by Monique MeadowsRelease. Surrender. Relaxation. The central intoxicating ingredient in Kava Kava or Kava Root is Kavalactone. Kavalactone is a compound primarily found in the root of this relative of the pepper plant. The compound is understood to have effects on chemicals that transmit signals from nerve cells to other neurotransmitters in blood such as GABA, dopamine, and norepinephrine. As an example, the interaction of Kavalactone with the neurotransmitter GABA is known to birth the sleep-inducing and anti-anxiety sensations associated with Kava Kava consumption. Kava Kava is also known for its neuroprotective effects, which has been observed (in a small amount of studies) to be beneficial for degenerative diseases (such as Alzheimer’s) and nervous system conditions. It is clear that Kava Kava is a supreme homeopathic solution and alternative to prescription drugs for individuals with anxiety, insomnia, restlessness, and/or stress. Although Kava Kava is generally a safe and gentle herb, it is important to note that idiosyncratic and rare instances have occurred where Kava Kava has been linked to liver damage. Therefore, it is important to always consult your local herbalist when seeking to use Kava habitually.