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Aqueous extracts from the root and rhizome of Piper methysticum (Piperaceae) have long been consumed as an intoxicating beverage by the peoples of Pacific islands comprising Polynesia, Melanesia and Micronesia, and the name kava or kava-kava referred to this drink. In herbal medicine, the dried root and rhizome is now described as kava, and it is used for the treatment of anxiety, nervous tension, agitation and insomnia. The pharmacological activity is associated with a group of styrylpyrone derivatives termed kavapyrones or kavalactones, good quality roots containing 5-8% kavapyrones. At least 18 kavapyrones have been characterized, the six major ones being the enolides kawain, methysticin, and their dihydro derivatives reduced in the cinnamoyl side-chain, and the dienolides yangonin and demethoxyyangonin (Figure 4.38). Compared with the dienolides, the enolides have a reduced pyrone ring and a chiral centre. Clinical trials have indicated kava extracts to be effective as an anxiolytic, the kavapyrones also displaying anticonvulsive, analgesic, and central muscle relaxing action. Several of these compounds have been shown to have an effect on neurotransmitter systems including those involving glutamate, GABA, dopamine, and serotonin.




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Anxiety and Depression 101

Anxiety and Depression 101

Everything you ever wanted to know about. We have been discussing depression and anxiety and how different information that is out on the market only seems to target one particular cure for these two common conditions that seem to walk hand in hand.

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