Kava is said to have orgininated on the archipelago of Vanuatu whose name means, The Land Eternal. It has been domesticated throughout Oceania, (Polynesia, Melanesia and Micronesia). It comes from places referred to by many of us as "Paradise" including Fiji, Samoa, Tahiti, Tonga and Hawaii where it is called Awa. This member of the Pepper family (Piperacea) has been used for centuries in different ceremonies promoting social, cultural and religious enhancement. The Natives revere this plant and it's importance to them is much deeper than a mere medicinal effect for relaxation. Kava was used by eclectic physicians and physiomedical doctors practicing in the middle of the 19th century in North America as a genitourinary sedative and for pain associated with gonorrhea and other STD's. The native people of Oceania shared these uses as well as it's use as a topical antiseptic and oral anesthetic, and to relieve the muscular pain from asthma and T.B. as well as whooping cough, headaches, stomach ache, and tooth pain.
Kava is a mild sedative that relaxes the mind, clarifies thoughts and induces mild euphoria. Kava is frequently combined with St. Johnswort to treat anxiety and depression.