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Kava and Kratom: The Craze and The Safety Issues

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There is a great deal of emphasis placed on natural ingredients (read more), whether in food or beauty products, even in modern times. Many people—millions, in fact! — are going green due to fear of chemical-based developments. The use of herbal supplements as a primary source of health care is still living in the medical practice, and research says it brings a promise. 

In fact, there is so much hype surrounding the potential benefits of plant-based health supplements, which it is sometimes difficult to know if it’s factual or a bluff. While it’s true that health supplements can be a big help, it’s not true that they don’t have any risks associated nor a necessity to take. However, it is possible to become swept up in a new craze that originates in faraway lands, and we do so quite frequently without first educating ourselves.

The same is true with other plant-based nutrients. As anxiety and other ailments become more prevalent throughout the world, more people are attempting to find alternative treatments for them. 

Kava and Kratom are two examples of plant-based supplements that are gaining popularity in recent years. To learn more about Kava vs Kratom, we’ve tackled each of these natural herbs to better see. They bring similar effects but, definitely, far different from one another. 

What Is Kava?

What started the kava craze is more than just a drink; it is also a cultural phenomenon. Kava, also known as Piper methysticum, is a tropical plant that has been around for a long time. In fact, its benefits have been widely recognized for thousands of years. Kava was used in a variety of uses—ceremonious practices and otherwise. Later on, people began to realize the benefits of kava root in terms of promoting wellness.

Kava: Benefits

It’s worth noting that the kava plant is related to the pepper family. This plant’s roots are high in a substance known as kavain, also known by the scientific name kavalactone. Particularly, kavalactones have been shown to reduce anxiety while simultaneously promoting relaxation and sedation, which are the popular claims in this herbal medicine. Kava root, which is made by grinding the root and dissolving it in water, affects those who consume it. Users say that it’s like alcohol but not addicting. 

According to the National Institutes Health, kava has been shown effective for its mild anxiety-reducing effect for the short term. Also, many people prefer using it for a night of better sleep. Thanks to its anxiolytic effects, people use it as an alternative therapy for sleep disorders. This natural drug may even help you feel happy, relaxed, and stress-free!

Kava: Risks

However, this natural element appears to be hepatotoxic. Thus, it may cause liver damage if not taken in the right way. 

Additionally, consuming alcoholic beverages while taking kava may increase the risk of liver damage in some people. Several other medications, such as benzodiazepines and antidepressants, may interact with this drug as well. With this in mind, it is crucial to check the dosage and to consult your doctor first before consuming kava. That ensures that you’ll be receiving the claims well without experiencing adverse results. 

Also, it may vary with the strain and the manner you’ve prepared it. If it’s made by extracting the kavalactones with water along with the noble kava— the traditional way— they say that it is the safest and the purest form (link: https://www.verywellmind.com/kava-kava-what-you-need-to-know-89703) of kava consumption. For centuries, people in the South Pacific have tried drinking kava. It is now recognized as an enjoyable beverage used as herbal medicine and for pleasure. But if abused, drinking kava can lead to serious health issues, including:

● Malnutrition
● Weight loss
● Liver toxicity
● Dry skin
● Dark urine
● Depression
● Fatigue

What Is Kratom?

Similarly, Kratom was also used in social, religious, and ceremonial celebrations back then. The evergreen tree, Mitragyna speciosa thatgrows in Southeast Asia and is used to treat various ailments. From its leaves is where Kratom is extracted. Kratom leaves can be chewed, and powdered Kratom can be swallowed or brewed, depending on the preparation. It is often found in the market in a liquid form. 

Kratom: Benefits

Kratom is believed to act on opioid receptors in the brain. It containsa compound called Mitragynine, a psychoactive substance, which is responsible for creating a similar reaction to the drug morphinewhich is helpful for people who struggle with withdrawal. Studies show that it can significantly dull the pain you’re experiencing.

It acts as a stimulant causing users to feel more energized and feel euphoric. At the same time, it has pain-relieving properties and may cause sedation that may cause you to be sleepy after consuming one. This herb is considered a recreational drug and a medicine. 

Kratom: Risks

Kratom was considered a safe alternative to opioids and other prescription pain relievers in the early years. But after a long, compelling study on the effects of Kratom, research revealed a slew of safety concerns showing a no-to-little promise of the benefits of Kratom.

Kratom is not currently considered an illegal substance in the federal state. It has been relatively simple to purchase in several markets. Still, some states and municipalities have chosen to outlaw the substance, making it illegal to sell, possess, cultivate, or use it in any way. 

Additionally, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued an advisory about this drug last 2019. The side effects associated could negatively impact your health. In most cases, the Kratom you’ve been hearing isn’t well-researched, unlike kava. 

Although Kratom is not the same as an opiate substance, its effects are unmistakably similar to those of a class of drugs known as opiates—and the possibility of addiction still exists. Especially since most researchers believe that this substance’s side effects and safety issues outweigh any potential health benefits, it is essential not to risk it at all. Instead of getting health wellness, Kratom abuse may endanger health and cause:

● Dryness 
● Constipation
● Fatigue
● Nausea
● Bone pain
● Anxiety

As with everything, moderate use of these substances is best advised. Everything taken in excess never brings desirable effects, after all. Consult with a professional before starting anything new! 

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