New Scientific Study Links Kava Kava to Liver Damage

A team of researchers from the University of Sydney, Australia published a study in the January 28, 2008 edition of the World Journal of Gastroenterology which supports earlier literature linking Kava to liver failure. The United State Food and Drug Administration (FDA) had issued a health warning for the risk of liver failure in 2002 but many health food, herbal remedy, and natural food stores have continued to sell the product in the U.S.A.
The new study entitled “Influence of kavain on hepatic ultrastructure” was an animal study in which rat livers that had been exposed to kava were examined with an electron microscope.
This study provides additional scientific evidence that will likely be used in personal injury and death lawsuits pending in the U.S. against the manufacturers and distributors of Kava products. This study also provides further evidence that could lead the FDA to issue additional warnings for Kava. It is not clear that the FDA has authority to order a drug recall for Kava because it is considered a food supplement under U.S. law. The FDA tried to do a drug recall for ephedra a few years ago and was reversed by the courts because ephedra was also classified as a food supplement
There have been a number of liver transplants and deaths associated with the use of Kava around the world.