Kava Vs Ashwagandha

Everything You Need to Know About Kava Vs Ashwagandha

Kava and ashwagandha are two popular herbal supplements sometimes lumped together in conversation. This is likely because their effects can be similar. People turn to these two botanical powerhouses hoping to:

  • Find relaxation
  • Reduce signs of everyday stress
  • Promote falling asleep faster
  • And to just feel better.

Both have great potential to help…but which herb is best for your wellness? Where do kava and ashwagandha come from? Are they safe to take? How can you use them to reduce stress? And importantly, how can you find high-quality kava and ashwagandha that you can trust?

Because we at Kats Botanicals are respected leaders in botanical wellness, we’re here to help you sort out the hype and better understand these gifts of nature.

What Is Kava?

Kava comes from a shrub called Piper methysticum, which grows in the South Pacific islands. Kava has been used for centuries in traditional practices to bring about relaxation and social unity. Travelers noted how calm and jovial people would be at ceremonies and social gatherings where kava took center stage, and that sparked a wave of interest that spread to the West.

Today, kava is exported from Fiji, Tonga, and other South Pacific islands as a dietary supplement. Sometimes called kava kava, grog, or ‘awa, this botanical herb has long been trusted as a natural calming agent.

Kava may be used in a variety of social settings thanks to the fact that kava is known to manage stress and support relaxation without lasting negative impacts. Kava may help support other herbal remedies resulting in a natural combination for social relaxation and calm!

Read our complete guide to kava drops here.

Benefits of Kava

When used mindfully, kava can be a helpful way to enhance your positive vibe when you need it. Via kava’s active ingredients, called kavalactones, users report feeling relaxed and more socially at ease.

How Does Kava Work?

The active compounds in kava are what give us that calm feeling. Kava is thought to produce a calming effect by enhancing the effects of gamma-aminobutyric acid, or GABA, a neurotransmitter in the brain.

There are six main types of major kavalactones found in kava:

  • Desmethoxyyangonin
  • Dihydrokavain
  • Yangonin
  • Kavain
  • Dihydromethysticin
  • Methysticin

Kava is consumed in a variety of ways, most notably as a “tea” solution. Kava tea is a drink made from the root powders of kava mixed with water and/or coconut milk. The roots are dried and ground up to make the kava powders, which are used for more than just teas. They also pack well into capsules or tablets for easy and convenient consumption. Kavalactone extracts can also be produced with adequate lab equipment.

Check out our guide titled, “How long does it take for Kava to kick in?”
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Learn More About Kava: Noble Kava & Comparing Kava vs Kratom

Note: Kava is generally considered safe but is not approved for medical treatment of anxiety disorders by the Food and Drug Administration. Statements of efficacy to treat anxiety or stress are not evaluated by the FDA. Discuss kava’s use (along with any other herbal supplements you may take) with your healthcare professional.

What Is Ashwagandha?

Ashwagandha, or Withania somnifera, also comes from a botanical shrub. But this one is harvested across the globe in India. Also called “Indian Winter Cherry” or “Indian Ginseng,” this botanical is thought to work by helping the body’s natural resilience to stress in part by reducing cortisol levels.

A star in Ayurvedic medicine, ashwagandha is rapidly gaining popularity in the West as a powerful homeopathic adaptogen and potential natural remedy for stress.

Potential Benefits of Ashwagandha

The active ingredients in ashwagandha are withanolides, among other less influential compounds. Today, ashwagandha is taken as a dietary supplement, or found in herbal blends that target anxiety relief. Some stress-relief teas also contain ashwagandha.

Learn More: What Is Ashwagandha?

Note: If you plan to take ashwagandha to help with some form of anxiety, you may want to talk with your medical professional first. Studies have shown that ashwagandha does have health applications, but it still is not an FDA-approved option. Although ashwagandha is generally considered safe, it’s best to consult with a healthcare professional before use.

Kava and Ashwagandha for Stress

If we were to call these two botanicals distant cousins – then the kava cousin is the fun one. The life-of-the-party cousin. The one you want to take along with you when you want to relax and enjoy yourself. Kava is the experience you seek when you need to unwind.

Ashwagandha is the steady cousin. The one who is there for you during elevated times of stress. The one who shows up with ice cream and keeps you company until you’re feeling better.

Do you see how both of these situations are different ways of combating stress and anxiety? As you likely already know, reducing stress sometimes takes a multi-faceted approach. Knowing when to use each of these botanicals, and how they make you feel, can open up a whole new world of relaxation when you need it.

Mindful use of botanicals works this way – get to know the “personality” of a botanical, how to use it wisely and safely, and then incorporate it into your life where you most need it.

When stress becomes unmanageable and you need that botanical support, remember to do your other stress-busting support activities to complete a well-rounded approach to reducing stress levels:

  • Practice self-care
  • Seek out your support system
  • Drink plenty of water
  • Get plenty of rest and quality sleep

Key Differences Between Kava and Ashwagandha

Let’s say you’ve discussed both kava and ashwagandha with your doctor, and you’ve gotten the green light – now what? How do you decide which one of them you should take? It turns out, the answers for which one is right for you may be in the subtle differences that affect your experience with these two herbs.

The following key differences further round out our understanding of kava vs ashwagandha.

Different Active Ingredients

We previously mentioned the kavalactones responsible for the effects of kava, and the withanolides in ashwagandha. These are the main active ingredients, but there are others in both plants; minor compounds, alkaloids, and flavonoids that influence their taste and efficacy.

Some botanical products provide a wider plant profile in their products by including major and minor compounds. Botanically speaking, this is thought to be more effective. But if you prefer to zero in on just those main active compounds, opt for the extracts that single these out for you.

Kava and Ashwagandha Taste Different

You’re far more likely to enjoy your experience with an herb if the flavor essence pleases you. Both kava and ashwagandha supplements may have a bitter or earthy flavor.

Ashwagandha is described more as a “musky” earthy flavor. Kava is often described as “muddy” or “spicy.” That spicy tang in kava is likely due to the types of kavalactones in the product. This can vary from region to region where the kava is grown. Some even say it makes their lips tingle.

If you do not enjoy the earthiness of either herb, both come in capsule or even potent extract forms. Refer to package labeling to determine how many mg per day you should take of that particular herbal product.

Learn more: Want to know how Kats Botanicals tests all their herbal supplements to rule out potential pathogens or harmful chemicals? Kats Botanicals shows 100% transparency about all their testing procedures to ensure your safety and trust. You can even scan a barcode on your product to see your product’s test results!

How They Make You Feel

We know that both kava and ashwagandha pass the blood-brain barrier, making their effects notable. Each botanical offers a unique experience, and each of us may respond a little differently.

Discover which herb just gets you:

  • Chat up other wellness seekers who have tried them both. Ask them to share their experiences with you.
  • Try each of the herbs individually and mindfully note how each of them makes you feel.
  • Don’t be afraid to try different forms – teas can be good in a social setting, capsules if you are on the go, and both ashwagandha and kava extracts are potent and versatile.

Which One Is Right for You?

Because each of these botanical substances work differently on the body they may help to alleviate tension in different ways. Again, trying them for yourself and making mindful observations is the best way to determine which works best with your body.

Different forms also affect your experience. For kava, there are mixes like Kats Kava Blend or Fiji Kava to make kava tea at home, or you could try going to a kava bar for the full experience.

Secret Tip: Try brewing a cup of the best kava coffee for the ultimate morning ritual!

How to Consume Kava and Ashwagandha

Often ashwagandha is taken as a daily supplement for a few months or less to help curb stress. Kava is more used as desired or as a drink to elevate social experiences. Both seem to be less effective if taken too much or for long periods.

You may find products that contain both kava and ashwagandha since they seem to partner well and serve similar health and wellness purposes. Though taking them together is considered generally safe, it is best to consult a healthcare professional to be sure you can take them independently, together, or with any other medications or supplements you may be taking.

A quick note on making your kava and ashwagandha supplements more quickly bioavailable:

  • Liquid forms often work more quickly
  • Kava works better on an empty stomach
  • Ashwagandha can be taken with or without food
  • The more potent and pure your substance the better it will work

What’s the Recommended Dosage?

How many mg of ashwagandha or kava should you take a day? Per serving? The correct dosage of ashwagandha and kava is highly dependent on the type of product you plan to use.

If you purchase a multi-serving product, you may need to calculate a one-time dosage, (kind of like you have to do when you use CBD drops). Follow the manufacturer’s stipulations on how many doses you can take in a day, and how much makes up one serving.

Start out with a lesser serving the first time you take it and mindfully adjust your dosage as you get to know how they make you feel. Both are recommended to use in moderation.

Curious about Kratom dosage? Check out our complete guide for everything you need to know about the best Kratom for sale!

The Kats Botanicals Difference

Both kava and ashwagandha are legal to purchase in the US. But where should you buy these supplements? The answer is to trust the best in botanical wellness – Kats Botanicals.

We take the stress out of your botanical shopping by ensuring high-quality, pure, and potent options for your nature-supported life. We offer a variety of supportive supplements, like CBD, kratom, kava, and Moringa to improve your wellness journey.

To help you learn more about these gifts of nature, we also provide a comprehensive guide to all things natural wellness. Visit the Kats Guidebook to learn more about how our botanicals can help you!

Written By Staff

The staff writers for Kats Botanicals have been researching and writing about Kratom products for more than 5 years, and have a combined experience of over 35 years of writing in the healthcare and supplement industry. The team has a keen understanding of the topic, remain current on all FDA and industry news, and use their expertise to generate engaging and informative content to help educate consumers on Kats Botanicals’ products. Each article is fact-checked and includes sources to scientific data to ensure readers receive the most up-to-date and accurate information possible.

Reviewed By Justin Kats

Justin Kats, founder of Kats Botanicals reviews and approves all content before releasing it for posting on the Kats Botanical website. Justin has been a tireless advocate for the benefits of Kratom since 2012. As a champion for botanical therapy, Justin created a Facebook group where more than 12,000 people discuss botanicals, and Kratom. He has also assisted more than 80,000 customers since the inception of his business and works directly with a single source farmer to ensure the purity of the products he sells. He also performs rigorous lab testing because he understands what it takes to get a high-quality and safe product to market.

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Kava Vs Ashwagandha