[Weighing the efficacy and safety of herbal medicine: the case of Kava-Kava].Harefuah. 2004 Aug; 143(8):592-7, 621.H
Kava-Kava is an indigenous plant in the Pacific islands and has been traditionally used for centuries for both ceremonial and social purposes. The efficacy of the plant for treatment of anxiety states was recently acknowledged in randomized controlled trials. Although these trials support the safety of Kava for short term usage, a major concern was raised in accordance with emerging reports that relate Kava use to major hepatic damage, including a few cases of fulminant hepatitis that required liver transplantation or ended in death. As a result, most medical authorities in the West restricted or banned Kava use. This review discusses evidence of efficacy and safety in the use of Kava for treating patients with anxiety, as well as its meaning in the therapeutic context and patient-doctor dialogue.