Like a liquid lullabye, kava kava could be the perfect addition to your wellness routine this season…
A solid truth in my life: I will try (almost) anything if it promises to do two things: either help me sleep and/or reduce stress. It’s not that I’m particularly sleep-deprived or stressed out, but it’s my firm belief that if you work to improve these two areas of your wellbeing, all other aspects of your life will improve. Think about it. When was the last time you got a great night’s sleep? Or felt super chill and relaxed? Did other things seem to go right, too? My guess would be most likely. The truth is, when we’re well-rested and calm, we’re better able to make good decisions and move through life with ease. This is especially true during the holidays! No one likes spending the season feeling frazzled, sleep-deprived and anxious, but it’s all too easy to fall prey to late nights, stress and too much celebrating (yes, there is a thing as too much celebrating). While it’s best to avoid the triggers that tend to stress our bodies and make us lose sleep in the first place (like alcohol, sugar, low-quality food and a too-packed schedule), sometimes we need a little assistance in getting some shut-eye. Like a liquid lullabye, kava kava could be the perfect addition to your wellness routine this season to help you chill out and get some Z’s. Learn all about it below, then scroll on to find an easy recipe for a soothing kava kava elixir.
What is kava kava?
Native to the Pacific Islands, including Hawaii, American Samoa and Fiji, kava kava literally translates to “intoxicating pepper” in Latin and Latinized Greek, and while it grows as a shrub, the root of the plant is most commonly used. Celebrated for thousands of years by Pacific Islanders, kava kava is both a traditional and ceremonial drink as well as a common addition to teas and tinctures as a sleep and anti-anxiety aid. A glance at the ingredients list of any sleep-promoting tea or drink will most likely have kava kava (or simply “kava”) listed.
What are the benefits of kava kava?
Secondary metabolites found in kava kava root, known as flavokawains, could support the immune system by fighting systemic inflammation. These same inflammation-fighting properties could also reduce muscle pain and pain caused by arthritis. The secondary metabolites in kava kava could also be the reason for its calming, anti-anxiety and sleep-promoting effects. By reducing discomfort and easing tension, kava kava can help you get comfy and drift off to sleep a bit faster. While kava kava boasts many benefits, it’s important to note that it should never be consumed with alcohol, since both substances have a sedative effect. As with any new addition to your wellness routine, always consult a doctor before introducing a supplement to your regimen, including kava kava.
How do you use kava kava?
Kava kava is a common addition to sleep-promoting teas and tinctures, it can also be found in bulk at natural food stores and apothecaries. The powder of the root can be blended into any liquid for extraction, but it should be noted that kava kava should only be used in smaller amounts and only when you’re in for the night (i.e. like any ingredient that promotes sedation, don’t consume it before driving). If you don’t want to whip up your own kava kava elixir, kava kava can be found in the Ensueno Lucid Dreaming Elixir, Lucid Dreaming Tea, and Sakara Sleep Tea.
Kava Kava Elixir
1 tbsp kava kava root powder
8 oz nut milk of choice
1 tsp coconut oil
Raw honey to taste
In a small saucepan, warm the nut milk until steaming but not boiling (hot temperatures can destroy the beneficial properties of kava kava). Place the kava kava root powder and nut milk into a blender and blend on high for two minutes.
Place the cheesecloth over the top of your mug and carefully pour the kava kava/nut milk mixture through it to strain out any remaining fibrous residue. Stir in the honey and coconut oil. Sip slowly and enjoy!
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