1. It reduces anxiety
Multiple studies have shown that that kava is effective at treating anxiety, regardless of the symptoms and type of disorder. This is because it activates GABA-A receptors, which calm the body and mind down. Kava prevents a decrease in serotonin, norepinephrine, and dopamine via the inhibition of monoamine oxidase. Additionally, it also relaxes the muscles by decreasing beta adrenaline receptor activity.
2. It relieves depression
Kava is able to induce a pleasant mental state, which is why it is often used as an alternative to antidepressants (benzodiazepines). The kavalactones found in kava increase levels of dopamine, serotonin, and even GABA, while simultaneously decreasing glutamate levels in cell models.
3. It helps you sleep better
Kava can help in the treatment of sleep disorders such as insomnia by reducing stress levels that are associated with it. Kava’s sedative effects come from the blocking of calcium and sodium ion channels, increasing of neurotransmitter binding to GABA-A receptors, and the inhibition of monoamine oxidase B.
4. It protects against brain damage
Kavalactones that can be extracted from kava greatly lower the chances of brain damage caused by oxidative stress in disorders such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease. These extracts activate the Nrf2 antioxidant response pathway and increase the concentration of antioxidant enzymes (heme oxygenase-1), thereby combating oxidative stress.
5. It relieves symptoms of menopause
If you are currently going through menopause, then you may need to start consuming more kava. This is because by increasing dopamine levels in the brain, inhibiting monoamine oxidase-B and activating GABA-A receptors, kava is able to treat many of menopause's worst symptoms, such as irritability, insomnia, depression, and anxiety.
6. It decreases the severity of epilepsy and seizures
Kava has been found to help treat seizures and epilepsy, either by itself or in combination with diazepam. This is because kava is able to reduce motor activity, increase seizure thresholds, and improve the anticonvulsant effect of diazepam.
7. It improves brain functioning
Just 300mg of kava is enough to improve performance in working memory tasks, visual processing, and even attention levels. This is because kavapyrones are actually active in certain parts of your brain, such as the hippocampus, caudate nucleus, and amygdala.
8. It fights cancer
When it comes to cancer, there are many ways that kava can be useful. For starters, kava is known to reduce the size of breast cancer cells, and may even prevent breast cancer metastasis. Kava has also been found to reduce the growth of prostate cancer tumors, inhibit colon cancer, and even stop the progression of bladder cancer.