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Kava Definitions

Oct 1, 2014
Kava Definitions
  • Kava (Piper methysticum) And Types
    Kava: Piper Methysticum, our bread and butter. A cultivated variety of the Piper Wichmannii (the wild form of Kava) Plant grown in the southern pacific region. Best evidence has shown that the plant's current strain was initially cultivated in Vanuatu, and spread among Polynesia. Piper Wichmannii was genetically refined by thousands of years of careful attribute isolation through propagation by farmers only selecting the most desirable plants for their physiological effects and taste. This careful selection is what gives us traditional kava in the form of Piper Methysticum. Ideally only the roots of this plant should be consumed, but centuries past have shown the infusion of kava and water to use rootstock and the corm (or the very bulbous "trunk" which comes directly out of the ground) as well.

    Kava Act of 2002

    It is easier to define kavas in groups such as Noble, and Non-Noble varieties. Noble varieties are kavas which are high in Kavain, and low in the double bonded kavalactones such as DHM or DHK. Non-noble varieties are kavas which are more saturated in heavier, double bonded kavalactones which tend to produce effects which can last several days. These kavas are referred to as "Tudei", or Two Day as it is often known in Vanuatu, or Isa which is more characteristic of non-noble strains originating from Papa New Guinea. The non cultivated, wild type of kava known as Piper Wichmannii is seldom consumed. Only those strains classified as Noble may be legally exported from Vanuatu; the Kava Act prohibits export of two day and piper wichmannii kava.

    Powdered Kava
    • The harvested, blended, and dried lateral root, and central corm of the kava plant that is then ground down and packaged for sale.
      • Specific Powdered Kava Types
        • Waka - Kava prepared from only lateral roots with no basal stump.
        • Lawena - Kava prepared from only the basal stump (also known as the central corm) and no lateral roots.
    Instant Kava
    • Instant kava is kava which is produced from the dehydration of prepared powdered kava. Either fresh kava juice, or prepared root that has gone through the traditional dry powdered prep is used. This is not to be confused with micronized kava which is simply the root stock which has been ground to a very fine consistency. The resulting kava is mixed with water and consumed without the need for straining or any type of traditional preparation methods.
    Kava Extract
    • Any extraction by a solvent used to produce a final product. Common examples are extracts are CO2 extractions made by passing supercritical CO2 through a bed of material. Ethanol, or other alcohol preparations are seen as possibly harmful due to solvents extracting compounds in the root in a much different manner than the traditional water prep does.
    Fresh Kava
    • The mythical unicorn of the kava world. Readily available to those in kava producing countries or states, but to the bulk of us this is a rare treat. Fresh kava is typically harvested, washed, peeled, and ground for immediate consumption, or frozen for transport and resale. Just as magical as this treat sounds to actually find and purchase, the effects are just as magical. Fresh kava is nothing like powdered kava in terms of effects profile. We would suggest every kava lover to at least once sample a fresh kava. You will not be disappointed.