From Kurzweil AI:
A world-first completed clinical study by an Australian team has found Kava, a medicinal South Pacific plant, significantly reduced the symptoms of people suffering anxiety. The study, led by the University of Melbourne, revealed Kava could be an alternative to pharmaceutical products for the hundreds of thousands of Australians who suffer from generalized anxiety disorders (GAD) “In this study we’ve been able to show that Kava offers a potential natural alternative for the treatment of chronic clinical anxiety; unlike some other options, it has less risk of dependency and less potential for side effects,” said lead researcher, Dr Jerome Sarris from Department of Psychiatry at the University of Melbourne. The study also found that people’s genetic differences (polymorphisms) of certain neurobiological mechanisms called GABA transporters may modify their response to Kava. “If this finding is replicated, it may pave the way for simple genetic tests to determine which people may be likely to have a beneficial anxiety-reducing effect from taking Kava,” Sarris said.
An additional novel finding of the study, recently published in Phytotherapy Research, was that Kava increased women’s sex drive compared to those in the placebo group, believed to be due to the reduction of anxiety, rather than any aphrodisiac effect. Future studies confirming the genetic relationship to therapeutic response, and any libido-improving effects from Kava is now required. Dr Sarris said these significant findings are of importance to sufferers of anxiety and to the South Pacific region, which relies on Kava as a major export.