Generalized anxiety is a common medical ailment in North American society. This medical disorder can present with a range of symptoms. In severe cases, anxiety can be disabling and affect one’s life style.
For decades, the only treatment available for generalized anxiety has been pharmaceutical drugs. There are many drugs which have been used to treat anxiety, and while effective, drugs also possess adverse side effects. For this reason, many patients have been turning to alternative health care for managing their anxiety.
One of the products frequently consumed by individuals with anxiety is kava. Kava is easily available in most health food stores and estimates indicate that sell of this herbal extract brings in hundred of millions of dollars. The question remains, "is Kava effective for treating anxiety?"
Cochrane reviews recently published the results of twelve trials that looked at kava versus placebo in the management of anxiety. The study looked at the oral preparation of kava extract. Out of the 12 studies, results of 7 studies were compared and assessed using stringent clinical criteria.
Compared with a sugar pill, kava extract was more effective for symptomatic relief of anxiety. Even though the number of patients assessed was small, the results did show a mild to moderate improvement in patients treated with kava. Further, kava was also found to be safe and relatively free of side effects when treatment was conducted anywhere from 1-24 weeks.
So what does mean for the consumer who has anxiety?
For once at least, some herb appears to be effective in treating a medical ailment. Kava has been shown to be safe for short-term usage and it does relieve anxiety. What is not known so far is whether kava works in all people with anxiety. Kava is a lot cheaper than all currently available pharmaceutical medications. For the individual with anxiety, one should perhaps try out kava for at least 4-6 weeks to determine if it works. If kava makes no difference after a 2-month period, it is not going to work at all. Before doubling up on the dose, perhaps one should discuss this situation with a health care professional.