Does Kava Cause Liver Damage?
The American Herbal Pharmacopoeia (AHP) is proposing to develop an AHP Monograph and Therapeutic Compendium for kava (Piper methysticum). Prior to concerns about the potential for hepatotoxicity arose in the early 2000s, kava was one of the best selling herbal products in the market. It is uniquely effective as an anxiolytic. There are a variety of reasons that were proposed as to why such cases of hepatotoxicity were reported resulting in an almost complete ban of the botanical internationally. Some data and opinions suggest that the incorrect plant part or variety of kava was used, while other data and opinions suggest that any incidence of hepatotoxicity is at worst, idiosyncratic and very rare.
AHP is seeking financial sponsorship to address these issues comprehensively and t work with kava experts worldwide to develop a quality control Monograph and Therapeutic Compendium that will guide industry on how to maximize quality and minimize risk. The totality of data that is now available clearly demonstrates there is no risk of hepatotoxicity for the general population under normal conditions of use and that it is much safer than benzodiazepines and barbiturates, which many used kava to avoid. Kava may also have the potential in reducing the negative health consequences of the opioid epidemic facing the United States today. Many insurance carriers continue to either not provide product liability coverage for kava products, and misperceptions about its safety are widespread. Our goal is to create a review that can be used to address these concerns for manufacturers, health practitioners, regulators, consumers, and all other stakeholders involved in all aspects of kava.
We hope you will sincerely consider contributing to this important work so we may separate myth from reality in a manner that is based in both traditional and an authoritative review of the science and toxicology.
We encourage sponsors to press-release their support of the monograph at the time of sponsorship and again when the monograph is released. In addition, you would be able to include your sponsorship on your website, in presentations, and publications. If your material meets the standards established in the monograph, you would be able to promote your product as meeting AHP monograph standards, which will set it apart from not following any independent standard. More than anything your contribution will help create the most comprehensive and scientifically based standards and therapeutic of kava ever developed. Kava was and is an incredibly important plants, both for the traditional peoples of the South Pacific and for use in modern health care. Please join us by supporting the development of the AHP Kava Monograph and Therapeutic Compendium.
Roy Upton, President
American Herbal Pharmacopoeia