General Kava FAQ

What is initial tolerance?

Initial tolerance is defined by the kava community as the ""break in"" period where the new kava consumer may not feel any effects at all from kava. It is theorized that for some people a certain level of kavalactone buildup in the body must be present before one begins to feel the full effects from kava. The range of time it may take to overcome the reverse tolerance ranges per individual, from weeks to up to a month and a half. Some individuals feel the effects immediately.

Reverse tolerance applies to the principal that the more often you drink kava, the less kava you need to achieve your desired level of therapeutic effects. Kavalactones build up in the body, and the more frequently you replenish them, the more effect you will recieve off of your given amount.

Where should I buy kava?

There are many places to purchase from. Vendors who are active on the forums you can see in the Kava Suppliers & Review Section. You may also check and see if there is a 'nakamal' or 'kava bar' in your local area.
*For reviews of kava products, look in each vendor's sub-forum*
Do not buy kava products that contain leaves or stems of the plant.

Kava from Local stores/pharmacys good?

These products as a rule of thumb do not contain enough kava to achieve a worthwhile effect and are generally quite expensive compared to ordering from nakamals. Some manufacturers have suspect manufacturing practices such as using aerial portions of the plant in the extract, something that would never be done in the Pacific islands. If you'd like to purchase kava locally, check to see if there is a nakamal or kava bar in your area, or double check on the forums to see if your local product is worth purchasing.

How do I prepare kava?

There are a few general methods that have all been used with success and all seem to give relatively the same potency of the kava. The general methods include using: ""Traditional"" (kneading, massaging), a blender and using a rolling pin.

Detailed, tried-and-true methods can be found here:

Another way of preparing kava to maximize extraction yields using household items can be found at the following link:

Do I need to soak kava?

Short answer: No. Long answer: Kava is not a solution; the kacalactone resin on the roots must be agitated in order to emulsify it into the water. Soaking will not significantly increase the potency of your kava unless your kava is a type with a larger grind. Soaking helps to soften the fibers of the kava root in products of medium grind consistency.

Should kava be strained? If so, how?

Instant kava does not need to be strained. While kava root powder can be consumed whole ("toss-and-wash"), it may result in intestinal discomfort, and there is the additional issue of consuming possibly dangerous compounds not present in strained kava. If you choose to strain your kava, it is important to AGITATE the kava and not just let it soak. This is because kavalactones are not water soluble; they must be mixed in with the water forcefully. For more details on how to accomplish this, see Kava Preparation.

What temperature water should I use for prep?

Current recommendations are to make your kava beverage (whether fresh or dry) using tap, cool water not hot. Kava 's effects are far more than kavalactones, there is an entourage of complex active components. * CODEX ALIMENTARIUS Commission 2017 Standard for Kava Products for Use as a Beverage and Journal of the American Medical Association 11/17/2010 Vol. 304.

How does food affect the experience?

The more empty your stomach is, the more mileage you will get out of your kava. If you have a sensitive digestion, you may find it helpful to eat a small, non-offensive meal an hour or two before consumption.

Some people have also found that having a light meal between 30-60 min after drinking kava can have a positive effect on the experience.

How should I store kava?

Kava root should be stored in a dry, dark location. Prepared kava will take on an unpleasant (well, even more unpleasant) taste if left out for hours. Refrigeration will help it keep for a few days. It can be frozen and stored indefinitely.


(Frozen Kava Ice Cubes)


Soy Lecithin / Emulsifiers

Some kava drinkers have found effective value in adding fats to their kava. This is theorized to disperse the Kavalactones which are fatty substances. Many use emulsifiers such as coconut milk, cows milk, and soy lecithin granules. Some find an increased potency of traditionally prepared kava when adding this during the kneading phase.

It has varied effects, and while some find it an absolute necessity, others may not see the same increase in effects. Just as kava is a substance that affects each person differently, so does this method. Give it a shot, and see if you’re one it works for.