad throwing up

  • Very bad belly pain

  • Very bad loose stools

  • Very bad headache

  • Too tired or sleepy

  • Change in your ability to think clearly

Where can I learn more?

National Center for Complementary and Integrated Health

Last Reviewed Date


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