Kava Linked To Liver Damage

Kava has been used in ceremonies and for recreational and social purposes in the South Pacific since ancient times, much like alcohol, tea or coffee is in other societies today. In the 1980s other medicinal uses for kava began to emerge and it was marketed in herbal form as a natural way to treat conditions such as anxiety, insomnia, tension and restlessness, particularly in Europe and North America. More recently, evidence began to emerge about the adverse affect kava could have on the liver. Studies have found that following kavain treatment the liver tissue displayed an overall change in structure, including the narrowing of blood vessels, the constriction of blood vessel passages and the retraction of the cellular lining. Interestingly, kavain also adversely affected certain cells which function in the destruction of foreign antigens (such as bacteria and viruses), which make up part of the body's immune system.