Discussion in 'Kava News' started by kasa_balavu, Jul 23, 2019.
This is very exciting and encouraging.
This sure came out of nowhere...could bring some mixed feelings among indigenous communities.
They did this recently with morphine I believe. It's definitely fascinating. I don't think it could recreate the kava experience with its entourage of lactones but it could be helpful for creating pharmaceutical products and extracts without wasting precious root.
THC as well. It's becoming quite a thing.
Now they need to genetically engineer this yeast further so that it can survive in my stomach. I wouldn't mind a symbiotic relationship with some kavalactone-excreting yeast.
Seriously though, while the word biopiracy has been unfortunately misapplied by certain actors in this industry before, the commercialisation of this new scientific method to produce kavalactones would actually fit the definition. http://theconversation.com/biopiracy-when-indigenous-knowledge-is-patented-for-profit-55589
Yes, this is a big issue with the single molecule medicine approach of modern medicine. These plants have many compounds that interact with the actives to create a broad array of effects and by isolating them we lose that. The possibility of new side effects, decreased safety and lessened therapeutic effects aren't what we need. Those are features of the products that pharmaceutical companies already provide and the reason so many people are turning back to nature for solutions.
Our understanding of the effects of particular kavalactones is rather limited. Our understanding of the synergetic effects of various kavalactones acting together is even murkier. Our understanding of the impact of other phytochemicals in kava on the effects of kavalactones and the overall experience is virtually nonexistent. To add to this, we are equally confused or ignorant about the effects of specific methods of preparation and consumption on the workings of specific kavalacctones.
I cautiously welcome this scientific breakthrough. It could be helpful. Or it could prove more harmful than helpful. After all, the attempts to replace natural kavain with synthetic kavain didn't end up so well for the consumers. Likewise, the attempts to use isolated kavalactones were far from great.
This appears to be the final version of the preprint that we discussed here last year. i.e. it's now peer-reviewed and finalized...I can't find the full text of the new version yet to see how it differs..:
As far as I remember it seemed to be a proof-of concept where they had gotten e. coli and yeast to produce a yangonin analog, but was still a long way from being commercially practical. The interesting thing about it was all the work they did to understand how kava plants produce kavalactones. All the hype about practical medical applications or new wonderdrugs, etc. frankly just sounds like the kind of thing scientists talk about when touting their work and trying to secure funding to keep doing more science.. and believe me I know how that game is played lol.
This is an important point. It is not as if European or American scientists just stumbled upon an uninhabited island where this miracle plant, kava, was growing like a gift from nature. Kava was literally created by Pacific people over hundreds or thousands of years of slow 'bioengineering', and any company that would exploit it for profit absolutely owes them something. Something concrete, not just platitudes.
The Nagoya Protocol is supposed to take care of this, but the US isn't a signatory to it because it's very difficult to get 2/3 of the US Senate to agree on anything.
BTW does anyone here have access to this article? I'd love to read what the opposite position is, but not quite enough to pay $36 for the privilege.
Thanks @Henry! Much appreciated.
This goes to a rather deep subject only worth discussing in theory, but what if the indigenous culture gave up their use of the plant of their ancestors by their own volition.
Basically forgetting about it or at least redefining its' use and placing on a far back shelf. Much later a lot of non-indigenous people get together with a very few decendants of native islanders and restore that tradition to some degree literally (in many cases) out of nothing. Whom is "owed"? This is the case for Hawai'i. If we say it has to be bloodline then what does that mean? Personally, I tend to think bloodline-- we owe the indigenous Hawaiians for what their ancestors did to select these cultivars of 'awa.
Or Not? Maybe everyone owes the Melanesian folk for actually taking wichmannii and making methysticum?
Yes, IMO the debt is real, but especially in a place like Hawaii, there is not going to be a simple answer or formula. But something like the Nagoya protocol mentioned by @kasa_balavu does seem like a good starting point.
What I decided, 34 years ago, was to give back ('awa plants I propagate) and nodes and the knowledge to propagate and grow them, etc.
This to anyone in Hawai'i who is interested but I admit to a preference of re-introducing the plant to people of Hawaiian decent.
This is a positive development IMO...I will always prefer actual kava as I love the ritual and the taste...but it would be nice to have a REAL kava substitute available in a pinch. Man I love me some kavalactones! The market for the farmers will not go away.
I have a feeling that they THINK they will get a near duplicate but I see so many potential problems I could not even BEGIN to go down the list. When you take something out of it's natural form you can create a whole host of problems (obviously not pencillin!) but I'm just very apprehensive when they found out they missed one kavalactone that does this one thing in this specific way and now we have cancer from our lab kava, no thanks. Someone else can be a test rat for me!
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