Life Extension Magazine®

Issue: Mar 1999

In The News March 1999

A stress-busting therapy, Kava, web alerts, and more.

Scientifically reviewed by: Dr. Gary Gonzalez, MD, on January 2021.

Late-breaking brief news items to life extensionists, as well as anyone interested in living a longer healthier life

Kudos to Kava
An Island Remedy Stirs The Media

Kudos to Kava A herb known to improve well-being and facilitate relaxation, kava has recently made headlines as the stress buster of the 90s. Traditionally used by Pacific Islanders as a calming potion during ritual ceremonies, kava is now becoming popular among Xers and Baby Boomers alike as they juggle fast-paced, often nerve-wrecking lifestyles. So popular, in fact, that even the Wall Street Journal has touted its tranquilizing effect.

In the late 1980s, German scientists began researching kava, conducting studies and doing the legwork required of a new herb on the block. By the end of the decade, the herb was approved by several European boards as a treatment for anxiety. Now we know its soothing effects are due to kavalactones, the herb's active, calming chemical which has been known to treat everything from anxiety to menstrual cramps, muscle tension and insomnia. Some believe the herb, as a natural tranquilizer, will make pharmaceutical drugs that address anxiety obsolete. Others are more cautious. But although no serious side effects have turned up in controlled studies, it may be a good idea to have a nkava talk with your doctor before turning to the calming potion on your own.