Kava and how it helps fibromyalgia warriors

Kava is a plant extract derived from the Piper methysticum plant, which is commonly found in the western Pacific islands. The term “Kava” comes from the Polynesian word “awa,” which means “bitter.” It is most commonly used to relieve anxiety. Some people use kava to treat fibromyalgia, as well as to relieve stress, restlessness, and sleeplessness, among other things (1).

What exactly is fibromyalgia?
Fibromyalgia is a chronic condition characterized by musculoskeletal pain, muscle spasms, tiredness, memory, sleep, and mood issues. Fibromyalgia, according to researchers, worsens painful feelings by interfering with how your brain and spinal cord interpret painful and nonpainful information (2).

How Kava helps fibromyalgia warriors?
Kava helps in relieving symptoms of fibromyalgia in numerous ways. Kava is used for the relaxation of striated muscles. Striated muscles include arm and leg muscle groups, as well as neck muscles. Kava relaxes these striated muscles.

Kava helps in relieving symptoms of fibromyalgia in numerous ways. Kava is used for the relaxation of striated muscles. Striated muscles include arm and leg muscle groups, as well as neck muscles. Kava relaxes these striated muscles. As muscle cramping and musculoskeletal pain are common In fibromyalgia patients, kava drinks relax these muscles so that these muscles do not painfully contract and cause pain.  Nerve tension may also contribute to the muscular spasms experienced by fibromyalgia patients, which this herb helps to relieve. It is important to mention here that Kava Kava does not affect smooth muscle which includes heart muscle and diaphragm. Therefore, it can be used for fibromyalgia because it only relaxes striated muscles which are mainly affected in fibromyalgia (2). Since fibromyalgia patients also suffer from insomnia, mood problems, and anxiety, researchers believe that Kava can increase mental capabilities because the combination of relaxation of spastic or tight muscles, for example, neck muscles, and relaxation of stressful conditions allows for increased blood flow to the brain(3).

While everyone is well aware that there is no cure for fibromyalgia, therefore, anything that might help alleviate symptoms of fibromyalgia is typically worth a try, and relaxation of muscles in fibromyalgia is critical. Whether that relaxation is achieved through sleeping or herbal assistance such as Kava Kava, the primary goal is to enable the muscles to relax with the hope that increased blood flow would perfuse the tissues, thereby will help in relieving symptoms of fibromyalgia.

Always remember to take herbs as if they were drugs and use these herbs with caution. Consult your herbalist or physician before combining herbs with any fibromyalgia medicines you may be taking. Occasionally, certain herbs should not be taken with drugs that are harsh on the liver(4).  Make certain you have done proper research before purchasing any herbs.

References

1. LiverTox: Clinical and Research Information on Drug-Induced Liver Injury [Internet]. Bethesda (MD): National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases; 2012-. Kava Kava. [Updated 2018 Apr 10]. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK548637/

2. Lapp, Charles W., and Hunter-Hopkins Center. “Recommended for persons with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (or Fibromyalgia) who are anticipating surgery.

3. Singh YN, Singh NN. Therapeutic potential of kava in the treatment of anxiety disorders. CNS drugs. 2002 Nov;16(11):731-43.

4.Seeff L, Stickel F, Navarro VJ. Hepatotoxicity of herbals and dietary supplements. In, Kaplowitz N, DeLeve LD, eds. Drug-induced liver disease. 3rd ed. Amsterdam: Elsevier, 2013, pp. 631-58.

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