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What is the Right Kava Dosage for You?

Researching about kava online is pretty easy. You can find out what kava is, how kava can benefit you, where kava is sold and how to prepare kava for consumption. One of the harder questions to find answers to is how to determine the right kava dosage for you. This is a personalized and complicated question to which there is no standard answer available online. Of course your kava vendor will probably provide you with dosage suggestion on the label of the packaging your kava comes in (Supplement Facts), but in reality, you need to experiment with kava to determine what dosage works for you. The right kava dosage depends on 3 core variables which you should know about being new to kava. In this post, we will talk in detail about those 3 variables to help you figure out your right kava dosage.

This post is primarily for people who are starting their kava journey, but it can be useful for experienced kava consumers as well, especially those who take kava medicinally. Since kava prices are soaring due to shortage of supply and increase in demand, it is vital to get the most out of the kava you purchase. On one hand, you could focus on maximizing extraction of the kavalactones from the kava you purchase while on the other, you could focus on attaining the right dosage of kava for anxiety relief or other medicinal uses to minimize kava wastage (using too much kava)

Before we delve further into this topic, one should note that the United States Food and Drug Administration has not approved kava for the treatment of any ailment. However, people still use kava as an aphrodisiac, a cognitive aid, to combat feelings of restlessness and irritability, and for symptoms of alcohol or benzodiazepine withdrawal. Since the FDA has not approved kava for the treatment of any ailment, no regulated standard dosing guideline exists. This means vendors are free to suggest any dosage they deem appropriate.

Clinical trials so far have substantially proven that kava is natural herb which is reliable and effective for the treatment of anxiety and other cognitive issues. You can check out all research done so far HERE. In most of these trials, the subjects were given between 300mg to 400mg kavalactones on a daily basis. The dosage was divided into 3 doses within a 24 hour span which means you need approximately between 100mg to 135mg kavalactones for each dose to get anxiety relief from kava. This range should be considered as a good starting point for dosing kava.

Now that you know the base dose to begin experimenting from, let’s get to the 3 core factors you need to consider when you are experimenting with the kava to determine the right dosage for you.

1) Reverse Tolerance

If you are new to kava, this is one of the very first problems you could face when trying to figure out the right kava dosage. Reverse tolerance doesn’t happen with everyone. But if you have bought kava from a revered vendor and it hasn’t been working for you, chances are that you are experiencing reverse tolerance. Most people seem to give up at this stage thinking that kava doesn’t work for them. You must understand that reverse tolerance is a real thing ( Yes, it is possible for you to be going through it) and it will take time for you to get past it whether it takes a few days or a few weeks. You could need to go through a few shells to a few pounds of kava powder to get through reverse tolerance. But trust us, your patience will be rewarded and will probably change your life for the better. If you don’t think so, read our post "How Kava Supplement has Saved 4 Lives" to see the power of kava.

2) Your Need for Kava

The right dosage depends why you are using kava. In some instances you may require more kavalactones in your system for pain relief or bodily effects as compared to anxiety relief. The effectiveness of kava is also determined by your body type and height. Usually taller and heavier people require more amounts of kavalactones (kava’s active ingredient) to experience desirable effects while shorter and lighter people require much less amounts. Your body’s sensitivity to substances is also something worth considering when finding the right dosage. Some people are overly sensitive to kava while some just need more kavalactones in their system to feel the effects.

3) The Kava Itself

Kava comes in different forms such as pills, powder, extracts and has different kavalactone concentrations. We recommend purchasing kava in natural powder form and avoiding extracts and pills. Each kava cultivar also has a unique set of beneficial effects. Generally the effects of different cultivars can be summarised as calming, pain relieving, sleep inducing, mood elevating and increasing sociability. All kavas provide general anxiety relief for all 5 major types of anxiety but you will find that some cultivars work better for a particular type of anxiety than others. For example, cultivars with mood elevating and increasing sociability effects works better for Social Anxiety than other kavas in general.  A good way to determine which kava suitable for you would be to go through reviews of the particular kava cultivar to see how it affected others. A good collection of reviews can be found HERE. You should note that retailed kavas generally differ from batch to batch so it’s wise to look at more recent reviews than older ones. The reviews would paint a fair idea of what a particular type of kava is best for.

After experimenting to find out which cultivar suits your need, you will need to determine exactly how many mg of kavalactones needs to be in your system to get desired effects. This can be calculated using the simple formula below after noting the amount of kava powder used.

  • For Traditional Grind Kava
  Kavalactone Calc for TG
  • For Micronized or Instant Kava
Kavalactone Calc for Micro & Instant

Once you know how many grams of kavalactones you need, you can use the formula below to determine how many grams of powder you will have to use for each dose.

  • For Traditional Grind Kava
  Powder Dosage Calc for TG
  • For Micronized or Instant Kava
Powder to use Calc for Micro & Instant

You may be wondering where in the article it tells how much water (or other liquids) to use. This is totally up to you. Even if you water down the kava, you will still be consuming the same amount of kavalactones. Bear in mind though that the lesser liquid you use in preparing traditional kava powder, the lower will be its extraction efficiency factor. 0.2 is a factor which we determined from experience.

These formulas may seem complicated but it is fairly straightforward. If you want to use kava as a medicine, the above formulas will be very helpful in maximizing your kava usage and determining the right amount of powder to use for desired effects. We recommend sticking to the 3 forms of kava specified in the post and avoid pills, tinctures or extracts which are usually considered ineffective because of quality issues.

We must say that while getting the right dosage is beneficial, you should know that there is nothing wrong with consuming too much kava. It is completely safe (non-lethal) unlike other substances out there. But there is a chance you may experience nausea and feel drunk (groggy) from the kava if taking excessively during a short period. That is why it is not recommended to drive or operate heavy machinery after consuming too much kava. A good sleep after consuming too much kava will solve everything, so you don’t need to worry about incurring hospital bills.

We hope that this article has shed some light about the infamous kava dosage question and that you find the right kava dosage for you. Bula!

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  • Neil (Owner) on

    You are completely correct about that. To be fair we did say to “Bear in mind though that the lesser liquid you use in preparing traditional kava powder, the lower will be its extraction efficiency factor”. We have given traditional kava extraction a factor of 0.2 at best because extraction using water requires extreme amounts of pressure. This is because kavalactones are insoluble in water and you wont be able to simply “wash off” the kavalactones into water just as you cannot wash grease/oil off any rough surface using water. Oils such as kavalactones have an affinity to cling onto rough substances if it doesn’t dissolve into liquids. That’s why your strainer gets yellow fairly easily with few kava preps. The kavalactones just cling onto the kava fibers and the strainer and you barely get anything into the liquid solution.

    Water is considered as a factor in preparation of traditional kava powder only. However, in most circumstances with traditional preparation or using the aluball, you are simply filtering out the larger kava fibers and consuming the finer kava particles. You do extract some additional kavalactones out of the larger kava particles with hand pressure in traditional prep, but it isn’t as significant. If you are using micronized or instant kava then the water content completely doesn’t matter.

  • Leigh Jones on

    I find myself in disagreement with some important statements made in this article. The most fundamental problem is that the author began with the unsupported assumption that it doesn’t matter how much water you use when extracting the kava, you’ll get the same quantity of kavalectones. The real truth is that water is required to extract, and the more water you add the faster and more complete the extraction process will be. The keyword here is tissue pressure. Kavalectones trapped inside of cell walls require a differential in quantities of dissolved kava inside and outside of the cell walls in order for the kava to be drawn out of the cells. This means that the cleaner the rinse water, the quicker the extraction. To put that another way, as you move from making kava with a pint of water and a tablespoon of ground root to very strong kava with a pint of water and two tablespoons of kava, the waste left behind will contain more and more un-extracted kava, so the final product will be significantly less than doubled in strength. This spins a lot of inaccuracies into the article.

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