The active compound of the kava or Piper methysticum is made up of a lipid-like substance known as kavalactone found on the roots and rootstocks. The preparation is done through masticate, pound or grind fresh rootstock that yields a greenish, milky potion. Traditionally it was masticated by virgin girls but now the generally pounded into soft pulp. The pulp is mixed with pure, cold water until the water has a muddy, opaque and almost yellowish appearance as graded by the shell. The potency of it is taken out from the result of a variety of Piper methysticum, the age of the plant and the dilution of the beverage during the preparation.
The kava drink has a psychoactive effect that comes from the friendly drugs that causes sociability and happiness and promotes a state of tranquility (calm) and encourages peace and a sense of community unlike alcohol, it does not invoke violent or aggressive behavior or cause hangovers, nor does it diminish mental clarity and memory. The excessive drinking of kava can result in medical problems such as limbs becoming tired; consumers partly seem inebriated and debate about the mental effects of consumptions. Even though the kava was traditionally used as a mood-enhancing drug, it also had been used as traditional medicine and there were hundreds of tonnes shipped out of the Pacific nations for further medical research. The Kava’s biological effects is due to a mixture of compounds called kava lactones which are reported to include sedative, anxiolytic, anti-stress, analgesic, local anaesthetic, anticonvulsant and neuroprotective properties. A skin disorder or dermopathy occurs with prolonged use of large amounts of kava and reversible on reduced intake or cessation. Heavy kava drinkers acquire a reversible ichthyosiform eruption, known as kanikani in Fijian.
The Piper methysticum shows some signs of activity against the diseases when tested on mammals like rats on bladder disorders, arthritis, urinary tract infection, anxiety and sleep disorders, gonorrhea, helps provoke menstrual abortions, leprosy, migraine, general weakness, chills, irritation of the respiratory tract and asthma and tuberculosis at the same time the side effect is adverse to consider. The kava may cause liver diseases known as liver cirrhosis if exposing to kava for a long time and symptoms of such is loss of appetite, unusual tiredness, stomach/abdominal pain, pale stool, dark urine, eyes becoming yellow. Also taking alcohol intake may increase the chances of having liver cirrhosis developing at the faster rate. Due to the medical conditions adverse effects on people consuming kava is intolerable and in the cases of liver injury/death allegedly linked to kava use in Europe Switzerland, Germany, and France leading the ban on kava, followed by a dozen of other countries. In the US the FDA issued an advisory on kava use Kava commerce collapsed since the ban because of the suspicious of kavalactones which were believed to be the constituent that caused hepatotoxic.