Some studies into the effects of kava on the brain demonstrate that potentially, kava can benefit people who suffer from social anxiety and stress by calming them in a way similar to benzodiazepine medications such as Valium or Ativan, although we would never compare a natural dietary supplement’s effects to any prescription medication. While kavalactones (the class of active compounds in kava) reportedly affect the same pathways in the brain as Valium, kavalactones do not seem to impair your ability to think and reason clearly, nor do they make you drowsy if a small amount is taken. In clinical studies, about 70 to 210 mg of kava seem to be effective against social and general anxiety, while between 60-150 mg can help people overcome persistent insomnia. However, since one of the side effects of kava can be slight impairment of coordination and drowsiness at higher doses, we do recommend that you refrain from driving after taking kava in any form.
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