Kava Kava (Piperis methystici rhizoma)

Published June 1, 1990.
List of German Commission E Monographs (Phytotherapy)


Name of Drug

Piperis methystici rhizoma, kava kava rhizome (root).

Composition of Drug

Kava kava rhizome consists of the dried rhizomes of Piper methysticum G. Forster [Fam. Piperaceae], as well as their preparations in effective dosage.

The drug contains kava-pyrones (kawain).


Conditions of nervous anxiety, stress, and restlessness.


Pregnancy, nursing, endogenous depression.

Side Effects

None known.

Note: Extended continuous intake can cause a temporary yellow discoloration of skin, hair and nails. In this case, further application of this drug must be discontinued. In rare cases, allergic skin reactions can occur. Also, accommodative disturbances, such as enlargement of the pupils and disturbances of the oculomotor equilibrium, have been described.

Interactions with Other Drugs

Potentiation of effectiveness is possible for substances acting on the central nervous system, such as alcohol, barbiturates and psychopharmacological agents.


Unless otherwise prescribed:

Daily dosage:

Herb and preparations equivalent to 60 - 120 mg kava pyrones. Mode of Administration Comminuted rhizome and other galenical preparations for oral use.

Duration of Administration

Not more than 3 months without medical advice.

Note: Even when administered within its prescribed dosages, this herb may adversely affect motor reflexes and judgment for driving and/or operating heavy machinery.



In animal experiments a potentiation of narcosis (sedation), anticonvulsive, antispasmodic, and central muscular relaxant effects were described.