Tuesday, Nov. 16, 2010


This powerful beverage is actually nonalcoholic, but it nevertheless produces euphoric, dreamy feelings, thanks to its potent base ingredient of Piper methysticum, or pepper-plant root. Kava is found largely in the South Pacific and has historically been used in village ceremonies, where it is imbibed during a feast. Kava is proffered for a number of reasons, whether it's a gathering of friends or a gathering before battle. The drink is known to ease anxiety but also cause numbness in the lips and tongue. Overuse of it has been linked to poor health among Australian Aborigines — as well as its more new-age consumers in Europe and the U.S., where one can buy everything from kava tea to kava candy.