Although scientific studies provide some evidence that kava may be beneficial for the management of anxiety, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has issued a warning that using kava supplements has been linked to a risk of severe liver damage.
Kava is not a proven therapy for other uses.
NCCAM-funded studies on kava were suspended after the FDA issued its warning.
Kava has been reported to cause liver damage, including hepatitis and liver failure (which can cause death). On August 21, 2002, Health Canada issued a stop-sale order for all products containing kava.
Kava has been associated with several cases of dystonia (abnormal muscle spasm or involuntary muscle movements). Kava may interact with several drugs, including drugs used for Parkinson's disease.
Long-term and/or heavy use of kava may result in scaly, yellowed skin.
Avoid driving and operating heavy machinery while taking kava because the herb has been reported to cause drowsiness.
Before taking any new medications, including natural health products, speak to your physician, pharmacist, or other health care provider. Tell your health care provider about any natural health products you may be taking.