Gourmet Hawaiian Kava
I made this website so that I can inform people about 'awa pronounced- ah-vah (kava) and so that I can answer peoples questions and dispel myths about 'awa and also to sell some of the best 'Awa (Kava) in the world. Why do I call my site Gourmet Hawaiian Kava? For one Hawaii is known to have nothing but the best 'Awa, there are no bad chemotypes here like there are in other Awa growing areas, Some can cause stomach discomfort and Hawaii has none of that. Two, the Gourmet part is because it is the best 'Awa in the world and grown by me, no middle man and nothing but great 'Awa (Kava), how do I know it is among the best? Because I grow it, I drink it and I study it, I am in fact the President of the Hawaii 'Awa Council and have been for well over 15 years now.
Please understand that I just started this website 12-15-13, this is a work in progress and I will be adding new things at least weekly if not daily, it might be a paragraph here or there, some pictures or what ever, but it will happen regularly so check back often, I will also start to put a last updated box at the top of this page so you will know when it was updated last.
If you want to contact me this is my email, I break it up to avoid the spam, just put it all together, here it is--- Koa wood Hawaii @ msn .com
Frequently asked Questions
Here I will try to mention some of the most commonly asked questions and then answer them for you. If there is a question that you have and I have not covered it, please ask by emailing me at Chris@gourmethawaiiankava.com.
First of all let me start by saying that this site is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. Not for pregnant or nursing mothers. These products may impair your ability to drive or operate machinery. Use care until you become familiar with their effects.
This site is for accurate and up to date information and soon some of the best 'Awa (Kava) in the world will be sold here.
WHAT IS BETTER, THE 'AWA ROOT, PILLS OR LEAF OR TINCTURE?
There are a lot more products out there, more than just the powdered root, pills and leaf. Most of these products other than the ones I just mentioned will have a kava extract in it and it is mostly a standardized extract, if you do not have a standardize extract then you do not know the amount of kavalactones you are getting.
Traditionally the 'Awa root powder or the fresh root was used to make the drink, that has been the way, the tried, true and tested way of using this plant, for a very long time, in fact anthropological evidence suggests that Kava has been cultivated and consumed by humans for well over 3000 years, and still going. The people of the south pacific who drink kava every day, that is normal for them, that is there way of life and there is no documented or reported liver problems when consumed in the traditional way. Kava is a part of there life, every day and in some places holds a lot of power, for example in "Pohnpei" there is a kava called "Rahmedel" and if a commoner were to take that kava plant to the chief, the chief has to listen to what he has to say, the kava shows the importance of the situation and this particular kava is a good one too. :)
When you make an extract you might be getting all the kavalactones but there is some constituents that you do not get in the extraction, weather it is solvent based or a Co2 (super critical fluid) based extract.
Used in the traditional way there should be no problems at all and you will experience what 'Awa (Kava)is and what it does.
I have had people tell me they have tried 'Awa but it does not work, then they try a good 'Awa like mine or another good one from a good seller and make it the proper way and then they get to experience it and they like it.
The extract is the only form of 'Awa that has been suspected in some cases of liver problems, damage and failure but most of them turned out to be due to something else. The ones that did seem to have something to do with the 'Awa was all in extract form. A tincture is just a weaker form of 'Awa extract.
When this 'Awa (kava) craze really started going, the pharmaceutical companies wanted to get tons of the 'Awa, so then people of these south Pacific nations would add the stalks and branches and leaves to the product because of the shortage of Kava, traditional only the corm and the root were used to drink, and that is where the problem is, there had been an alkaloid that has been found in the stalks and leaves that is not in the corm or the roots and it does seem to have a negative effect on the liver in those prone to liver problems or taking drugs or something else that can cause liver problems, the 'Awa might make it worst.
So if asked which one I would use, my answer is the traditional way, using the powdered root or the fresh root and make the drink from that. Done the right way it is very strong and you will get too drunk to drive, so caution is advised, bring a designated driver or just drink it at home. :)
The Extract will work for some have no neg side effects but for some it might, and also the extract does not give the true feeling of what the traditional way gives, it is total different, some say it tastes bad but the taste is worth the results, with no side effects like pharmaceutical drugs have.
To help make things clear with liver damage and Kava, did you know that in 2010 there were 15,990 alcoholic liver disease deaths.(CDC)
Did you know that in 2008 there were 68 reported cases of liver toxicity following kava use (Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database)
More people get liver damage from many other things on a grand scale than from Kava, but remember if you use the extract then the danger does seem to exist. Here are some of the major products and the dose of 'Awa for each---
Traditional beverage made with the fresh root- Kavalactone content is .3-2%
Traditional beverage made from the dry powder- Kavalactone content is 3-20%
Standardized extract in capsules, the kavalactone content is 30-70%
capsules with just the powder root in it, the kavalactone content is 3-20%.
Tinctures have a kavalactone content of about 10-20 mg of Kavalactones per ml.
This should give you an idea of the kavalactone content of some of the products out there.
WHERE CAN I BUY GOOD QUALITY TRADITIONAL KAVA ROOT POWDER?
There are a lot of places that you can buy good quality 'Awa (Kava), look in my "products" section for a list of 'Awa (Kava) suppliers. I have personally tried the 'Awa (Kava) from each supplier so you can rest assured that it is good. I will be selling 'Awa that I grow soon but it will be a while yet before I harvest and process it, keep your eyes out for it.
HOW CAN YOU MAKE KAVA TASTE BETTER?
Since 'Awa (Kava) is just ground up root from the 'Awa (Kava) plant then of course it will have a earthy taste, and it is a member of the pepper family so it does have a peppery taste.
There are a few ways that will help to hide the taste or cut the taste of the 'Awa, it is good to note that those that like the 'Awa develop a taste for it and they like the peppery taste and the numbing effect from the kavalactones.
One of the best ways I have found to cut the taste of the 'Awa is to have some root beer and after you drink the 'Awa, use the root beer to rinse your mouth and you can even drink a sip of the root beer, you will find this works very well.
'Awa also seems to go well with a local favorite called Li Hing Mui, even coffee and chocolate have helped hide the taste of 'awa (Kava).
Also some 'Awa (Kava) varieties will have a stronger taste than others, I have noticed that there are a lot of mellow tasting 'Awa in Hawaii and in Tonga, some from Tonga are very mellow tasting, almost creamy and very potent too. :)
There are some other factors that can contribute to the taste of the 'Awa (Kava), the way it is processed can have an effect, if it is not cleaned good or if it has nematode damage that will make it taste horrible. Also if it was not grown and made here in the USA then it has a chance of being treated with a chemical called methyl bromide and that can have a bad effect on the taste, one last thing I should mention is that even if you have a good 'Awa, if you store it improperly then it will mold, you will not be able to see it but you will notice the smell and the taste of the 'Awa is different and it is not in a good way, so make sure you get 'Awa from a good source.
how long does the dried 'Awa root or 'Awa powder last?
If you keep it in a cool dry place it should last for a year or more, it you vacuum seal it and put it in the freezer then it can last a lot longer.
A friend of mine, Dr. Scot Nelson, a plant pathologist with UH, he vacuum sealed several different Hawaiian varieties of 'Awa and he put them in his freezer. We both tried the different 'Awa before being sealed and frozen and then we both tried them over 4 years later, the taste and the effect were the same, since we did not have the 'Awa tested by HPLC then there was no way of knowing if the kavalactones were less after the 4 years or not but we do know that kavalactones will essentially evaporate, so if you do not use it in a few months and do not keep it sealed in the freezer then there will be a loss in potency, so for long term storage make sure you vacuum seal and freeze it. If you buy a pound of 'Awa and you use it all in a month or 2 or even 3, (if you live in a wet or a dry area it will have an effect on the time it will last), you will not notice any drop in potency, even if you don't freeze it, but over the longer periods of time you will loose potency and your 'Awa can even get moldy.
How different is the potency of a 2 year old 'Awa plant vs a 5 and vs and 10 year old plant?
Tests have shown that the kavalactone content will reach it's max in 18-24 months but it is best to let it grow for 4-5 years, the reason is at 18-24 months there is a lot of portion of the 'Awa that is still young and white in the root not yellow, the older 'Awa is more evenly matured and the kavalactones are more evenly distributed. Grown in the right way Hawaiian 'Awa is regularly over 15% total kavalactone content and one called Papa'ele'ele had been tested at over 20% kavalactone. The more you take care of the 'Awa the better it is, a wild 'Awa is not as strong as a cultivated and fertilized 'Awa, that is why my 'Awa is called Gourmet Hawaiian Kava, I take the extra step to make sure the end product is the best.
4- The 3 or 4 or 10 year old plant will be about the same in kavalactone content, remember the max kavalactone content is reached in about 18 months, it does go up or down a bit but it will stay the same for the most part.
Does 'Awa (kava) cause stomach discomfort?
The answer is yes but only some 'Awa, only the 'Awa that is high in dihydromethysticin (DHM).
dihydromethysticin (DHM) is #4 in a chemotype so make sure that your 'Awa has a chemotype that is low in dihydromethysticin (DHM) Fiji has some varieties that are high in dihydromethysticin (DHM)as does Vanuatu, any tuday 'Awa is high in dihydromethysticin (DHM), Most places in the Pacific that have naturally grown 'Awa(Kava) they have both the good 'Awa and the tuday or wild 'Awa all of the 'Awa varieties in Hawaii are low in dihydromethysticin (DHM) so that shows that when the Polynesians came to Hawaii in there canoes, they had limited room and they were only going to bring the best plants and the plants they needed the most with them, 'Awa being one of them, that is why all Hawaii varieties are of the Noble type and are very good.
You can email me at Chris@gourmethawaiiankava.com