Kava has been a large part of South Pacific ritual for thousands of years. Traditionally used in ceremonial practices, the kava drink promotes feelings of happiness and inner peace. In recent years, the plant has become more popular beyond the South Pacific Islands, and kava bars are now commonly seen throughout the world.


Though traditional kava tea has become increasingly popular, incorporating the plant into food or other beverages can be a great way to experience its benefits. Let’s take a look at the properties of kava and some innovative recipes for relaxation.


Understanding Kava and Its Properties

Grown all over the South Pacific, kava has many different strains depending on where it’s found. Each strain has its own unique properties that are established by the chemotype—the order in which the six primary alkaloids are ranked based on how prevalent they are within the plant.

While some strains of kava have more of a stimulating effect, promoting an elevated mood and creativity, other strains offer a deeper feeling of relaxation. When incorporating kava into your lifestyle, consider what properties will be most beneficial to you.

Using Kava in the Kitchen

Kava has an earthy, somewhat bitter flavor that can be an acquired taste for some. Using it in grounding foods or beverages can be a great way to incorporate it in an innovative way that compliments its flavor.

When working with kava, the roots of the plant are ground up to create a powder. For the traditional kava drink, the powder is steeped in water to create a tea-like beverage. The typical ratio is about 2-3 tablespoons of powdered kava per person and about 1 cup of water per 2 tablespoons of kava, though it’s a good idea to start small and see what works best for you.

Kava Chamomile Tea

Chamomile tea is soothing all on its own—perfect for bedtime. When you add kava, you get an even more relaxing beverage to enjoy as your last drink of the day. You might try mixing just a couple teaspoons of finely ground kava into your favorite tea to help you wind down in the evening.

Kava-Infused Lentil Soup

A warming food like lentil soup is a fantastic meal for incorporating kava. Add 2 cups of chopped onions and 1 ½ cups of chopped carrots to a large pot and let them soften over medium heat. Stir in 3 cloves of chopped garlic, spices like cumin, coriander, and turmeric—about 1 teaspoon each—and kava. You may end up using less than the typical ratio for traditional tea, based on flavor and how potent you’d like the soup to be.

Add 2 cups of rinsed, uncooked lentils and 8 cups of broth, and allow your soup to simmer, partially covered for about 30 minutes until the lentils are soft. Finish up with greens like kale or spinach, and sea salt to taste. 

Coconut Hot Chocolate Kava

It’s hard to beat the comfort of hot chocolate, but it can get even better with kava! Use our traditional kava tea recipe, replacing water with coconut water. Blend in coconut milk for creaminess, and stir in a few spoonfuls of your favorite chocolate syrup. Relax and enjoy!

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