The Importance of Regional Kava Standards

For centuries, people have consumed kava for its relaxing and social effects and its cultural significance. It's crucial to understand that manufacturers don't create all kava products equally. Some may present potential health risks or cause difficulties with international trade if they don't align with specific quality standards.


Distinguishing Between Kava Varieties


One of the primary issues affecting kava quality is the variety of the plant. Two main types of kava are Noble and Non-Noble. Consumers often recognize non-noble kava varieties, such as Tudei kava or Two-Day kava.

Unlike Noble varieties, these Non-Noble varieties contain higher levels of flavokavains. Which are harmful and not fit for consumption as a drinking kava powder. The consumption of Non-Noble kava can lead to side effects such as nausea, drowsiness, and even liver damage.

The high kavalactone content in Non-Noble kava roots may seem appealing. The health risks and drawbacks associated with these varieties far outweigh any potential benefits. Contrastingly, consumers generally consider Noble kava safer and prefer it for regular consumption.

Consumer Tip:

When selecting kava, ensure you choose products made from Noble kava varieties. Non-Noble kava, often labeled as Tudei or Two-Day kava, can have harmful effects. Look for labels that mention the variety.


Processing and Preparation of Kava


Another significant aspect of kava quality is the processing and preparation methods. We can classify kava products into three main categories: fresh, dried, and instant. Producers pound or grate freshly harvested roots to make fresh kava and then mix it with water. Each method offers advantages and drawbacks regarding convenience, shelf life, potency, and safety.

After drying, producers grind these roots into a fine powder and combine them with water. On the other hand, manufacturers process dried kava to develop instant kava in a soluble form. Once prepared, you can seamlessly blend this substance with water or incorporate it into other desired liquids. Each method comes with its pros and cons of convenience, shelf life, potency, and safety.

Consumer Tip: When purchasing kava, consider the form that suits your needs best. If you prefer a traditional experience, opt for fresh kava. For longer shelf life and ease of use, choose dried kava. For convenience, instant kava is ideal but always check for added ingredients.


For detailed kava preparation instructions, refer to "How to make kava".


Kava in a bowl and spoon

Regional Kava Standards and Regulations


Various countries and regions have established their kava standards and regulations. To guarantee the safety and consistency of kava products. These measures ensure that kava maintains a uniform quality and safety level across different markets.

For instance, in 2020, the CA Commission sanctioned a regional standard for kava products. They specifically tailored this for use in the North America and South West Pacific region.

This standard mandates producers to make kava products exclusively from Noble varieties of the kava plant. It also prohibits the use of any additives or processing aids. The Tongan government introduced the Tongan Kava Quality Standard (TKQS) in 2018. Emphasizing the export of high-quality kava products.

The TKQS permits the use of three parts of the plant:

  • Roots (waka) 
  • Peeled rhizomes (lewena) 
  • Basal stump (kani)

Essential to note that producers must remove stems, leaves, and peelings (bark) from the final product. Manufacturers should never incorporate these in the preparation and production of the kava drink.

Consumer Tip: Verify that the kava products comply with regional standards, such as the CA Commission’s standard or the TKQS. Check labels for certifications or indications of compliance.

Global Perspective on Standards

We have covered the specifics of regional standards. Also the CA Commission’s standard for North America, South West Pacific, and the Tongan Kava Quality Standard (TKQS). We need to broaden our perspective to understand how these standards compare globally.

In this section, we explore how different continents and major kava-consuming countries have approached kava regulation and standardization. This comparison not only highlights the diverse approaches taken by various nations. But also sheds light on the global challenges and efforts in harmonizing kava quality and safety standards.

For instance, the European Union has its unique set of regulations concerning the import and sale of kava. Focusing heavily on consumer safety after historical health concerns. Pacific countries have cultural and safety standards for kava, a traditional drink in the region.

The United States follows a different regulatory path. They are emphasizing both the cultural significance and the need for scientific validation of safety and quality.

Our global perspective helps us understand the different levels of strictness in regulations. Factors ranging from cultural practices to health concerns influence these regulations. It also highlights the need for international dialogue and cooperation to establish standards. That can ensure safety, respect cultural values, and facilitate international trade in kava.

Consumer Tip:

Consumers from different countries, like the EU and the US, should make sure kava products follow local rules. This compliance demonstrates a commitment to safety. It also reflects a dedication to quality.

Noble Kava plant field

Challenges in Implementing Kava Standards


The formulation of regional kava standards is crucial for a multitude of reasons. Primarily, such standards can shield the public from exposure to potentially harmful substances or contaminants. Furthermore, these standards can pave the way for fair trade. Ensuring that kava products meet the diverse needs of consumers and regulatory bodies in various markets.

Not only can these standards foster local economies. Providing kava farmers and processors the means to produce high-quality products for global markets. They can also bridge cultural and regional divides.

However, harmonizing these standards across countries and grounding them in robust scientific evidence. Respecting cultural diversity remains a formidable challenge. Effective and efficient implementation demands rigorous monitoring, testing, certification, and education.

Consumer Tip: Stay updated on kava rules in your area to buy safe, good-quality products.


Kava's Effects and Medical Uses


Our team at Art of Kava routinely posts the testing results for our kava batches. Through these tests, users can verify our compliance with the aforementioned kava standards. Kava produces relaxant effects. Commonly described as heavy kava, heady kava, and balanced kava.

Many individuals, especially those grappling with stress or generalized anxiety disorders. Often turn to kava as a potential natural remedy. This information can guide consumers in choosing between different kava strains like MeloMelo (heavy) or Puariki (heady).

Consumer Tip: If using kava for relaxation or medical purposes, choose cultivars known for their specific effects. Such as MeloMelo for a heavier relaxant effect or Puariki for a headier experience. Always consult with a healthcare provider before using kava for medical purposes.



This article highlights the distinction between Noble and Non-Noble kava. Emphasizing the importance of regional and global standards. Ensuring kava quality, and underscores the role of consumer awareness in navigating the kava market. It calls for global cooperation to maintain the safety and cultural significance of kava. Reinforcing the need for informed choices in the evolving kava industry.

Back to blog