Also known as: Piper methysticum, ava, awa, gea, gi, intoxicating long pepper, kao, kawapfeffer, kew, malohu, maluk, rauschpfeffer, rhizome di kava-kava, sakau, tonga, wurzelstock, yagona.
Potential uses: Taken orally, it is claimed that kava may reduce the risk of cancer, as well as relieve anxiety disorders, stress, psychosis, depression, attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder, insomnia, restlessness, and many other ailments.
Usual dose: 100 milligrams of an extract 3 times per day.
Are there any risks? Kava has been associated with liver failure in a small number of people taking a normal dose. Some people may have a higher risk of liver damage, so routine liver function tests should be done before and during use for anyone who takes kava.
What does the research show? Two small studies have shown that kava works better than placebo for menopausal anxiety, but no studies have been done in humans on kava and breast cancer.