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Kava kava Category: Depressants

Also called: piper methysticum, yaquona root.

How it’s used

Kava is made from the root of the yaquona plant. In Polynesia it is used as a popular drink or remedy to treat anxiety. It comes in capsules or in its raw form. You can eat it or dissolve in liquid. Kava was withdrawn from legal sale in Ireland in 2002 because it was linked to serious liver problems in other countries.

Short-term effects

Makes you feel calm and relaxed

Long-term effects

Liver damage including jaundice, tiredness, nausea and vomiting

Other dangers

If you already have mental health problems, any drug can trigger them

If you are pregnant

Do not use if you are pregnant, as we do not know enough about the risks to your baby.


All drugs can become habit forming but the risk with kava is quite low.


Even though people in the South Pacific use it in high doses, no withdrawal symptoms have been reported.

What help is available?

« Back to Types of Drugs page
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