The Science

Are stress and mild anxiety affecting your life?

Whether you’re one of the four million Australians who suffer from a mental or behavioural condition; or life events, work, and other pressures have left you stressed or anxious, it’s important to address this issue. Left untreated, stress, tension and mild anxiety can impact on your health and well-being, manifesting into physical symptoms ranging from headaches, muscular aches and pains. It can also impact on your relationships with family, friends and work-colleagues.

Kava is a traditional medicine.

Kava is the root of a pepper plant, Piper Methysticum, and has been used for ceremonial and social purposes by Pacific Islanders for centuries. Traditionally the root is ground to a powder, and then mixed with water to form a drink.

Today we have extensive scientific evidence to confirm what the Pacific Islanders have known for centuries: kava may relieve symptoms of mild anxiety, aid in relaxation, relieve stress, improve your mood and well-being, and ease muscular tension, without affecting alertness and mental clarity.

Latin Name: Piper Methysticum.

Common Names: Kava Kava, Awa, Kava Pepper

RelaxMax Kava - Ready to drink

Scientific findings

Reduces anxiety:

  • A recent Australian clinical study found that kava significantly reduces the symptoms of people suffering mild anxiety. During the eight-week study, 75 patients experiencing generalised Anxiety Disorders (GAD), were given kava or a placebo, and anxiety levels were measured. Results showed a significant reduction in anxiety levels for the kava group compared to the placebo group. The kava was well tolerated and the results showed no liver function issues, no signs of withdrawal or addiction within the group, and no adverse reactions that could be attributed to kava. The study also revealed that females with low libido levels caused by stress and mild anxiety experienced a significant improvement in sex drive when regularly consuming kava. (Journal of Clinical Psychopharmacology, April 2013)
  • In a Cochrane systematic review of twelve randomized controlled trials on the effects of kava in patients with General Anxiety Disorder (GAD), kava was found to perform consistently better than placebo in reducing anxiety symptoms. These trials also found that side-effects were rare and mild. Read more here.
  • Two surveillance studies involving more than 3000 patients found that kava extracts improved nervousness, restlessness, sleep disturbances, muscle tension and sexual disturbances. (Hoffmann R, Winter U, 5th Phototherapy Congress, Bonn, Nov 3-5, 1993)
  • In August 2007, the journal of the American Academy of Family Physicians published an article on ‘Herbal and Dietary Supplements for Treatment of Anxiety Disorders’. They concluded that: “Short-term use of kava is recommended for patients with mild to moderate anxiety disorders who are not using alcohol or taking other medicines metabolised by the liver, but who wish to use ‘natural’ remedies.”

Strengthens mental focus:

  • Kava showed some particularly interesting properties when it was tested in a study that measured mental performance in alertness tests. A single dose of kava improved cognitive performance and had a positive effect on the allocation of attention and processing capacity compared with placebo. (Munte TF, Heinz HJ, Matzke M et al. Neuropsychobiology 1993; 27(1):46-53)

Water soluble kava extract (e.g. RelaxMax™ Kava) is effective and well tolerated with no side effects:

  • The Kava Anxiety Depression Spectrum Study (KADSS) measured the effects of water-soluble, or ‘aqueous’-extracted kava in a patient group of 60 adults with elevated anxiety. The aqueous extract used in the study was derived from the peeled rootstock of a medicinal cultivar of kava. The results revealed a highly significant reduction in participants’ anxiety levels, compared to placebo. The subjects experienced some common outcomes such as calming or relaxed mental effects, elevated mood, improvement with sleep and reduced muscular tension. Results were consistent with kava having beneficial effects, being well tolerated and with no new adverse reactions identified. (Psychopharmacology, 2009, 205 (3), pp. 399 – 407)

Accreditation

RelaxMax™ is an effervescent drink containing active concentrated kava extract.

It is listed on the ARTG as a complementary medicine with the following standard indications:

  • Traditionally used in Western herbal medicine, Kava may help to relieve mild anxiety & stress
  • Traditionally used in Western herbal medicine, Kava may help decrease / reduce / relieve mood swings associated with mild stress
  • Traditionally used in Western herbal medicine, Kava may help decrease / reduce / relieve nervous tension
  • Traditionally used in Western herbal medicine, Kava may help support muscle relaxation
  • Traditionally used in Western herbal medicine, Kava may help support general relaxation
  • Traditionally used in Western herbal medicine, Kava may help decrease / reduce / relieve sleeplessness
  • Traditionally used in Western herbal medicine, Kava may aid, assist or help in the maintenance of general well-being