Kava, Kratom, and Kombucha… oh my!

In the past ten years, people have started to understand the power of plant medicine. With more and more states legalizing cannabis, it has brought attention to how plants can work with our bodies to heal. This is not a new thing. Plants have been used for thousands of years to help our bodies heal, but in modern day we have moved far away from what our ancestors used in medicine. Kava, kratom, and kombucha are no different. They have each been consumed in their native habitats for a millennia or longer.

Kava is a root from the South Pacific. Exotic and earthy, this beverage is still made in the traditional way of squeezing the root and drinking it out of coconut shells. The Hawaiians believed that awa (kava) connect them with the knowledge of kahunas (ancestors). It is a natural muscle relaxer, anti-anxiety, and has the reputation of being nature’s Xanax, without the side effects. Recently endorsed by the NFL, Kava has become quite famous in the last couple of years, and rightfully so, as it is safe and gives you a natural buzz without affecting your motor or cognitive skills. The kava smiles run deep, and you will feel like you never want to leave when you walk in a kava bar and feeling “rooted” for the first time.

Kratom is a tea leaf from Southeast Asia, from a plant in the coffee family, and has deep roots in Chinese and traditional South Asian medicines. Traditionally used by these cultures to treat anything from low libido to pain to depression to immune boosting, many believe this plant is a miracle plant with abilities to treat multiple ailments. If strained properly, this tea tastes similar to matcha green tea, slightly bitter, dark green, and quite refreshing when paired with a tropical fruit juice. In low doses this plant is energizing and mood boosting, and in high doses a sedative and pain relieving.

With the number one leading cause of death under 50 now being from opioid overdose in America, we are in a time of an of a new epidemic. Every seven minutes somebody dies from either a prescribed opioids such as oxycontin or an illegal opioid such as heritage heroin or fentanyl. Kratom is not an opioid, but it does have properties that mimic opioids, and more recently kratom has shown promising signs of being a treatment option for opioid addiction and withdrawal symptoms. In fact, thousands of people have already taken their fate into their own hands and have gotten off opioids and benzos with this plant alone. For more info on this please research American Kratom Association and their studies.

Kombucha is a fermented tea with its origins in China as far back as 221 BC . It is said to provide energy and aid and digestion. It is filled with live probiotics, and B vitamins that will put a pep in your step. Many regular drinkers say that it aids in joint pain and flexibility of arthritis as well. It decreases inflammation and is overall a great promoter of health and well being.

Overall, plant medicine is on the rise as people start to see that nature has always provided us with the answers to our ailments. This is not new. In fact, there is documented proof of our ancestors consuming these plants since as far back as history can be traced. So it is a great time that we live in where, as a society, we are getting back to our roots, and discovering the wonders of the plant medicine world. With very few side effects, many are interested in alternative possibilities to pharmaceuticals that in many cases cause more harm than good. It will be interesting to see what other plants join the high health fighter champions such as cannabis, kava, and kratom.

About Caroline Rusher

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