In recent years, mental wellness has become a widely discussed topic. Stress and anxiety can manifest in different ways, often as a result of things like finances, work, illness, or family responsibilities. When feelings of anxiousness arise, it can be difficult to balance mood and emotions. Now more than ever, many people are making lifestyle shifts and using alternative methods to help support their mental health and well-being.

One alternative method some have turned to is the traditional practice of drinking kava tea. Let’s dive into what kava actually is and the potential it has in the mental wellness space.

What is kava tea?

Made from a shrub in the South Pacific, kava tea has been used by Pacific Islanders for thousands of years. Papua New Guinea, Vanuatu, and Fiji are just a few of the island nations where kava can be found. Grinding and steeping the shrub’s roots in hot water will create a beverage or tea that has relaxing effects on the body, mind, and spirit.

Traditionally, kava tea has been used in rituals and ceremonies to promote feelings of peace and euphoria. In the West, kava is often enjoyed in dimly lit kava bars amongst close friends or family, and typically as the last beverage of the day.

Varying strains of kava

Different strains of kava have different effects on the body and mind depending on its chemotype. The chemotype consists of six numbers with each number representing an alkaloid. The order in which the alkaloids are listed determines which properties are most prominent within that particular strain of kava. Some strains, for instance, primarily offer feelings of relaxation and sedation while others promote creativity and mental stimulation. Some strains are used more for pain-relieving qualities and others are used more as a mood booster.

How can kava tea help balance mood and emotions?

While kava is not necessarily the cure for balancing mood and emotions, it does have properties that can help promote happiness, inner peace, and deep relaxation. Kava stimulates dopamine in the brain, which means many people experience feelings of euphoria upon drinking the beverage.

For those who struggle with anxiety, drinking kava tea may help provide relief. The beverage works to reduce some of the symptoms anxiousness can create—from physical tension in the body and feelings of restlessness to difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep. Ultimately, feeling good in your body throughout the day and sleeping well at night can help bring more balance to a person’s mood and emotions.

Apart from the physical properties of the plant, the practice itself of drinking the tea can be incredibly supportive for mood and emotions. In many cases, people who enjoy kava do so in a dimly lit, relaxing environment. Surrounded by a group of close friends, the practice of drinking the tea can be quite ceremonial. Presence and connection with those around you create a comfortable atmosphere that offers a complete sense of calm.

Some may also choose to incorporate kava tea with their evening meditation practice. The simple practice of inviting in complete presence as you enjoy the beverage can help support balancing mood and emotions.

If you do use kava to help support your mental wellness, be sure to find a supplier with plants that are high-quality and organically grown to help ensure you have the best experience possible.

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