As I have discussed elsewhere on the site, figuring out the best place to buy kava root or other kava products can be incredibly confusing. After all, you can purchase kava in a wide variety of forms, from capsules to instant drink mixes to dried root. You can buy kava root from all over the South Pacific islands, from Fiji to Hawaii to Vanuatu. You can buy all different strains of kava, old and traditional strains, and new hybrids that are supposedly more potent but that also be low quality and carry health risks. Since there are so many types of kava available to purchase online and in stores, it follows that the quality of these kava products can vary widely. Hawaiian kava root from one vendor can be extremely high quality, organic and fresh, while kava from another vendor may be low in potency, treated with dangerous chemicals, and several years old by the time it makes it to you. With all of these things to consider, the consumer looking to buy kava kava root online might feel confused and bewildered, unsure about what kava is the best and safest.
Fortunately, if you arm yourself with a little bit of knowledge, it will become much easier to determine if the kava root you are looking at is of high quality. Many people want to buy pure kava root because it is the most traditional form of kava that is available over the internet. Of course, traditionally, kava root is prepared when it is fresh. In many island communities, kava is prepared daily as a ritual, and the root is prepared on the same day as it is harvested. However, at the same time, the age of the kava root makes a big difference in potency. Roots are not mature or ready to consume until around five or more years of growth under the ground. As time goes on, the concentration of kavalactones in the root increases, and the root grows in size and weight as well. Most kava growers will have a few very special kava plants that are at least ten years old, if not older, which they are saving for a very special occasion, such as a wedding!
Traditionally, fresh kava root was prepared by masticating the root until it turned in to a soft pulp. The combination of certain enzymes in saliva and root matter allowed the alkaloids in the kava to leach out in to water to make a tea. Although missionaries who first came to the South Pacific islands were disgusted by this tradition, native peoples continued to chew kava because it was believed that it created a more potent drink, a belief that has actually been supported by scientific research in more recent years!
Now, for the average kava lover interested in buying kava root online, it is almost impossible to find fresh kava root available. Unless you live on a Pacific Island and can travel to a kava farm or start your own kava garden, chances are you will be relying on dried kava root. The downside to this is that the potency is bound to be slightly less than with fresh kava root, but the upside is that you won’t have to worry about the jaw-breaking task of chewing fresh root every day, because most dried kava root comes pre-processed! Generally, when you buy kava root you want to look for kava that is of a noble strain (a strain which has been cultivated traditionally for thousands of years such as Mahakea kava or Palisi kava). Newer hybrid strains may be more potent, but they also have not been researched or backed up by thousands of years of safe use, and it is entirely possible that they contain combinations of kavalactones that may be toxic, so it’s important to be cautious. You also want to make sure that you get kava kava root that has matured for a number of years – at least two, but three or four is even better! You also want to make sure that your kava is prepared from ONLY the root – the leaves and stems can be toxic. And, of course, it’s ideal to purchase organic kava, since that way you won’t get any unpleasant chemical surprises while seeking healing properties from this amazing plant.
Generally, we recommend that people purchase powdered kava root, as it is the easiest form of dried kava to prepare. However, if you are looking for a bit more potency and don’t mind some extra preparation work, you can find whole dried kava root or chipped dried kava root for sale online. Since these products have not been ground in to a fine powder, they lose potency much less quickly, meaning that if you are willing to work with them, the payoff may be worthwhile. Dried whole or chipped kava root should be soaked in cold or lukewarm water for at LEAST 30 minutes, rather than the 5-10 minutes needed for powdered kava root, and once you’ve soaked the whole root you’ll need to spend a good amount of time and energy to extract the alkaloids from the root matter by squeezing. This is definitely a lot more work that using powdered kava root, but if you want to buy kava root that is the most authentic possible, this is the way to go!
No matter what sort of kava root you decide to go with, make sure you make an informed decision with a mind not just to the price, but to the safety and quality of the product at hand. Kava is a wonderful healer, but it can have negative effects if prepared or used improperly. If you follow the guidelines in this article and the rest of the site, though, you’re sure to buy kava kava root that will provide you with just what you need!