In this post, we will be discussing if there’s such a thing as a kava hangover. Kava is known as an antipsychotic agent but is nonalcoholic in its nature. That makes it a crowd puller.

So it might come as a surprise to some when I talk about the hangover effects that kava produces.

Over the years, kava has had its fair share of controversies.

Despite the fact that kava is nonalcoholic, it doesn’t make it stop from giving you hangovers. And kava hangovers can have a variety of symptoms ranging from nausea to headaches. Some of these symptoms are quite unpleasant just like other hangovers.

What is a hangover?

Hangovers are not one but a lot of symptoms combined. A hangover is any combination of dehydration, digestion issues, headaches and feelings of weakness. 

And these symptoms can vary from the low to high.

Once you drink enough fluids hangovers tend to go away on their own. Eat a healthy meal and pop a few pills for headache and they tend to disappear.

Hangovers can interfere with your ability to focus at work. This results in poor performance.

Most hangovers cause dehydration because drinking alcohol often causes you to urinate more. This results in more thirst and effects like nausea and excessive thirst.

Alcohol also expands blood vessels that can cause headaches. This also has the effect of creating more acid in the stomach resulting in pain in the area.

What happens with a kava hangover?

With a kava hangover, you might sense a bit of a headache.

You would feel less energetic. You may experience tiredness as well. Your thoughts may be clouded or foggy and you may feel much less motivated about the day ahead. Overall as a result of the clouded brain, you may not feel as inspired at your job and may feel like whiling away the day.

Just like you feel on the day after a binge drinking session your head feels heavy after too much kava. Another factor that doesn’t get its due importance is that these effects are often compounded by the amount of food you eat and the amount of quality sleep you get.

The most common reason for hangovers is when you have kava that is adulterated with Tudei root.  Also called Isa kava, it’s the stem and leaves of the plant. It takes longer to pass through the system. It’s actually banned from export and is not typically consumed in the pacific islands where kava is part and parcel of local culture. Since it takes so long to pass through, the hangover effects are much more pronounced.

The Tudei root contains undesirable kavalactones and undesirable flavonoids. The structure of isa kava is different compared to normal kava. Owing to its double bonded structure it takes longer to process in the body.

That’s one reason for the hangover. Tudei kava owing to its much more complex structure compared to noble kava remains longer in our systems and hence passes from the body after a long time. This increases the odds of experiencing a hangover with it.

With every batch of kava, it is difficult to identify if the batch contains Tudei roots.

So exporters often tend to bulk up the kava they sell by mixing a portion with Tudei root. It’s inferior in quality and has the said hangover effects.

How much kava will cause a hangover?

It’s difficult to pinpoint the right amount of kava for you. That means it’s difficult to say what’s the right threshold amount that won’t result in a heavy hangover. So if 2 to 3 tablespoons is just right for you, 4 tablespoons might be the correct amount for someone else and 1 tablespoon may cause someone else to peak out.

Also, there are variables like the amount of food and type of food you consume coupled with the interaction the food has with the alcohol that enters your system.

However, even the one-time intake of the substance may lead to side effects. They include:

  • Nausea
  • Dizziness
  • Skin allergy
  • Stomach upset headaches
  • Numbness
  • Tremors
  • Ataxia
  • Hangover visual impairment
  • Fever and so on
  • Drowsiness

How to prevent kava hangovers

To prevent kava hangovers drink plenty of water when enjoying kava. Being hydrated is the key

After a few drinks of kava, you can get a few glasses of water or a strong herbal tea. Never use alcohol or other drugs with kava. This lightens the impact of kava and overloads your system. Plus, this has the additional impact of worsening kava hangovers.

Just like alcohol kava is a diuretic so it dehydrates you. Replenishing water is of the essence with any diuretic so you wake up feeling refreshed.

Kava is often considered a diuretic but mixing it with coconut water can help ease the symptoms associated with dehydration.

How? Coconut water is full of electrolytes like potassium and that stems the diuretic effect associated with kava. Drinks like coconut water supply you with enough nutrients that are generally lost when you drink kava.

Kava additionally also increases the effects of medications. Also, note that if you’re already on some medication that has a side effect that makes you urinate more than usual then kava increases the diuretic effects.

So if you’re taking kava it’s best to get in touch with your physician first about it and discuss the impact.

With alcohol, you never notice if you have exceeded the limit. What that does is amplify the effects of dehydration. Compared to that with kava, you don’t notice the same thing. 

Tudei kava comes from crushed leaves and stems and not from the roots.

Noble kava or regular kava is made from the roots of the piper methysticum plant. Generally, roots are sun-dried, powdered, stored and shipped. Freshly pounded roots are the best and the most potent form of kava.

But that’s not to say that sun-dried roots aren’t effective.

Other risks: kava alcohol interaction

Mixing alcohol and kava is particularly dangerous and could cause major liver issues.

In the South Pacific islands, it’s common to drink both alcohol and kava together to get drunk. Yet there are only a few instances of such abuse resulting in liver problems.

Comparatively in the West, multiple deaths were attributed to kava intake resulting in liver failure. Kava and alcohol both stress the liver. And it’s a bad idea to consume both and tax the liver.

It’s up to you to decide when it comes to mixing alcohol and kava. The difficulty lies in clear causes that result in liver failures. The best thing to do is to keep kava and alcohol separate.

Also, note that kava helps you sleep. Alcohol doesn’t.

To avoid hangovers sleep is essential. So it’s best not to mix the two together.

Drinking kava is better than relying on alcohol. Alcohol causes you to lose clarity of thought. It’s not the same with kava. You’re level headed when drinking kava and even after it.

A lot of crimes happen because the person is motivated by alcohol. With kava, you don’t lose your sense of judgment. So kava lets you maintain social interactions without any side effects. 

The above side effects can result in serious problems causing a lot of complications later on. 

How to fix kava hangovers

With caffeine and plenty of water, you will be able to find relief from kava hangover. Hydrate yourselves drink enough coffee. That coupled with enough sleep will help you clear the brain fog. If that doesn’t help, pain relievers like Tylenol can help. But note that these pills tax the liver even more.

If the product you use gives you hangovers, then it is time to switch to a different product or brand. As these are signs that the product comes adulterated with Tudei. Check products that are certified to have no Tudei.

There are many ways to avoid negative side effects from kava.

According to kava users  they see calm descending half way through the cup. Unlike when consuming alcohol you’re fully alert. That is, you’re not tipped to drink in excess. You’re not misled to consume kava in excess like with alcohol.

Don’t mix kava and prescription medicines. They don’t tend to work well together and can result in many complications later.

Quality of kava you purchase is of paramount importance. Verify that the kava is legit and doesn’t contain powdered leaves or stems.

After drinking kava, eat a healthy meal and drink fluids such as coconut oil that has electrolytes.

Conclusion

High-quality kava rarely results in any of the bad effects that are causing a big backlash against kava. You can up the dose and drink a lot of it and you won’t suffer hangovers from good quality kava. Kava has a positive effect of encouraging sleep.

Compared to alcohol that often spoils your sleep kava results in a great sleep and is a good alternative compared to most other products.

When you drink kava it creates a calming buzz that helps you enter a deep sleep leaving you refreshed in the morning. There are lots of steps you can take to enjoy kava without hangovers but the most important might be to source kava from suppliers that are certified to not include any Tudei.

Even otherwise a quick shower and some coffee will help you bid adieu to kava hangovers.

The positive benefits associated with kava are much more than the negative side effects from the use of kava. Drinking kava in excess may, however, result in problems and symptoms associated with hangovers. All that said if you use high-quality kava you can contain the number of side effects.

Also worth noting is that the positive effects far outrank any negative effects associated with drinking kava. Drinking kava in excess is more likely to cause negative effects than if you drink in moderation.

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