1) Plant History & General Information:
- Location on Property: Garden Z, Garden J, Puka Hale, Bamboo Hut
Scientific Name: Piper methysticum
- Kava or kava-kava is a crop of the western Pacific. The name kava is from Tongan and Marquesan; other names for kava include ʻawa, ava, yaqona, sakau, and malok or malog
- Region of Origin: Native to the South Pacific
- General History: Throughout history Kava root has been used for its relaxing effects. It’s use dates back many thousands of years in the South Pacific. Knowledge of traditional Kava distribution began in the late 18th Century with the documentation of Pacific Island cultures. Ther first real documentation of kava in history came from Captain James Cooke in his travels.
2) Plant Uses:
- As Food: The kava root can be made into tea or tonics and is used for its relaxing qualities and for some it’s strong and numbing taste. The root of the kava can be used as a dietary supplement. However, the stems and leaves may cause liver damage and are considered toxic.
- WARNING: Women who are pregnant or nursing should abstain from the consumption of kava root.
- As Medicine: Some experts believe it has a positive effect on treating anxiety disorders. Kava is said to elevate mood, well being, and contentment, and produce a feeling of relaxation. Several studies have found that kava may be useful in the treatment of anxiety, insomnia, and related nervous disorders.
3) Growing Instructions:
History of this Plant at HedonisiaGrowing: To allow for vigorous root growth, soils should be fertile and loose but not allowed to dry out. Mulch can be used on some soils. Avoid soils that are prone to waterlogging since this can inhibit growth and cause root rot. For this reason, kava is often planted on sloping land. Provide shade and protection from the wind. Kava cuttings require moist conditions at the time of planting to develop shoots and roots. The use of sand, timber shavings or compost in the soil can help the soil from becoming too wet.
- Propagation: Kava propagates readily from mature, freshly harvested entire stems or 1–4 node sections of stems.
- Controlling Spread: N/A
- Difficulties with this plant: This plant can be very delicate in the beginning stages and does not do well when being challenged by other weeds. Make sure it is kept in a well-weeded area and watered often.