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5 Things You Need to Know About Making Kava Kava Tea

By Livestrong Contributor

A Calming Cup of Tea

Kava Kava is a plant native to Polynesia. The root is ground into a fine powder and used to make a relaxing tea. Kava Kava relaxes the muscles, aids sleep, helps to reduce stress and even makes people more sociable. In native cultures, Kava Kava tea is often shared before important government meetings, weddings or other sometimes stressful events to calm the nerves and reduce the chances of conflict.

A Cold Cup of Tea

The active ingredients in Kava Kava are destroyed at 140 degrees F, so when making Kava Kava tea, use a thermometer to ensure that the liquid does not reach temperatures above 120 degrees F to ensure the benefits of Kava Kava remain intact. You can make large batches of Kava Kava tea by placing the roots or root powder in a crock pot with your chosen liquid, turning it on to 120 degrees F or less and allowing it to steep for up to an hour.

Cream for Your Tea?

When learning how to make Kava Kava tea, you may find that using a fatty liquid base, such as coconut milk, soy milk or cow's milk will increase the rate of extraction and the strength of the tea. Additionally, many people find that it improves the taste and texture of the tea. While you can use water, you will need to steep the tea for a longer period of time.

The Perfect Brew

If you decide to heat your liquid base, add kava kava root powder to the heated liquid and cover. If making in milk, steep your tea for at least 30 minutes, or steep in water for 45 minutes. Once the tea has reached your desired strength, you can reheat; however, make sure it does not exceed 120 degrees F. If making cold kava kava tea, place the powder in a cold liquid and place in your refrigerator overnight for best results. Because kava kava root must be finely ground to steep properly, it is important that you use a fine strainer, such as a coffee filter or muslin to remove the powder before drinking.

Love Your Liver

Unfortunately, there are side effects of kava kava that you should be aware of. It is recommended that you drink no more than two to three cups of Kava Kava tea each week, as it can potentially harm the liver. Additionally, if you are taking medications that may be harmful to the liver, such as acetaminophen, Lipitor or cholesterol medications, Kava Kava should be avoided. When in doubt about your medications, speak to your doctor.

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