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 Post subject: The issue with kava?
PostPosted: 09.11.2006, 21:32 
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I've been rereading 'The Healers of Arnhemland' and Cawte mentions the destructive (to Aboriginal people) side of kava consumption; this got me thinking, what about kava consumption has had such negative effects on Aboriginal communities. 'Djungguwan: Speaking to the Future' also has som monologue from Dennis Milirrpum talking about young people drinking kava. I've often seen kava available in healthfood stores touted as an herbal remedy.

Any thoughts?


Last edited by flyangler18 on 10.11.2006, 14:17, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: 10.11.2006, 01:42 
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Kava is one of the name of the plant "Piper methysticum" and is used by aboriginal people of oceania. The part of the plant used is the root.
I don't know anything on the use of this plant by aboriginal people of Australia....


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PostPosted: 10.11.2006, 03:14 
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Location: Salt Lake City? Really? How did that happen?
All things in moderation! It's fine in small doses, but as with all things (including yidaki playing), excessive use can be unhealthy. A bit of it in your smoothie isn't going to kill you... might not do any benefit for you either, as it's essentially a tiny bit of a mild sedative. Spending all night several nights a week drinking a tea made of it is a different story.

Kava was traditionally used for ceremony in Fiji. After alchohol was introduced here full time and caused so much trouble, some of the Fijian missionaries thought it'd be a good idea to introduce this alternative social drink that inspires calm rather than violence. But when used excessively, that calm becomes apathy, and overuse is very hard on digestive and blood purifying organs. Also does a nasty thing to the skin, making it kind of flaky white, rough and scaley. So you can tell the real abusers by sight. But it's the longer term internal organ damage that's a real problem, as well as neglect of children and other responsibilities due to too much mellow! Part of that neglect is that a lot of money goes to kava that should go to food. Oddly enough, the town council office is the dealer, as well as an official channel to the outstations. Proceeds from the Yirrkala office go into a ceremony fund to support funerals and such, so that's something good, at least.

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PostPosted: 10.11.2006, 04:44 
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I've been doing a little research, and it seems that it was introduced to some communities in the early 1980s as, just as you pointed out Randy, a more calming alternative to alcohol.

http://www.nt.gov.au/health/healthdev/h ... 1/kava.htm

The article above mentions that sudden death has been attributed to heavy kava consumption- no doubt a cardiac issue, but I suspect there are other underlying causes, like a poor diet and heavy smoking. Quite sad that it has taken such a hold on Aboriginal communities.


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PostPosted: 10.11.2006, 10:06 
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I've had kava in Fiji - it kind of looks like dirty dish water and tastes earthy with a bit of a mouth numbing effect. Interesting but not something I'd want to imbibe mass quantities of.


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PostPosted: 10.11.2006, 11:58 
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Quote:
it kind of looks like dirty dish water


Not exactly a big selling point, methinks :? It would be interesting to try just once for the experience.


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PostPosted: 29.01.2007, 02:14 
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Kava is also used therapeutically in pills for people who suffer insomnia. Kavakava tablets I think they're called.

Ramingining takes top honours for kava consumption :cry: It is sometimes jokingly referred to as Fiji by Arnhem Landers, just as Maningrida is sometimes referred to as Jamaica - you don't have to guess what for!?!

Randy's post is interesting... so the council deals in the stuff which leads to deterioration in health among community members, which leads to early deaths, but council profits from sales goes towards funeral costs. Hmmm...

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PostPosted: 15.04.2007, 08:01 
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i've had kawa few times, not the original stuff from Fiji but an extract made in Holland...
interesting stuff, very relaxing but not headnumbing...

i can understand anyway why some aboriginal people abuse of it
sad thing :(

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PostPosted: 15.04.2007, 15:27 
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Hi there

Quote:
but as with all things (including yidaki playing), excessive use can be unhealthy


You just hit my curiosity here Randy , how unhealthy can be a yidaki "overdose " ? and what does it take to be in overdose ?

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PostPosted: 16.04.2007, 10:59 
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Hi friends,

Been lurking for awhile - though I'll stick my two toots in when I can (like now). Most of my time is consumed lately with my work, and I've also got a new gig playing blues harp with a local band. So my harmonicas have been getting a bit more attention than my didj's as I try to update and improve those skills....not unrelated by the way (breath, diaphragm, embouchure, lips, tongue all play a role with the blues harp).

In this forum many of us well acquainted with the misuse of something originally considered sacred or special. I believe that is the case with Kava-Kava. It has been used for thousands of years by Pacific Islanders as a ceremonial drink, social beverage, and therapeutic drink for relaxation and anxiety. Chiefs and elders used it for official events, sacred rituals, and for welcoming special guests, like Captain Cook.

I started using it myself the first time when I was drawn to it energetically and it really helped me at the time. But you have to know when to stop. There is a local Kava Kava bar near me in Boca Raton that serves the real thing - sent to the owner from a relative or friend in Fiji, prepared traditionally. I've been there several times, and on a couple of occasions have played the didg there. Yes, it tastes awful. Sadly, since it is rare here there are no laws against this, so a lot of teenagers hang out there. I stopped going because of that and also because I liked it way too much.

I had no idea it's use (and abuse) have spread to Australia. That makes me sad. Although the short term effects of overuse are not as bad as alcohol, or as long lasting, the "high" is very similar to alcohol, so I can understand how it became a problem. One cup (served here in coconut shells) is enough to relax you for several hours. Two cups and you are definitely feeling the buzz. Three cups and look for a designated driver. The effect is not as long lasting as liquor and there appears to be little or no hangover.

So I guess that when used by anyone with a tendency towards problems with alcohol it would I suspect have the same result. I think it would be like taking methadone to get off heroine, then getting addicted to the methadone.

Healthwise, like alcohol, Kava is really hard on the liver, only worse. At the Kava Kava bar, there are large warning signs about liver issues (and of course, pregnancy). I suspect the biggest health problem from overuse would be severe liver damage, though there are several other bad side effects. A friend of mine was hospitalized by over-using even the relatively weak extracts once (I think she must have taken a whole bottle or more in one day).

Of course, used properly, like any other good herb, it is a valuable natural healing tool. Unlike highly addictive prescription drugs which reduce anxiety at the brain, Kava works in the spinal part of the nervous system, allowing it to relax the body without sedation. It also affects the limbic system, to help insomnia and anxiety. That's the part of the brain that also controls emotions, so for people looking for an emotional escape, perhaps it is where it becomes a potential problem.

I can tell you that it took some discipline on my part to stop going to that Kava Kava bar -- and I have never been more than a social drinker, and never use drugs. It is very subtle, sneaks up on you...and you justify it because it is "natural" and used for spiritual purposes somewhere. Sound familiar? It is very seductive.

The extracts produced properly are pretty safe to use - the dose is comparatively low that way. I still use those on occasion and never get that high I get from the pure root served up in a coconut. Don't use it if you have anything going on with your liver, are pregnant or are taking any prescription meds.

Symptoms of didg overuse: After playing for 3 or 4 hours at a time, I have experienced an inability to sleep due to too much energy, a feeling of being very relaxed, slightly numbness of the lips, and an unnatural sense of well-being that can't be good for me. It's not unlike Kava Kava -- my gosh -- I have a didg addiction!

Well, I hope that is one addiction that we don't have to worry about :-)

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: 17.04.2007, 08:37 
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Thanks for that Robert - nice to see you chipping in again. Always good to see a detailed first hand report.

Kava Kava is something I didn't come across in my extensive research into "recreationals" many years ago.


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PostPosted: 24.04.2007, 02:50 
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Interesting find:

Image

Location: Yirrkala


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PostPosted: 24.04.2007, 08:45 
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Blimey, that's odd! Isn't 2 kg of kava a lot antway?


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PostPosted: 27.08.2007, 14:56 
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The government intervention into NT communities carried with it a June 25th ban on kava, effectively yanking the funding for numerous community improvement projects along the 'kava coast' from Ramingining eastward.


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