I recently spent time in Hawaii on vacation where I discovered my first Kava bar.I was walking along the market streets of Kona on the Big Island and ventured inward a bit, when I happened across a small outdoor café—a pleasant place called Kanaka Kava. Behind the bar was a friendly hip-looking guy in his 20s, looking cool stirring a brownish liquid in a large wooden bowl. Imagine a salad bowl for 20 people—that’s how big this thing was—large enough to hold 6 gallons of fluid. Behind him stood a variety of smaller bowls that turned out to be coconut shells, all handsomely decorated. One had a small red heart lacquered into it; another had carved spider webs all around the sides. These were bowls of regulars who came to drink kava from their own personalized cups.
- Don’t use Kava if you have liver problems (such as hepatitis), drink alcohol regularly, or consistently take a drug with known adverse effects on the liver, including acetaminophen (Tylenol), statin drugs, and niacin.
- Don’t use Kava on a daily basis for more than four weeks.
- Discontinue Kava if you develop jaundice (yellowing of the skin or the whites of the eyes) or symptoms of hepatitis (nausea, abdominal pain, loss of appetite, dark urine, clay-colored stools).
- Check with your doctor if you have a history of liver problems or suspected liver problems before using or continuing to use Kava.
And when you take Kava, don’t forget to clap twice to release the Kapu.MORE: How to Talk to Your Doctor About Stress