Best Kava Kava Tea & Extracts for Anxiety and Better Sleep

by sleep supplements

You have probably heard some talk about this newly discovered natural remedy called Kava Kava flying around.

You may have also decided that it must be one of the many health fads which seem to endlessly wax and wane in the Western media.

A new “miracle herb“ hits the market and the crafty bussinessmen of our day and age immediately cease the opportunity to make profit out of some obscure ancient plant while it is still all the rage.

But Kava might just be telling a completely different tale. Today, we take a closer look.

kava kava extract bottle

Here’s what we did to find out

  • We contacted experts (12 alternative health practitioners that use Kava teas and extracts to treat anxiety) to make a list of of teas and extracts they found to be working best
  • Each of the practitioners chose 1 tea and 1 extract brand they prefer
  • To confirm (or deny) their choices, we conducted a mini study of our own – we „recruited“ testers from forums dealing with anxiety and stress to try the supplement.
  • We sent out a 6-month supply to each of our 7 “testers” – that‘s a total of 90 bags/bottles of Kava tea and extract and asked them to keep a journal of the effects they felt

It took about 10 months to gather enough reliable information to make a judgement but we‘re finaly here.

Below are the results of this 10-month long mini study.

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Best Kava powder
*Wakacon KAVA WAKA powder*

Results reported

  • Anxiety relief 94% 94%
  • Stress aid 91% 91%
  • Overall wellness improvement 88% 88%

Overall Rating

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Best Kava Extract
*Kavana Root Veg capsules*

Kavana Kava extract

Results reported

  • Anxiety relief 91% 91%
  • Stress aid 88% 88%
  • Overall wellness improvement 90% 90%

Overall Rating

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Best Kava Tea
*Yogi Kava Stress Relief*

Image of a box of the best-rated kava tea - yogi stress relief

Results reported

  • Anxiety relief 90% 90%
  • Stress aid 82% 82%
  • Overall wellness improvement 80% 80%

Overall Rating

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Where to buy Kava

You can buy Kava online, you just have to make sure that you are getting your product from a relable vendor and that it contains the right amounts of kavalactone, which is the active ingredient.

There are a few reliable “spots” where you can buy quality Kava, but we recommend Amazon, since you can first read the experinces of other before choosing the brand and type that’s best for you.

Origins of Kava Kava

Kava Kava, or simply kava, is a crop which originated in the Western Pacific.

The herb has recently come to the attention of many westerners on the lookout for natural, safe solutions to the most prevalent modern lifestyle diseases, such as stress, anxiety, insomnia, depression and chronic fatigue.

The root of the crop in question has been used for its sedating, relaxing, anesthetic and even euphoria-inducing effects for centuries in regions like Micronesia and the islands of Hawaii.

kava kava extract bottle

What’s the active ingredient?

The active ingredient in the plant, which provides it with its calming qualities, is called kavalactone. It is traditionally extracted from the Kava Kava plant by grinding, pounding or chewing the root – the resulting product is then added to cold water and consumed immediately.

Many cultures across the Pacific drink the mixture in cultural, political and social events, where it assumes a ritualistic aspect – much like alcohol does in many of the Western clubs, pubs, bars and restaurants.

The difference is that Kava Kava crop eliminates most of the unpleasant and harmful effects of our favourite weekend beverages.

Introduction to the Western world

The good news is that the proponents of natural remedies on this side of the world have noticed the benefits of consuming the ancient crop and brought it over to some parts of the USA and Europe.

Kava Kava is now being successfully grown and enjoys a continuous rise in popularity.

Due to some modern technological innovations mixed in with the ancient wisdom of the native people, there is now a wide range of kava products on offer, beginning from regular powders and ending with kava-infused chewing gum.

kava kava two cups
kava in usa bar

Kava for Anxiety

For those of you who are plagued by the most prevalent of today‘s health issues – namely, anxiety and insomnia, but refuse to give up the fight and feel intrigued by the many possibilities that this ancient crop has to offer, the remaining text is like a handy beginner‘s guide to the growing Kava Kava market.

Lay down your sedatives and sleeping pills for a moment, read through the article, explore your options and you may soon find that you do not need to suffer the side effects of the modern meds any longer.

Initial studies show that Kava is no hoax

Lowers inhibitions

As we had already seen, there are many uses for the Kava Kava products (they can even be used as an aphrodisiac!), but the crop is best known for its anxiety-relieving and sleep-inducing effects.

It’s not called “the anti-shy plant‘” for nothing and the fact that it‘s potent in lowering human inhibitions is not a myth – there are more than twenty professional clinical studies available, which have proved that remedies containing kavalactone significantly reduce stress levels.

kava root in bowl

Helps with insomnia

The fact that they can be used for treating insomnia is well-known too.

Kava Kava is an excellent sleeping aid which rivals the effects of modern sleeping pills, as it does not put the user to sleep artificially – what it does is it calms the person down and leads him into a comfortable drowsy state, which in turn makes falling asleep naturally a great deal easier.

If you choose a kava product instead of a regular medicine, not only will you avoid the unpleasant side effects that many of the latter pills produce, but you will also be able to rest properly and get up in the morning feeling truly refreshed and ready to face new challenges of the day which is ahead of you.

Mixing some valerian into your nightly Kava Kava blend can make the experience even more satisfying and just as natural.

Best Kava for anxiety – types of Kava

Now that we have quickly gone over the history of the plant, as well as its various uses and effects, it is probably time to jump right into the many kava-based products on the modern market and explore their benefits and drawbacks.

Along with the original powdered kava root and fresh kava root, there are four other highly concentrated options – instant kava drink powders, kava root or kavalactone capsules, kavalactone pastes and kavalactone tinctures.

Three weaker alternatives for beginners who would like to test the product out or those of you who would prefer using it in smaller quantities – those are kava chewing gum, kava strips and kava tea.

We will look at all of these one by one in order to give you an idea on how to choose your preferred method of ingesting a dose of the excellent Kava Kava:

Kava powder

Powdered kava root allows for the traditional method of preparation, which means that you can partake of some of the original ritualistic feeling from thousands of years ago. That’ s not an exaggeration, as the plant and the rituals associated with its use date back as far as three centuries.

However, if you do choose this particular product, you have to keep in mind that making it fit for drinking takes some time, as it has to be left to steep for a while and be strained afterwards.

As we mentioned, according to our tests, the top-rated powder is Fijiaan Waka.

kava kava extract bottle
bag of top quality instant kava lateral root

Instant Kava

In order to get all of the benefits of the kava herb and avoid its bitter, unconventional taste, purchase some instant kava drink powders.

This option is still reminiscent of the original preparation method and is made using the actual plant matter, but there is no steeping or straining involved – all you have to do is mix the powder with water, milk or juice of your choice and it is ready to be consumed!

Just like with a regular coffee mix, you can drink it on the go before work or a social event and immediately enjoy the relaxing effects of Kava Kava. There are also a lot of different flavours for potential customers to choose from. According to our data, based on user reviews, our instant kava pick comes from Kona Kava Farms & Kava King.

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Where to buy Kava Instant drinks?

We can easily just point you to some of these brand’s websites (we’re not attached in any way to any of them), but we prefer not to.

Our advice on buying Kava would be to do your research with a trusted retailer (like Amazon), read what other people had to say and then kmake your choice.

Best way to make Kava

Look for a powder which contains a kava root extract – simple, unprocessed kava root will not work in this case. You should also avoid mixing it with hot water as kavalactones, the active ingredient of the herb, are destroyed at temperatures higher than 140 degrees Fahrenheit.

Once you have prepared your first drink, check it for any remaining residue – the absence of it is what defines a quality kava mix.

As the market and demand is growing, new luxurious ways to enjoy Kava drinks are introduced – like premium Kava containers or sampler packs.

bag of top quality instant kava lateral root
Kavana Kava capsules

Kava capsules

Kava root or kavalactone capsules are also a great option for those of you who are constantly in a rush or cannot tolerate the traditional Kava Kava taste.

The pills should also list a kava root extract as their main ingredient, along with the amount of kavalactones in each pill – the former is extremely important, as a dose which is too small will most likely fail to work.

The amount of 70 miligrams or more is needed in order to achieve a real state of relaxation, so we highly recommend looking for such products just to be on the safe side.

The capsules themselves might contain the extract in a powdered or liquid form. As we mention, the best capsules are Kavana Enhanched Formula.

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Where to buy Kava capsules?

Capsules are readily available through most Kava vendor’s websites.

But again, we reccomend going with a trusted online retailer that allows you to browse through reviews and see what capsules are the best.

Premium Kava paste

Another go-to solution for the busiest consumers out there is called kavalactone, or kava, paste. It is quite difficult to come by but, once you do, you are guaranteed to love it.

The paste comes in a semi-liquid form and contains Kava Kava extract.

There are different kavalactone blends, or lineups, on offer, as well as full-spectrum options. Currently, based on reviews and consultations with the practitioners we mentioned, our top pick is the 80% Kavalactone Extract Paste from AmazinBotanicals. It is as quick-acting as the top-qiuality Kava capsules or powder out there.

premium jar of kava paste

You can ingest a small amount of the paste before bed, as well as add it to your tea or even a kava brew to get an extra boost.

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Kavana Kava capsules

Kava for anxiety  – tincture

There are also some kavalactone tinctures hitting the market.

These highly-concentrated kava extracts may not be as popular, but you will not need to consume a lot of the product in order to enjoy the full effects of the plant – two large drops are enough.

You can choose a tincture with a kavalactone content of 6%, but there is also a 3% option, which is recommend for beginners.

Our pick is the Ecstatic Earth tincture.

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Kava chewing gum and strips

Kava chewing gum,or kava strips (or K-strips, as they are often called) are not nearly as strong as the options that we have explored above, but they offer the added benefit of being extremely convenient to consume.

These products are relatively new to the market and utilise the fact that kavalactones can be easily absorbed through our mucus membranes.

All you have to do is pop a piece of chewing gum or a K-strip into your mouth, chew it for a while or keep it under your tongue, and the goodness of Kava Kava will be released into your bloodstream in as little as a couple of minutes.

You can even add a kava strip to your favourite beverage, as long as it is not hotter than 140 degrees Fahrenheit. Both of these chewable options contain kava extract, but by choosing a flavoured variety, you will avoid the bitter taste of the herb completely.

Kava Tea

Kava tea comes at the end of the list because it’s mild compared to the above products.

The amount of kavalactones in this type of tea is much lower and it’s not as fast acting.

The opinions on Kava tea are split, there are those who praise it and ther eare people who way it’s nothing more than a gimmick.

In the research we talked about at the beginning of the guide we mentioned the Yogi tea as the top-rated Kava tea and 3rd best Kava supplement overall.


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Final thoughts

You can now comfortably say that you know pretty much everything there is to know about the various types of kava products on the market today, but you should also delve deeper into the concept of a kavalactone lineup if you want to call yourself a true expert.

There are six major groups of kavalactones and every of them works in a slightly different way.

The groups have difficult scientific names attached to them but, as a regular kava consumer is not a professional chemist, these have been replaced by numbers.

For example, ‘group 2‘ is known to be top Kava choice for anxiety, ‘group 4‘ tends to give you energy and ‘group 5‘ is a powerful sedative. Different strains of kava are characterised by different lineups, which usually contain three distinct groups. We listed it all, from the best tea to extracts, capsules, raw powders and micronized Kava.

This means that by choosing a certain lineup, you are choosing the effect that your kava product is going to have on you. As we are focusing on the plant‘s calming and sleep-inducing abilities here, you should naturally look for a lineup which contains the number ‘2‘ or ‘5‘, or both, in it.

Some of the most popular choices include such lineups as ‘4-2-6‘, as the energising quality of ‘group 4‘ tends to balance out the sedating effect. You should not be afraid to experiment when embarking on your personal kava journey – try a few different lineups and see which one of them is right for you.

Do you feel ready to mix your first kava brew?

Before you do that though, there are a few other things that you should keep in mind in order to enjoy the experience to the fullest.

When you’re purchasing a kava product, no matter which form it takes, make sure that the only part of the plant that goes into making it is the root, as the stem and the leaves of the Kava Kava herb are not fit for consumption and can actually be poisonous.

As long as you purchase your kava from a reliable and trustworthy vendor, it is completely safe. Overdosing on kava is practically impossible. If you feel your heart rate increasing after ingesting the product, do not worry – it is not a cause for concern and such a reaction is in fact quite natural.

It has also been reported that the kava herb can, allegedly, cause liver damage. You can rest assured knowing that the World Health Organisation took it upon themselves to put the claims to the test and ended up refuting them – pure, water-based, root-only Kava Kava extract has no connection to liver problems whatsoever.

The most well-known sellers of the product take great care in ensuring that the extracts which they use in the making of their remedies are always of the highest quality.

It might seem like it is good to be true, but countless lovers of Kava Kava claim that this ancient remedy can make a huge difference when it comes to insomnia, anxiety and other frequent ailments of today‘s perpetually-busy and endlessly-overstressed workers – and there are no side effects.

This humble herb is infused with century-old wisdom and breathes the spirit of simpler, slower, calmer times that may be in the past, but can still offer us some respite from the daily chaos of our hectic civilization.

As more and more countries officially recognise its surprising abilities to reduce stress and ease sleeplessness, it looks like Kava Kava is here to stay and we will be exposed to ever-increasing medicinal uses of this wonderful plant.


  • Bob Ozment

    Bob has been testing and writing about all things sleep (and especially blankets, air mattresses and folding beds), for 8+ years now. before that, he worked as a Quality Assurance Manager with one of the bigger names in the sleep industry. He holds a masters degree Statistics, Actuarial & Data Sciences from the central Michigan University at Mount Pleasant. He's one of the people who designs our producing testing and statistical models. He’s a stomach sleeper, but nobody’s perfect.