“Kava is like chamomile on steroids.”~ unknown.
I always stress out before we leave on a trip. This month we are leaving for two and one half months. First stop Cuba, then Mexico for a month, then to the states to visit family and check on our house.
Planning for an extended trip is exhausting. It takes months of planning to book Airbnbs, transportation, and flights. Then, there is the planning for our housesitters, bills to pay ahead, etc.
Kava to the rescue! When we were in Fiji last November, I wanted to go to a Kava ceremony. Instead, our Airbnb hosts brought the Kava ceremony to us. The Fijian house keeper took us to the market to pick out the best Kava roots and coconut husk cups.
Kava is a mildly narcotic drink made from mixing the powdered root of the pepper plant (piper methysticum) with water. it is known as yaqona or simply grog in Fiji. Most open-air markets in Fiji have stalls and stalls of the Kava root.
Maria, the housekeeper, knew exactly where to take us. She inspected and smelled the Kava roots, so she could take only the best to be ground into powder.
Then, her husband dipped the bag of powdered Kava into a bowl of water. He dipped and squeezed…dipped and squeezed straining the powerful Kava juice into the water until it looked kind of like a muddy pond after a heavy rain.
Kava has many benefits, but the downside is the taste. It reminds me of grainy mud. Ron drank a bowl, then I drank one. We weren’t sure what to expect, if anything, but one cup each left us feeling relaxed and a little tingly.
That evening Maria performed a Kava ceremony for us. The ceremony of drinking Kava is to the Fijians like the formal tea ceremony is to the Chinese and Japanese. Enjoyed on both important and social occasions, Kava is traditionally accompanied by a ceremonial atmosphere.
People of the Pacific Islands have used it for centuries as everything from a pain reliever to a ceremonial drink. Every evening, one can find small Kava stands in the neighborhoods where neighbors and friends partake in the ceremony.
Usually, everyone sits in a circle on the floor while a large bowl called a tanoa is placed in front of the leader. The Kava root is pounded and the pulp placed into a cloth sack, then mixed with water where it turns a brownish muddy color.
The leader, Maria, strained the liquid and filled a small coconut husk cup called a bilo to be presented and drunk in one shot by the chief guest, who must clap once before and after swigging the Kava. Then, the order of serving continues from the most important guest down the ranks in order of status.
After the first cup, I had a numb feeling around my mouth, lips and tongue and a sense of relaxation. After the fifth cup, I was hooked on Kava. It helped me relax without dulling my mental edge. WOW!
We brought a bag of powdered Kava home with us. Whenever I feel stressed, we have our tiny Kava ceremony and the stress melts away.
Here are some of the benefits of Kava:
Health Benefits of the Kava Kava Root
We are leaving in a week for Cuba and I heard the internet is really, really slow
( that is, when you can find it) thus, I won’t post anything when we are gone for the month of March. We fly from Havana to Mexico where we have a really cool AirB&B apartment for a month with fast wi-fi. Whoopie! Stay tuned for lots of April posts and try some Kava in the meantime.
How do you relieve stress?