The name kava is derived from words throughout the Pacific which mean bitter, sour, potent and acrid. With that in mind, the flavour, somewhat earthy and peppery, may not be to everyone’s liking and may be an acquired taste. It is also advised to consume kava on an empty stomach as it may bring on nausea on a full stomach. You should never combine kava with alcohol.
When the kava hits your lips, you may feel a tingly numbing sensation - this is normal. That is then followed by a general sense of well-being and calm, which is why some people find it beneficial for treating anxiety. Leaving a good 15 minutes between serves (250 ml) will allow you to judge the effects of the drink - the effects will sneak up on you. Sensible amounts of kava are considered safe. People under the influence of this sedative drink will become sensitive to light so stay away from bright lights. Driving after drinking kava is not advised.
It is possible that kava will react to some medications, so you should seek medical advice before consuming kava if taking medication. In addition, extended and habitual consumption of kava, especially ignoble varieties, may lead to health issues.