The Magical Benefits of The Kava Root : Interview w/ Will Lawrence
Will Lawrence is a Chef born and bred in New York City. Being immersed in the culture of food and beverage, he is always looking for the next trend. After quitting alcohol in 2015 he discovered Kava which changed his life. Realizing that this beverage could help others like himself, he has committed to re-branding and re-purposing the Kava root to be more enjoyable and palatable to the average consumer. He agreed to speak to us about Kava
1. What is Kava? And it's origin?
Kava, also known as piper methysticum is a shrub-like root indigenous to the South Western Pacific. The plant and roots are used in these cultures to create a non-alcoholic beverage with sedating, relaxing, and sometimes euphoric effects. This beverage is a part of daily life in many of these countries, none more so than Fiji, where Kava is used in political, religious, and medicinal ceremonies. Used for hundreds of years throughout this region it is surprising Kava is only now gaining popularity in the West.
2. How often do you drink it? How does it work? Feel like?
I drink Kava three to four times a week. Kava has a reverse tolerance; meaning, that you need to ingest more as a beginner, than someone who might be accustomed to the beverage. With that being said, I do not drink as much at each sitting however, I still feel a nice mellow calm over my body while my mind stays crystal clear.
3. Are there different strains of Kava? If so, could you provide them for us?
Kava has only one species but, there are many varieties that are specific to certain regions of the Pacific. Each having its own aroma, taste, and mildly varying effects.
4. When did you first try Kava? What was your first experience like?
My first encounter was in August of 2015. It was not mind blowing (due to the reverse tolerance), but I felt a mild relaxing feeling and was interested in the culture.
5. What's the recommended dose for a beginner?
As a beginner, it is recommended to start strong. Each Kava bar usually has a drink that is geared towards fist timers. The first drinks should be stronger and more potent if you intend to feel the effects.
6. How is it prepared?
When preparing Kava, it is a ratio of 1:4 parts Kava to water. The root is dried out and pulverized into a powder. It is then put into a cloth and steeped in the water before being squeezed and kneaded.
7. You are a chef, do you incorporate Kava in meals? Does it have the same effect?
Currently I am experimenting with incorporating Kava in food and beverages. I have had success in making some desserts and mixed drinks using Kava. It is best incorporated in dishes that do not require prolonged periods of heating, which turn kava bitter and denature its properties.
8. Are there any side effects?
Side effects vary depending on the amounts you ingest and the strand you choose. All typically give you a soothing and relaxing felling. Drinking too much can lead to some nausea as well as ingesting with alcohol are not recommended.
9. Since Kava has a relaxing effect would you recommend it to people with anxiety, insomnia and stress? Why?
I would absolutely recommend the use of Kava for people with these issues. Kava is primarily know for its anti anxiety benefits. The calming feeling that comes with drinking it, is perfect for individuals dealing with stress and trouble sleeping.
10. I've also heard that a lot of women are drinking Kava to reduce the effects of menopause. How do you believe Kava helps in this regard?
Some independent studies have shown that the use of Kava has lowered the anxiety levels of menopausal woman and in some instances helps counteract hormonal imbalances.
11. If we think we might want to get on this Kava wave. Where can we order our Kava from?
Kava at this point is available at many websites with a quick google search but, I would require that some independent research is done. Kava takes years to grow and harvest, which can lead to vendors lying about strands and varieties. Research proving Kava's benefits have led to companies moving to make the production and harvesting more accessible.
12. Any tips for the newbies?
Respect the effects of Kava. It should not be used as a replacement for any other addictions. It can most definitely help you shy away from other health hazardous habits but, it should be enjoyed with a clear open mind. You will be surprised by how it affects you!
You can find Will on Instagram: @ChefWillLaw