Kava Drinks: What It is, Effects & It’s Popularity As Alcohol-Alternative Drinks

by Tejashee Kashyap
Kava Drinks: What It is, Effects & It’s Popularity As Alcohol-Alternative Drinks

In a world where socialising often revolves around the consumption of alcohol, it’s refreshing to find alternatives that offer relaxation. And even, a sense of camaraderie without the drawbacks of alcohol. One such alternative is Kava that is a traditional beverage that has been consumed for centuries. Known for its calming effects and unique cultural significance, it is increasingly gaining popularity as an alcohol substitute.

What The Kava Drink Is All About

Kava, a beverage derived from the root of a tropical plant, is becoming more and more common in bars that want to offer customers a fun meeting place without alcohol. Do you know it is also known as Nature’s Xanax? Its benefits include lessening anxiety, encouraging relaxation, and elevating mood. Outside of bars, it has become a well-liked component of canned drinks and is also offered as a supplement.

The roots of the Kava plant find its use in traditional ceremonies and social gatherings in the South Pacific. It holds a central place in the cultures of countries like Fiji, Vanuatu, Samoa, and Tonga, where it is consumed as part of both daily life and special rituals.

Its preparation and consumption are often accompanied by elaborate ceremonies and rituals. These customs contribute to the sense of community and connection that Kava brings to those who partake in it.

Kava, often known as kava kava, is a beverage prepared from the root of the Piper methysticum kava plant. Similar to alcohol, it’s a depressant that can calm you down by slowing down your brain activity. According to some studies, kava may also have therapeutic effects, such as lowering anxiety and promoting sleep in persons with insomnia.

Preparing Kava Kava

For this drink,  crush the root into a powder. Then, mix with water. Then, strain the resulting liquid through a cloth or mesh. This will produce a cloudy, earthy-tasting beverage. The process of making Kava itself is an important cultural tradition, often performed with care and respect.

It is common for people to gather around the “tanoa” (a communal wooden bowl) to share the drink. The preparation and consumption are imbued with rituals and symbolism that vary from one island or region to another. But, all of them promote unity and relaxation.

However, Kava’s safety has been a subject of debate, primarily due to reports of potential liver toxicity.

Also Read:

There’s More Of Cultural Significance To The Drink


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Kava’s effects are distinct from those of alcohol. While alcohol is a depressant, Kava is known for its calming and anxiety-reducing properties. The cultural significance is a key aspect of its appeal as an alternative to alcohol.

In South Pacific cultures, Kava is a symbol of community and plays a vital role in social gatherings, ceremonies, and bonding experiences. The sharing of the drink fosters a sense of togetherness and interconnectedness. Moreover, this is different from the often divisive and aggressive atmosphere associated with alcohol consumption.

Kava ceremonies are an important part of local customs, and they often involve respect for elders and a deep connection to the land and nature.

Apart from the safety concerns, the communal and cultural aspects of Kava drinking make it an upcoming drink to watch out for.

Cover image credits: Canva

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