Kava is consumed all over the West Pacific Islands and can be prepared in any number of ways but it’s best to drink it prepared from the fresh root rather than dried. It’s non-addictive, tastes terrible and is a lot of fun.
Kava relaxes your muscles, makes you quite talkative and can give you a feeling of mild euphoria. Then, if you eat a while after taking it, the effects can kick in again!
Kava is given out to the military in Fiji to promote concentration and is often used by musicians and public speakers to give them focus and calm before performing.
There have been some scares in the rest of the world about liver toxicity but it seems this is due to large scale commercial production which used the whole plant where some toxins can indeed induce liver failure. No one in the Western Pacific has ever suffered from this though so you won’t have any problems if you go to the source.
You could even check out the Hawaian Kava Festival in the autumn.