COMPLIMENTARY AND ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE: A SYSTEMATIC REVIEW OF THE EFFECTS OF KAVA ON ANXIETY

Open Access
Author:
Mancini, Helena Marie
Area of Honors:
Nursing
Degree:
Bachelor of Science
Document Type:
Thesis
Thesis Supervisors:
  • Ying-Ling Jao, Thesis Supervisor
  • Lisa Ann Kitko, Honors Advisor
Keywords:
  • Kava
  • Alternative Medicine
  • Anxiety
  • Piper Methysticum
  • Anxiolytic
Abstract:
Many adults world-wide are afflicted by various anxiety disorders and currently there is a lack of emphasis on nonpharmacological interventions offered to help alleviate symptoms associated with their anxiety disorder. Current methods to treat anxiety disorders include benzodiazepines and antidepressants, however these medications produce severe side effects. There is a need to understand the effects of kava on anxiety disorders as popularity grows in the United States and beyond as bans are lifted in multiple countries and reports of liver toxicity are discredited. There is promising evidence from multiple well-designed clinical trials suggesting kava may be an effective treatment for anxiety related symptoms. Kava has been shown to be safe for short term therapeutic use at relatively low dose levels. Side effects have been reported as mild and well tolerated. Kava may be a potential treatment option for anxiety symptoms for those who prefer alternative and complementary medicine, however it is necessary further research to be conducted in order to identify safety and proper efficacy before implementation in clinical practice.