"Scientific research has shown a class of biologically-active compounds, known as kavalactones
, which contribute to these properties of kava through their interaction with a variety of mood stabilizing processes within the body.
Previous phytochemical studies of this genus yielded; dihydroisocoumarins, benzyl phthalides, favonoids, lignans, neolignans, bibenzyl derivatives, phenolic acid derivatives, kavalactones
, sesquiterpenes and triterpenes (Sari 2012; Granica et al.
Kava contains kavalactones
, pipermethysticine and pyrone; these make it antimicrobial, antiseptic, stimulant, analgesic, antispasmodic, nervine and tonic.
In the best study, which was funded by a kava distributor, 58 Australian adults with generalized anxiety disorder were randomly given a placebo or 120 milligrams a day of kavalactones
(kava's active ingredient) for six weeks.
Desmethoxyyangonin 6 is one of the main kava-pyrone derivatives known as kavalactones
are bioactive principles of the traditional beverage kava-kava, made from Piper methysticum used to treat anxiety .
protect neural cells against amyloid [beta] peptide-induced neurotoxicity via extracellular signal-regulated kinase 1/2-dependent nuclear factor erythroid 2-related factor 2 activation," Molecular Pharmacology, vol.
For example, piperonyl butoxide, isosafrole, kavalactones
, podophyllotoxin, and epipodophyllotoxin are involved in the inhibition of CYP activity (Mathews et al.
The second largest RCT that investigated the efficacy of valerian for insomnia was conducted over 4 weeks and recruited 270 adults that were randomised into three groups: Valerian (6.4mg valerenic acid); Kava (300mg kavalactones
) and Placebo.
supplements have been made from kavalactones
, a kava derivative.
This root extraction contains a number of structurally related compounds that are bioactive and are collectively referred to as kavapyrones or kavalactones
Kava products should be water-based extracts derived from peeled rhizomes and roots of a "noble" cultivar such as Borogu, of at least 5 years of age, and taken at a daily dose not exceeding 250 mg of kavalactones
. In a 3-week randomized trial, patients with anxiety received 250 mg per day of kavalactones
derived from an aqueous extract of the roots of noble Kava cultivars.
The active substances in kava are called kavalactones
. These are encapsulated within the cells of the plant's roots and are not soluble in water.