Friday, February 22, 2008

Kava Linked To Liver Damage, New Evidence Shows

ScienceDaily (Feb. 22, 2008) — Scientists have found new evidence, using innovative techniques, to support the growing body of literature that indicates kava may have a negative effect on the liver. Kava is a plant native to the South Pacific that has been used as a ceremonial beverage in the region for thousands of years, and, more recently, as a natural treatment for medical conditions such as anxiety. In recent years, serious concerns about the dangers of kava and the effects on the liver have resulted in regulatory agencies, such as the US Food and Drug Administration and Australia's Therapeutic Goods Administration, banning or restricting the sale of kava and kava products.

I would be interested in a comparison of the effects of kava on people from cultures who have been using it for many generations, compared with others, to see if those whose ancestors used it have evolved mechanisms that protect them. I suspect the reason humans are able to eat caffeine and related chemicals in ratios that would kill a dog or cat is due to our ancestors having chosen to use foods containing them, for their stimulant effects, and evolving metabolic mechanisms to protect themselves.

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