It has been a mainstay in the South Pacific for thousands of years. Now, stressed-out millennial New Yorkers are kissing goodbye to alcohol and gulping down a mildly narcotic drink to ease the pain of long hours and bottleneck commutes.
Kava – a root ground to powder, mixed with water and then strained – might taste like muddy water, but it is the mood enhancer taking the edge off for those struggling to cope with hectic modern life.
Effects include a mild numbing of the tongue and lips, relaxation, and euphoria – feelings in short supply in New York.
“If any city needs to relax a little bit and calm down, slow down, it is New York,” said Mr. Harding Stowe, the 31-year-old owner of Brooklyn Kava in the neighborhood of Bushwick.
An initial kava boom in the West in the 1990s fuelled low-quality exports, which – combined with little understanding of the plant – led to health concerns and prohibitions in Europe. That led to a bust.
But while the United States Food and Drug Administration warned in 2002 of a “rare” potential risk of severe liver injury associated with kava-containing products, kava is now seeing another boom, and exports from Fiji alone more than doubled from 2012 to 2016.
Read the full article in The New Paper