Kava Dangers Confirmed

While there are no restrictions on the sale and distribution of kava in the United States, there is mounting evidence that the herbal supplement should be banned due to damage it causes to the liver. Now, new scientific evidence reveals the severe liver damage associated with the ingestion of kava kava. Professor Iqbal Ramzan, Dean of Pharmacy at the University of Sydney Australia has published his findings in the January 28, 2008 edition of the World Journal of Gastroenterology. Dr. Ramzan spent one year studying the cellular effects of kava on the liver. The University of Sydney study focused on the major kavalactone (the ingredient in kava believed to affect the liver) — kavain — and investigated the effects it had on the ultrastructure (or biological structure) of the liver. The study found that following kavain treatment the liver tissue displayed an overall change in structure, including the narrowing of blood vessels, the constriction of blood vessel passages and the retraction of the cellular lining.
Interestingly, kavain also adversely affected certain cells which function in the destruction of foreign antigens (such as bacteria and viruses), which make up part of the body’s immune system.
In other words, the kavain treatment disturbed the basic structure of the liver, consequently seriously impacting the normal functioning of the liver.
The results of the University of Sydney’s study clearly support earlier literature observations on kava’s adverse affects on the functioning of the liver in general.