It truly blows my mind, and casts doubt on the rest of an article, when I see anyone cite the 2002 FDA statement on kava and liver damage, and nothing thereafter. To say that has since been discredited would be an understatement. Last May a court overturned the German ban after years of legal-volleyball, yet kava's negative reputation has yet to be shed.
The only real liver-damage issues from that turn-of-the-century scare, after isolating all of the cases that arose from concomitant use of alcohol or other drugs, or pre-existing liver conditions, were a handful (4 or 6 total cases!) It is also my understanding that they all resulted from a single product - an acetone extract - produced by Schwabe. (Additionally, there may have been more parts of the plant used than just the underground organs, which can result in many other issues.)There has, to my knowledge, NEVER been a case of liver failure from drinking an aqueous extract of "noble" kavas. ["Noble" is the name used to designate the drinkable varieties, which are sterile, somatic cultivars that require vegetative propagation - cloning - to exist, as opposed to medicinal or wild varieties - some called tudei (or "two-day" kava, given the duration of the effects, truly unpleasant!) Vanuatu, a source for lots of kava, prohibits the export of anything but Noble types.]
It is highly encouraged for those who choose to write about kava, (and kratom) to do more than a cursory search for information on the subjects, as there are plenty of people who count on media for reliable information, hoping that they will do the research that "everyday Janes-and-Joes" do not have the time to undertake, and it would be a shame if they were to be led astray by dodgy reporting, to say the least. It is amazing what a stack of peer-reviewed articles can do for a subject!
That said, I find it curious that 2 alcohol bars, which serve a product WELL known to cause liver issues, are plugged at the end of the article. If alcohol was given the same scrutiny for its effects on the liver as kava is, one would be hard-pressed to find a single bar in operation in the US.
Thanks, and cheers!
(Disclosure: The writer of this comment is a kava bar owner and former Sociology Professor, having taught Drugs and Society and related courses.)
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