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Kava is the dried root of a plant found on islands in the western Pacific Ocean. The roots are ground and steeped in water, which is then strained and served as a relaxing beverage.
Some scientists believe that kava significantly reduces some types of anxiety and depression with very few side effects. But its safety and effectiveness have not been thoroughly tested. Kava is best used with a doctor's advice and medical checkups, because kava may be linked to liver problems.
Last Revised: June 29, 2011
Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review: Adam Husney, MD - Family Medicine & Marc S. Micozzi, MD, PhD - Complementary and Alternative Medicine
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