Safety concerns have long dogged the kava (Piper methysticum) market, but Applied Food Sciences (AFS; Austin, TX) has introduced a new kava extract that it says is produced with special concern for top safety issues surrounding kava production. Its new Kavoa kava extract is designed for the relaxation, stress relief, and sleep-support markets.
AFS told Nutritional Outlook it took several years to develop Kavoa, with the firm investigating the best methods for growing, harvesting, and processing the ingredient. That includes addressing some of the safety issues associated with kava, including use of incorrect chemotype cultivars, unstandardized harvesting practices, use of incorrect parts of the plant, inadequate manufacturing methods for producing standardized extracts, and a lack of scientifically validated methods of measurement of kava’s active components—kavalactones and chalcones.
“Working together with farmers, researchers, and agronomists, we wanted to promptly address these concerns—creating best practices to develop a better standard in kava,” said Chris Fields, vice president of scientific affairs for AFS, in the launch announcement. “From the farm level, to processing and extraction, we have implemented a six-point plan for the commercialization and sustainability of our kava supply to the nutrition market.”
AFS also recently adopted kava through the American Botanical Council’s (ABC; Austin, TX) Adopt-an-Herb program. Mark Blumenthal, founder and executive director of ABC, thanked AFS for its adoption of kava, noting it will “allow ABC to stay current with emerging research on kava’s benefits and new information that helps to clarify prior concerns about its relative safety.”
“Kava is an herb with a long ethnobotanical history in Polynesia, and it produces clinically documented anti-anxiety benefits,” Blumenthal said, in the Kavoa launch announcement. He added that ABC “also acknowledges AFS’s commitment to a robust supply-chain program that helps to ensure the sustainable harvest of the appropriate variety of kava for use in consumer products.”
Nutritional Outlook Magazine