New research indicates that the medicinal use of kava could reduce anxiety, improve mood and alleviate depression.
A University of Queensland trial of 60 people with chronic levels of anxiety has found anxiety dropped significantly in participants who took five kava tablets a day of kava compared to those who took placebo pills.
Lead researcher, Jerome Sarris, says the trial shows that kava offers a natural alternative for the treatment of anxiety and, unlike some pharmaceutical options, has less risk of dependency and less potential of side-effects.
He says other studies have shown similar results but have used kava obtained through non-traditional methods.
"These studies have used pharmaceutical formulations of the kava plant, they have used ethanol and acetone extracts and they have sometimes used the incorrect plant parts so this study is unique in the fact that we have used the traditional extract, which is a water soluble extract of the peeled root stock, which is the way its used in the Pacific Islands."
Jerome Sarris says they also found kava helped to reduce depression, which had not been tested before.