Can Christians drink kava?

Picture of Kavahana

As people are learning more about kava from all corners of the world, durign Christmas, the thought we’d clarify a questions that has been popping up.

If you’re a member of the Christian faith, can you drink kava? Fortunately, the short answer seems to be yes!

But we’ll give a bit of context and talk about some of the topics that have come up for discussion.

A short history of kava and Christianity

In the south pacific, kava has its own religious connections. Each island has its own myths about where kava comes from. In Tahiti the goddess Hinanui brought kava to the people. In Hawaii it was the gods Kane and Kanaloa. And in Fijian mythology, it’s the creator of humans, Degei, who gives the people kava and teaches them how to drink and cultivate it. Kava is used as a part of any ceremony and holds incredible cultural and spiritual significance to island nations. It’s also been used to treat medical issues from skin conditions to toothache to urinary infections.

When missionaries first arrived on the islands, the cultural connection between kava and the people was a threat. Their goals was to convert the natives to Christianity and kava was a vital part of their traditional and religious identity. The missionaries saw it as a dangerous mind altering substance. They started to restrict kava’s use, then attempted to ban it altogether.

Fortunately, the missionaries were unsuccessful and kava and its traditions remain. It turns out that kava was just misunderstood.

The good parts of kava

When reading some of the kava forums, most people agree that kava is perfectly fine to drink as a Christian. Firstly, unlike alcohol or other substances, kava doesn’t make you drunk or high. In fact it contains no alcohol or psychoactive properties. The effects you feel come from a change in neurotransmitters in your brain. These are the little chemical messengers that communicate signals from the brain to the body. The effects increase GABA, which is the neurotransmitter responsible for making you feel relaxed. It actually enhances your mind and body rather than diminishing it.

It was also mentioned that the cultivation and distribution of kava aligns with Christian principles and what Jesus preached. That is being of service to others through good deeds and putting others before yourself. Kava certainly can have a positive impact on people’s lives. Particularly in supporting those who struggle with anxiety and insomnia.

Research has expanded on investigating the effects of kava on both anxiety and insomnia. It’s showing more and more benefits of using kava as a treatment. It even has been seen to be more effective than some anxiety medications and doesn’t have the side effects.

The “bad” parts of kava

It turns out there aren’t really any bad aspects of kava from the Christian perspective. The biggest concern seems to be around the myth that kava causes liver damage. This has been proven false by the World Health Organization after and in-depth investigation. It turned out the liver damage was caused not by kava itself but by additives and fillers in some of the supplements or interaction effects with other medications. 

What many people don’t realize is that many kava supplements and extracts contain extra ingredients. Because supplements aren’t regulated at the same level as medications, some companies add inexpensive fillers that aren’t included on the label. These can have negative effects on how kava acts on your body.

If you drink kava tea, either prepared in the traditional way or in instant form, you’re only drinking kava root or kava root juice. Nothing else. And the best companies with the highest quality come from the pacific islands, so you support local, small farmers when you drink it. We highly recommend drinking kava rather than taking supplements or extracts. 

The takeaway

When it comes down to it, there is no evidence that you can’t drink kava if you’re a practicing Christian. It seems that the biggest concern with drinking kava is how it affects your mind. But as we know, your mental effects are enhanced and kava doesn’t alter your ability to function. Many Fijians are also Christian, after the previously mentioned missionary movement, and they continue to use it regularly both socially and culturally.

So sip away my friends and enjoy the benefits you get from the rich traditions and effects you get from kava.

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