Throughout history, many civilizations have developed their medicine and some form of pharmacy using the natural resources at their disposal. Thus, each nation had its potions for curing, magical or ritual rites. Some of them have survived in the modern world. Those gaining worldwide popularity are Kava and Kratom.
These are coffee-like drinks, yet different enough to have their own drinking culture and bars. If you decide to try one or both of these, it’s important not to confuse them. These drinks have some similarities, but they’re worlds apart by some parameters. So you should check their full comparison before determining which one will work for you.
Most people wouldn’t spot the differences between Kava and Kratom plants at first glance. But, the first comes from the pepper family, while the second is coffee-related. Yet only when they saw their powdered form would they know what was what. Kava is brownish yellow, while Kratom has a more greenish hue.
It comes from Southeast Asia, while Kava originates from the West Pacific Islands. That is why these two plants also differ in the traditional way of preparation. Kava was used to making a drink for various rituals. Kratom was chewed, mostly for therapeutic purposes, although natives often used it as a mood enhancer.
Kava and Kratom have both similarities and differences in how they are used. Both products come from the roots, so they can be made as powders, extracts, and pills. Also, both plants contain the active compound that promotes dopamine release. That leads to a calming effect. Small doses trigger slight euphoric effects, while larger (controlled) amounts can ease pain, anxiety, and stress.
Kava is known for its relaxing effects and can improve moods. It acts as a conventional antidepressant but with a lower addiction risk. On the other hand, Kratom is more like a natural painkiller and sedative. Also, many people use it to treat withdrawal symptoms from opioid addiction.
Both substances work by attaching to dopamine receptors in the brain, a key part of the nervous system. But, despite the similarity in these stimulants, the differences between them are quite clear. Compared to Kratom, Kava has a more positive effect on the brain. It acts on the GABA receptors in the nervous system and tell the brain to feel happy. On the other hand, Kratom targets opioid receptors in the body, which trigger pain relief and physical relaxation.
Dangers and Side Effects
Many people have found relief from the withdrawal symptoms caused by opiate use after using Kava and Kratom. The latter is a mild stimulant in lower doses and a sedative in higher doses. The first-mentioned is an anti-craving agent. It will likely prevent withdrawal from alcohol, nicotine, and even drugs. Also, this substance doesn’t cause dependence, making it safe for use in addiction treatments.
But neither of these stimulants is risk-free. The latter one is more addictive than some illicit substances. The withdrawal symptoms are very similar to those from alcohol, sedatives, and painkillers. They may include fever, tremors, hot flashes, sweating, and depression. You can avoid them by limiting the daily intake of Kratom to 25 grams of powder a day.
Kava’s risks of addiction and withdrawal are very low, but that doesn’t mean you can have it in unlimited amounts. Eventually, excess use of this drink can cause physical or psychological dependence. While this withdrawal is not common, it’s worth noting that Kava can cause some health issues. For example, some people report headaches, seizures, and anxiety. Luckily, you can easily avoid these side effects with a controled intake of this stimulant.
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As for legality, the status of neither of these two plants is completely clear. Still, Kava seems to have an advantage, as it is legal to use worldwide as a dietary supplement, while that’s not the case with Kratom. Due to the high risk of creating dependence, this stimulant is illegal in dozens of countries, including Australia, some EU countries, Malaysia, etc.
Kava is the subject of numerous studies that increasingly show its health benefits and safety of (controlled) use. It’s a legal dietary supplement sold in bars and stores worldwide. But Kratom market is limited. Some countries, such as Malaysia, even criminalize it, punishing users with heavy fines and even imprisonment.
On the following page, you can find some buying guidelines on these dietary supplements:
Both plants are most often found on the market in powdered form. Kratom is best used by stirring a spoonful of powder in water and drinking it ex. Also, if you come across fresh leaves, you can chew them to experience the most beneficial effects.
On the other hand, you can consume Kava as a drink or an addition to other beverages. You can drink it slowly as if you were drinking regular coffee or tea. There are specialized bars around the world serving these drinks in different ways. Most users testify that it tastes better than Kratom tea.
Both plants have their pill form, which contains the already mentioned powder. That can confuse users, as you usually find these supplements on store shelves side by side. However, it is important to know the essential differences between Kava and Kratom due to dosing and reducing the risk of side effects.
Can You Mix Kava and Kratom?
You can sometimes combine Kava and Kratom for enhanced effects. While they can differ in some actions, these two substances provide many benefits when used together. They work together to increase the intensity of their effects.
When combined, these two herbs can help you get rid of pain and improve mental clarity. Just be sure to take the combination slowly. You don’t want to overwhelm your system with stimulants or cause negative reactions that might affect your health.
If you plan to try Kava or Kratom, it’s probably best to discuss their usage with your doctor. Make sure you’re aware of both benefits and dangers of these products. Follow expert advice and don’t overdo the consumption.