You may have noticed that kava bars are spreading across America. Well, maybe you have not noticed it, but even so, these bars are growing throughout the country. Kava kava (or simply kava) is a natural product from the Pacific Islands commonly used in ceremonies or social gatherings and events. So, why not using this social component of kava and throwing a kava party at home? Read below to find out how to surprise your friends with a kava kava party!
What Is Kava?
Kava (or kava kava) is a shrub in the pepper family very popular in the Pacific Islands. Its botanical name is Piper methysticum. Depending on where you are, kava can come in different names. Thus, in Fiji kava is also known as “yaqona” or “grog”, “malok” in some parts of Vanuatu, or “’awa” in Hawaii.
But the use of kava is growing outside the Pacific Islands. Thanks to its effects, kava is also becoming very popular in America. But what are these effects?
- Mood elevation
- A feeling of well-being
These effects are due to kavalactones, which may also have the following therapeutic properties:
- Relieve pain
- Reduce the symptoms of anxiety
- Prevent neuronal damage
Also, according to a 2015 study, kavalactones might have positive effects on lung cancer in mice.
For many centuries, people in Fiji, Tonga, Hawaii or Vanuatu used the roots of kava (Piper methysticum) to prepare a very special drink that they used in rituals, ceremonies, and social events. Thus, kava is both a traditional and social drink. But kava is also part of the folk medicine and for many generations, it has been a common remedy to cope with:
- Skin problems
- Respiratory issues
Kava ceremonies have also become a tourist attraction in many of these areas. But for the local population, kava is still a very important element in their social life. Hence, we can find the following kava rituals:
- Fiji: Kava is drunk to celebrate births or marriages and to welcome guests. The traditional kava ceremony in Fiji has become a must for a lot of tourists. These ceremonies also include dances and chants.
- Tonga: In Tonga, young single women prepare and serve kava to men in a sort of courtship ritual. But kava is also very important when a new king ascends to the throne or when a king day. Thus, a Tongan Royal Kava Ceremony (Taumafa Kava) is held to welcome a new king or for the funeral of the old king.
- Hawaii: Hawaii also has its own kava ceremonies and rites. There are kava ceremonies to honor local deities. But there were also some kava strains considered holy and only royalty could consume them.
- Vanuatu: Kava is also very important in Vanuatu. While hundreds, even thousands of years ago, only an elite could access kava, this restriction evolved with time. Thus, today people consume kava in funerals or to celebrate marriages and births. It is also a welcome drink for visitors.
But kava is also an important part of social life in these places and people consume it as a healthier alternative to alcohol or just to relax. In the section below, we will give you some tips to throw your own kava party at home.
How to Throw a Kava Party at Home
What do you need to throw a kava party? You will just need two things: kava and guests. But there are some other things that you should bear in mind before throwing your kava party. Read our tips below for the perfect kava party!
- Make a kava fund: Kava is not a cheap product, so you may want to ask your guests for help by contributing to the kava fund.
- Learn how to make kava: The traditional way of making kava consists of putting kava powder in a strainer or a cloth, immersing it in warm water, and squeezing it for 10 to 15 minutes.
- Choose the right kava type: While you can turn the traditional preparation into a part of your kava party, it can also be tedious and tiresome. Nevertheless, there are kava products that will allow you to make kava drinks without all this paraphernalia. Instant kava powder will allow you to prepare kava very easily. You will just need to mix the instant kava powder with water, juice or your favorite drink and stir.
- Find kava drinks recipes: Kava does not taste very good and the texture is not very nice either. But you can prepare kava drinks and kava smoothies that will help you mask its taste and even help improve the party atmosphere. You can also add kava to non-alcoholic cocktails. One thing to bear in mind, though: do not mix kava and alcohol.
- Make it fun: Since you are throwing a kava party, you can turn it into a theme party, such as a Hawaiian theme party. Use Hawaiian style decorations and encourage your guests to wear Hawaiian costumes. You can also serve the drinks in coconuts shells.
Some Precautions when Throwing a Kava Party
If you want to throw a kava party, you will also need to take some precautions. Kava can also cause side effects, such as dizziness, numbness, stomach upset, and headaches. On the other hand, you must also consider kava interactions. Kava can interact with many drugs, supplements, and other natural products. You can find the complete list here. Also, kava might cause liver toxicity, so people with a liver condition must avoid kava. Finally, you should not mix kava and alcohol, as this combination may increase the side effects of both substances.
So, before throwing your kava party, you should warn your guests about these side effects and interactions. Be responsible and cautious!