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Kava Research Evidence of Piper Auritum ("False Kava") consumption...and rejection.

Discussion in 'In-Depth Kava Discussion' started by sɥɐʞɐs, Nov 3, 2018.

  1. sɥɐʞɐs

    sɥɐʞɐs ‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾ Review Maestro

    Here's something that might be of minor interest to some. I came across this quote in an Australian paper from the '90s...it appears to acknowledge the spread, consumption and undesirability of Piper Auritum through the pacific islands. At the time, apparently, it was just considered to be a different cultivar and not a definitively different species yet.

    I'd really like to get some dry False Kava root powder...to smell it, taste and check the acetone test color. Then I think I'd know if some of the 'off' "kavas" I've received over the years actually had Piper Auritum in it.

    false-kava-drink.png
  2. Alia

    Alia Kava Enthusiast

    I like the fact that in Tonga it was called-- kava Hawaii and in Samoa it was Ava fiti.... "not mine! somebody else"
    Probably several false kava's with auritum being the most famous.
    Specific to auritum is "an aromatic herb with a heart-shaped, velvety leaf which grows in tropic Mesoamerica. The name hoja santa means "sacred leaf" in Spanish. It is also known as yerba santa, hierba santa, Mexican pepperleaf, acuyo, tlanepa, anisillo, root beer plant...".
    And yes, at one time, it was sold often on Mau'i as-- Hawaiian 'Awa! How sad.
  3. sɥɐʞɐs

    sɥɐʞɐs ‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾ Review Maestro

    Yeah, they're definitely passing the blame off to another island with the naming. :LOL:
    The description fits Auritum very well; new shoots emerging from roots, distinct aroma, resembles kava so much they weren't sure if it was different...the only thing that I don't think necessarily fits is describing the leaves as 'pale'. Anyway, if I were to make a guess, I'd bet that it arrived to Hawai'i from California, I see it growing in LA/OC every once in a while. Someone probably saw it here, thought it was some kind of 'mainland kava' and brought it back to share with family in Hawai'i...then from Hawai'i it got shared with Tongans, Samoans and Fijians.
    There's a Samoan guy that lives about 20 min from me that's growing Piper Auritum and he assures me he 'knows' it's real kava. I've seen it, It's not.
    This probably happens a lot. At least for one harvest.
    Intrepidus_dux and Alia like this.
  4. sɥɐʞɐs

    sɥɐʞɐs ‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾ Review Maestro

    So it appears false kava has no kavalactones, but it has it's own specific alkaloids.
    Here's an analysis of different Piper species:
    false-kava-drink3.png
    false-kava-drink2.png
    ProjectK, kasa_balavu, Alia and 2 others like this.
  5. verticity

    verticity I'm interested in things

    P. auritum is supposed to have lots of safrole. Might that be what the large peak is? According to the below, the leaves are supposed to taste like root beer, and are used in Mexican cooking, but not sold commonly north of the border for use in food because of evidence that the safrole might cause cancer. Dried leaves might be available at a Mexican grocery, but if you wanted to try the roots you'd probably have to just grow it yourself which sounds pretty easy to do where you live...

    https://www.atlasobscura.com/foods/root-beer-plant-hoja-santa

    ...wherein we learn that the Baby Jesus wore diapers--which had never occurred to me to think about before--and lived in Mexico...

    "In Mexico, the plant is known as hoja santa (“sacred leaf”), due to a legend that the Virgin Mary once hung baby Jesus’ diapers on the plants’ branches to dry and scent them"
    kasa_balavu, sɥɐʞɐs and Alia like this.
  6. sɥɐʞɐs

    sɥɐʞɐs ‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾ Review Maestro

    Totally makes sense...this explains how he eventually came to be in the US, galavanting around, doing mormon stuff. :smuggrin:
    Zaphod, verticity and Kavashua like this.
  7. Kavashua

    Kavashua Mmmm Kava

    He really put the miles on that’s for sure :LOL:
    sɥɐʞɐs likes this.
  8. Krunkie McKrunkface

    Krunkie McKrunkface Kava Enthusiast

    Somewhat like "the French disease"
  9. kasa_balavu

    kasa_balavu Yaqona Dina

    Here's some Piper Auritum along a roadside on Taveuni Island, Fiji:

    [​IMG]

    AFAIK it arrived on Taveuni in the late-90's. My account of my experience with it is here. I've always known it as Yaqona-ni-Toga (Tongan kava).