How much Kava Kava does one have to take to get a buzz?

Someone told me that if you take enough Kava Kava you’ll get a pretty good buzz going. I tried Kava once, but the dosage recommended on the bottle. It didn’t do anything. Not even drowsy.
How much of that stuff does one take, and is it worth it? What’s the buzz like?

Back when I was in college, um, studying the effects of such things, I mixed two tablespoons of the powdered stuff in a mug of coffee. Let me say that the taste is like nothing you’ve ever experienced, unless you gargle with turpentine, and stays with you for a long, long time. Furthermore, it doesn’t seem to want to mix with water very well at all, and when you neglect to clean the coffee mug for weeks afterward, it turns into something similar to cement.

The payoff for such an endeavor was extreme dizziness, very much like that first-ever cigarette, identical even. Heart rate was quite elevated. That got me to thinking…

“Hmmm. The cigarette buzz works by constricting the blood vessels in the brain, I’m told. And I’ve had a cigarette buzz for, oh, twenty minutes now. I wonder, is this a smart thing to do?”

The buzz went away shortly thereafter. Interestingly, a second dose of equal size administered that same day produced a much weaker effect. No, I’m not a very bright guy. There were absolutely no hallucinations, feelings of euphoria, or other things that we drug abusers–I mean experimenters–generally enjoy.

It wasn’t even cheap. If you’re going to clip the scraggly beard that is your intellect, I recommend something more illegal, immoral, or fattening.

When I was in Hawaii, I stayed with a local over on the Hana side of Maui. Unfortunately, the locals have access to state parks that regular tourists or white boys, like myself, can’t get into without a permit.

One day, we drove into one such park near Hana and dug a giant kava root ball out of the ground. It was about the size of a bathtub and weighed nearly 400lbs. We had intended to chop it up into small portions and sell it to the Fijians on Maui that use it for ritualistic purposes. Needless to say, we had enough of it to kill an elephant, or so I thought.

Fresh kava root must be kept refrigerated if you want to keep it moist, otherwise it will dry out in a matter of days, as was the case with our giant root ball. We never got around to selling it because we thought it was worthless since it was dry, I don’t know if moisture or freshness increases the potency of kava.

One night, before it had dried completely, we took whole chunks of the root and mashed it into a blender with water. It was of a milkshake consistency and after drinking a tall glass I started to feel the effects. The only thing I can relate it to is the drug GHB. You are in pretty much full control, but stuff seems just a little off, a little wavy. I made another milkshake and it did not seem to intoxicate me any more.

I don’t know if the bottle you drank was concentrated or not, but to answer your question I say don’t waste your time. I’ve consumed mass quantities of it and it didn’t do jack. I guess it was the closest thing Fijians had to alkyhol.

Interesting tidbit: All of the Kava plants found on Maui are all female plants that were grown from cuttings of a plant grown on Fiji. Kava does not reproduce naturally on Maui, as all of the male plants are back on Fiji.

I forgot about the stickiness, it coated the blender like milky white tar or sap.

My husband has Tourette’s syndrome, and drinks Kava as Sofa King described - but with caffeine free Diet Coke, rather than coffee - to help alleviate his symptoms. On a really bad day he’ll drink the equivalent of 8-10 dessert spoons worth. The result is calming for him (and allergic dermatitis unfortunately), rather than a buzz. On other days he’ll drink it only a couple of times, and this is enough to relax him. Like a lot of things, it depends on the initial mood as much as anything. Neither of us have ever had any effects whatsoever from any other form of Kava Kava, and we’ve always guessed that this is because of the low dosage. I would say the only answer to the OP is … some.

It was once thought that the action of saliva on kava root was important to release its pharmacological effect. It is now accepted that the lipid soluble material is released into aqueous solution through emulsification and that this process is mechanical, not enzymatic or chemical (Dentali, 1997).


A friend of mine brought some powedered kava kava back from Fiji. He brewed it up in a tea. I drank it without sugar or any other flavouring and found it to be quite tasty. (He and his wife couldn’t believe I liked it that way.) They looked at me for a while after I drank it and asked if it was having any effect. No apparent psychoactive effects (and I did have a couple more cups), but I did feel refreshed.

Before coffee, preview!!!

This could be long so I apologize in advance.

My friend and I found ourselves in Guam with a about twenty firemen from Micronesia (I could explain that part but it would just complicate things). Anyway, we were offered this drink “sakow”, made from the kava root - historically made by Ponapeans. The stuff looked like dirty dishwater and at first tasted worse than dirty dishwater.

John (my friend) and I sat on a ping pong table and drank the sakow while all the Micronesian firemen danced nearby. Our first reaction to the stuff was its bad taste (It was fresh kava root flown in from Ponape that afternoon, pounded and strained into water. We watched Ponapeans in the group do it - some of the dirt got into the mixture, but we were used to that). At first drink, there was a light tingling of the mouth and tongue (not unlike the feeling one gets after a shot of novacane). After that, the taste wasn’t half bad.

Everyone drank. Everyone sang and everyone else but John and I danced (It was all male dancing and being American’s we were a little shy about dancing with other males. Also we didn’t know the dances, but then again we didn’t know the songs and that didn’t stop us from singing). There was no major “high”. I would compare it to a beer buzz (I should note that no one got mean or bad “rowdy” as can happen with most intoxicants-but that could be more the Micronesian personality than the drink). We were there the better part of an hour and a half.

At that point John turned to me and said, “TV, I gotta go piss.”

“Then go,” I said giving him directions to the nearest rest room.

“I can’t, TV. My legs have gone to sleep.”

“That’s stupid John. How could they fall asleep?” I responded. “John…”

Yeah, TV?"

“My legs have gone to sleep too.”

That proved to be the core of the kava root, at least as it was made at his party. If you don’t use portions of the body while drinking sakow, you temporarily lose it. It numbs you. Some of the firemen explained this to us as they were wrapping up the party an hour or so later.

They were nice enough to carry John and me back to the dorm in which we were staying at the time. We were that incapable of walking. However, we could communicate well verbally as we were being carried over the firemen’s heads and joined in their different songs while giving them directions. We all seemed to be laughing a lot too.

As they carried John into the lobby, the firemen misjudged the heighth of the door (remember they had been drinking too) and smashed John’s head into the stucco over the door. John just kept singing the Trukese firefighter’s song that everyone else was singing, not noticing the plaster falling around him (clearly the numbing effect continued-He asked me about the bump on his head the next day). The young lady I was staying with at the time refused to open the door of our room to all 12 or so of us, so the firemen leaned me against the door, and left relativly quietly (for Micronesian firemen, at least). Unfortunately, we all forgot that the door opened inward so when Diane opened the door after she was sure they had left, I fell flat on my face at her feet. On the fortunate side, I was still numb from the sakow so I didn’t know how much I hurt until the following day.

One follow up thing. Both John and I had terrible hangovers the following day.


I’ve used small health food stores doses as a relaxation/sleep aid on nights when I was a little tense or uncomfortable with a cold or something. The main thing I notice is a much milder version of what TV time describes. If I do happen to wake up I just feel very relaxed and heavy-limbed. I sometimes feel this way in the morning too, but it dissipates as soon as I get up and move around a bit. No buzz, though. And no hangover.

I am a regular kava drinker. The powder needs to be strained through a cheesecloth or similar fabric. It tastes awful, but mixed with kool-aid is okay.
And, like many substances, the first time is the best.
As for an herbal buzz, mix three kava pills, three St. John’s Wort, and three Valerian Roots for relaxation after a long or strenous day. It will calm you, numb you, and put you to sleep.

I’ve never taken Kava quite in the quantities described above, but I have a tendency to take waaaay too many caffeine pills during the day, and this has lead to panic attacks from time to time. :eek: I popped a Kava capsule a few times during this, and it made me feel sleepy and very relaxed. :slight_smile:

Unless it was something else. Just FYI . . .

I watched a 20/20 program that stated it was nature’s valium. I’ve tried several brands at high dosages with no effect. My guess - placebo effect unless you REALLY drop huge quantities. Or your chemistry responds well.
My advice is to give it up. It’s cheaper to go to the Dr. and fake panic symptoms if that’s what your looking for. You just can’t beat Xanax for relaxation.

I think that the problem that a lot of people have with kava is its reverse tolerance. To get the best effects with it, you should first drink a cup a day for a week or so to get your body used to it. Until you’re used to it, you won’t get the full effects even if you drink several cups.

I bought kava.

I mixed two tablespoons kava with two cups of lukewarm water. Then I read that people include fat, but I didn’t have any milk or creamer handy, so I used vanilla pudding.

Then I shook it up for a little bit. Then I let it steep for 15 minutes. Then I filtered it into a cup.

I didn’t really feel anything. The only thing I noticed is my lips and tongue got numb/tingly and I felt kind of warm. But I don’t think the warmth is from the kava, I think it’s part of the physiological reaction of my body trying not to vomit from the disgusting taste and texture.

Did I do it wrong?

Now I’m feeling a bit dopey. But I think that might just be my liver shutting down.

A very real possibility, so it seems:

The use of kava for as little as one to three months has resulted in the need for liver transplants, and even death.

Too much causes Zombie-ism! :stuck_out_tongue:

Not only did “I” [Peter K. Beitz] not post the Op (I’m thinking my youngest son did, back then, under my user name) to the best of my knowledge I’ve never tried to get a “buzz” from Kava Kava.

I do from time to time fly on B6. Take 500mg 2 hours before bedtime. It causes wicked vivid dreams. I recommend it but no more than once every 2 weeks or less. I will do some research on Kava, though.

And I’ll have a beer and a good laugh with Jimmer next time I see him!:wink:

Even after I filter my kava, there is a sludge at the bottom of my cup. I wonder if I’m supposed to ingest that. I’m hoping not. It looks disgusting.