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Kava FAQ How to perform the acetonic test

Discussion in 'In-Depth Kava Discussion' started by infraredz, May 25, 2014.

  1. infraredz

    infraredz BULA!

    Please note that the results of the "at home" acetonic test are not 100% accurate. In lieu of this we suggest purchasing from vendors who have their kava lab tested and provide access to those results.

    Regarding Kava's safety, I will outline what we know so far. Only experts (researchers with a PhD who have authored peer reviewed research) will be included as experts.

    If you haven't already, please read these thread before continuing so that you can better understand the terminology being used:

    Dr. Vincent Lebot
    Dr. Lebot's name will come up quite a bit in the coming article. Therefore, take a little bit of time to read about him below.

    For those who aren't familiar with Dr. Lebot, he is a (if not, the) leading researcher and authored the book "Kava: The Pacific Elixir". He has a PhD and is a botanical geneticist and has authored 15 peer-reviewed articles, seven of which are related to kava. This link will show you all of his articles in PubMed [there are most likely others, in other databases too]:
    [, vincent]

    He has helped to write a piece of legislation called the "Kava Act of 2002" which remains as the only piece of legislation (other than interdictions) for kava.
    This can be found here:

    For more of his thoughts on certain aspects of kava, including safety please see:

    Noble, Tudei, ISA, Explanation and Information
    Now, when the word "noble" comes up, that means "suitable for everyday drinking". They are interchangeable. "Tudei" is also interchangeable with "ISA", "two-day" and "tuday" as found in the link above regarding definitions.

    While the Kava Act of 2002 (above) outlines what "noble" kava is, that was referring to Vanuatu specifically.

    Please keep in mind that the word noble does not refer only to Kava from Vanuatu, as we have as a community, agreed upon. Many kavas outside of Vanuatu are "noble" and Dr. Lebot has confirmed this:
    A Standard for Kava
    The industry is working on a way to set up a standard for all Oceanic kava producing nations. You can find that here:

    Also, please see the American Kava Association as they are working tirelessly to do similar things here in the United States.
    Their mission statement, per their website is:
    "The American Kava Association is the only national trade association that is focused primarily on Kava Kava.
    The 3,000 year old traditional Polynesian medicinal root, Kava, has experienced a tremendous resurgence in the United States in the past 10 years. With this resurgence, the need for a regulating body has arisen to oversee the responsible distribution of Kava and ultimately ensure its long term availability in the US market, free from the threat of bans or legislation which would devastate the Kava Market both domestically and abroad. All of AKA’s activities are focused on this mission."

    Safety of Kava
    Dr. Vincent Lebot:
    These studies confirm that kava, as outlined and described by Dr. Lebot above, is completely safe to drink every day.
    Kava Historically Safe “As A Water Extract”

    This from the World Health Organization (found in Codex linked above)
    "The kava drink, has been consumed in Pacific Island Countries for centuries without any reported ill-effects on the liver [4], is made from a water extract of the root and/or rhizome of Piper methysticum. A recent WHO risk assessment concluded that “clinical trial of kava have not revealed hepatoxicity as a problem [5] suggesting that “water extracts are devoid of toxic effects” [6] and recommending that “products should be developed from water-based suspensions of kava” [7]. The safety of water based kava drinks is supported by long-term ethno-pharmacological observations [8]."

    [4.] WHO (2007): Assessment of the risk of hepatotoxicity with kava products, p.4
    [5.] WHO (2007): Assessment of the risk of hepatotoxicity with kava products, p. 62
    [6.] WHO (2007): Assessment of the risk of hepatotoxicity with kava products, p. 59
    [7.] WHO (2007): Assessment of the risk of hepatotoxicity with kava products, p. 62
    [8]. Loew & Gaus (2002) in:WHO (2007):, p.11

    Regarding Flavokavain B (FKB)
    As you can see from the abundance of information above, there is no reason to worry. You might, however, have heard of recent discussions about Flavokavain B, or FKB for short.

    This article is meant only to inform consumers as to the possible risks so that they can make informed decisions about their purchases and consumption of kava.
    Right now, there is a possible risk with FKB, as research has shown both in vivo (in living organisms) and in vitro (in isolated cells)

    These articles demonstrate FKB to be a potent cytotoxin (something that kills cells) in vitro, in isolated cancerous cell lines. This means that they are effective at killing cancerous cells, but doesn't study any other effect they have:

    The problem is we don't have enough evidence to prove it's safe or dangerous in the amount found in normal daily drinking amounts.
    However, there is research being conducted currently by Dr. Xing as well as work he has already finished and is awaiting publication that will shed much more light on this subject.

    What we know from him so far is this statement he made in a recent video interview which can be found here:
    Taken from transcript compiled from video:

    Dr. Lebot on tudei kava and FKB:
    The truth is that no one knows the comparative toxicity of tudei kava to substances like Acetaminophen or alcohol.
    That sort of information is not available because of how scientists in the research world work, as well as the lack of actual studies testing this specific issue.

    It is up to you to decide if the risk is worth the benefit based on the evidence outlined above for tudei/ISA kava.

    Simple Test to Determine if you Kava is Noble ["The Solvent/Acetone Test"]
    In Dr. Lebot's research, he has created a very simple, cheap and quick way to test a small amount of kava to determine if it is "Noble" or "Tudei" shown in this video:

    Read on to learn how to test your kava!

    For information on why this works [New Information Available], please see the comments below because much of the "mystery" behind this test has been addressed by Dr. Lebot.

    Note from KF Mods: This information provided by the acetone test may not be 100% reliable as stated. Science tends to trail behind reality, and as science catches up we will edit and remove that which is no longer relevant. We have removed (as of 3/27/2018) the section regarding the acetone test as being 100% accurate, as it is not.

    How to Get Started Now:
    The beauty of this test is its' simplicity and cheap cost. You only need four, cheap and easily accessible things!
    All you will need is a small glass container, some acetone, and a small amount of kava.
    • Regarding the container, all you need is a small (preferably) glass container of some sort with a lid. I found the vials below for $0.99 as "spice containers" in a big box store.
    • Acetone can be purchased at any home improvement store and is very cheap.
      • Furthermore, all the acetone I came across was quite pure (over 99% purity)
    • The amount of kava doesn't need to be more than a tablespoon (2 flat teaspoons is what I used), so you don't have to worry about wasting your kava!
    The Method (How to):
    The test is usually performed with 10g of powder, and 30ml of acetone. However, you do not need a scale if you do not have one.

    1. Add 30mL of acetone to (10g) or 2 teaspoons (approx. 10mL) of each kava in a small glass container.
    • If you want to keep it simple, just use the measuring glass and keep the ratio of kava/solent at 1/3
    2. Agitate- (shake lightly) for 4 minutes then leave to settle for 24 hours.
    3. Then, visually examine the liquid portion (called supernatant) of the suspension for hue, saturation and darkness as described by Lebot as the method of determination of tudei, wichmanii and noble kavas.​

    As a side note, the amount of kava is approximately 10mL if measured in a measuring device, but mL is a measurement of liquid but this might make the ratio easier to understand.

    Attached Files:

    Last edited: Jul 22, 2014
  2. Kapmcrunk

    Kapmcrunk The Kaptain of Crunk KavaForums Founder

    Digital Scales:
    AMIR Digital Kitchen Scale, 500g/ 0.01g Mini Pocket Jewelry Scale

    Test Tubes:
    SEOH 10 Pack Glass Test Tubes 4-inch 13x100mm with Caps

    Test Tube Rack (Optional):
    KeL Scientfic KS-803 40 Hole 20 mm Blue Plastic Test Tube Rack Polypropylene

    Acetone, 950 ml
    99.5% Pure Acetone - 950 ml

    Important: Remember to add kava to solvent in a ratio of 1:3. For 5 grams of kava, you would add 15ml of acetone.
  3. Iahi Gusak

    Iahi Gusak New Member

    FYI - there has been a false positive in the acetone test. Both peeled stump and unpeeled routes from the same plant were tested using the same methodology, and different results showed up for the different organs of the plant. This is important to note because the peelings, or bark, on the outside of the roots have a different content of material than stump roots, which may lead to a slightly more orange color, despite it being a noble plant. The more detailed tests that determine lactone breakdown are much better when testing for 100% lateral roots then the acetonic test. ( I am the one who filmed that video with Dr. Lebot a few years back) and I'm working on trying to alert him to this and clarify this apparent discrepancy. More news as I get it...
  4. verticity

    verticity I'm interested in things

    I can confirm what you say is true based on unpublished data of samples from Vanuatu I have seen from Schmidt, and Lebot's later published data. The original post is a few years old, and we (and I'm sure Lebot) now know that the statement that the acetone test is 100% reliable in all cases is not true.

    Noble kava and tudei kava each show a statistical distribution of visible wavelengths. On average nobles appear yellow, and tudeis appear orange to the eye, but because there is a natural variability, in some cases false positives are possible, as well as false negatives, although the difference is statistically significant. Based on what I have seen, the variability among tudei wavelengths is greater, so a false negative (a tudei that appears yellow) is actually rather more likely than a false positive (a noble that appears orange), but either is possible, although the test usually is accurate. The accuracy can be improved a bit by measuring the spectrum with a spectrophotometer, but even then, there are still cases where the test does not work. In that case you can demarcate an intermediate wavelength region, where you just can't definitively say if the sample is noble or tudei. A small number of samples fall in that region, and in that case, the test just can't give an answer.

    In my opinion, the acetone test is still very useful as a screening tool, but in the case of suspect results, flavokavain levels should be directly measured by HPLC or HPTLC to confirm. Kavalactone profiles can be useful as well if a FK test is not practical, but the latter is best. Another useful test--with better separation between noble and tudei--was developed more recently by Lebot and colleagues that looks at the ultraviolet spectum (instead of the visible) and gives a direct indication of the relative amount of kavain versus DHM, and could also be used in the case of a disputed acetone test result.

    Also, as you point out, sometimes the wavelengths of the lateral roots can differ from the stump.
    Last edited: Mar 7, 2018
    sɥɐʞɐs and kasa_balavu like this.
  5. sɥɐʞɐs

    sɥɐʞɐs ‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾ Review Maestro

  6. verticity

    verticity I'm interested in things

    Also important to know: another case where the test can give a false positive that I have seen is if kava is heated at an excessive temperature during processing (temperatures higher than those normally used for drying or sterilization).
  7. Kapmcrunk

    Kapmcrunk The Kaptain of Crunk KavaForums Founder

  8. Kapmcrunk

    Kapmcrunk The Kaptain of Crunk KavaForums Founder

    I’ll do some rearrangement. I agree that we need accurate information represented here. If situations exist that throw false positives other than the comments above, list them here and we’ll include them.
  9. GreatScotty

    GreatScotty Member

    I noticed in the video Dr Lebot says you can use ethonal instead of acetone. Has anyone tried this?