Kava Kava

Kava kava is prepared from the fresh or dried rhizomes and rootstocks of a robust perennial shrub, Piper methysticum. This shrub possibly originated from Vanuatu. Seafaring Polynesians spread the shrub to Hawaii and throughout the South Pacific Islands. Kava kava (also called kava) is closely related to the black pepper plant.

The shrub grows best in warm humid conditions with lots of sunlight at an altitude of 500 to 1,000 feet above sea level. Kava kava, with its large heart-shaped leaves, can grow up to 10 feet high and can form dense thickets. A 3-year-old plant can produce a massive 20-pound rhizome with many roots. Depending upon the resin content, the rootstock color varies from white to yellow.
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