In early 2002, The US Food And Drug Administration (FDA) began advising consumers of the potential risk of severe liver injury associated with the use of kava-containing dietary supplements. Kava (Piper methysticum) is a plant indigenous to the South Pacific Islands, where it is commonly used to prepare a traditional beverage for social and recreational purposes. Dietary supplements containing the herbal ingredient kava are promoted for relaxation to relieve stress, anxiety, and tension, as well as for sleeplessness and menopausal symptoms. Kava-containing products have been associated with rare liver injuries in Western countries, and the FDA urged consumers and health care professionals to report any case of liver injury that may be related to the use of kava-containing dietary supplements. The FDA also announced its intention to further investigate the relationship, if any, between the use of dietary supplements containing kava and liver injury, which included attempting to determine a biological explanation for the relationship and to identify the different sources of kava in the United States and Europe.
Flavokawain B, a kava chalcone, induces apoptosis via up-regulation of death-receptor 5 and Bim expression in androgen receptor negative, hormonal refractory prostate cancer cell lines and reduces tumor growth
Limited success has been achieved in extending the survival of patients with metastatic and hormone-refractory prostate cancer (HRPC). There is a strong need for novel agents in the treatment and prevention of HRPC. We have shown that flavokawain B (FKB), a kava chalcone, is about 4- to 12-fold more effective in reducing the cell viabilities of androgen receptor (AR)-negative, HRPC cell lines DU145 and PC-3 than AR-positive, hormone-sensitive prostate cancer cell lines LAPC4 and LNCaP, with minimal effect on normal prostatic epithelial and stromal cells. FKB induces apoptosis with an associated increased expression of proapoptotic proteins: death receptor-5, Bim and Puma and a decreased expression of inhibitors of apoptosis protein: XIAP and survivin. Among them, Bim expression was significantly induced by FKB as early as 4 hr of the treatment. Knockdown of Bim expression by short-hairpin RNAs attenuates the inhibitory effect on anchorage-dependent and – independent growth and caspase cleavages induced by FKB.
MauiKava.com has updated their shopping cart to conform to new book, Hawaiian ‘Awa Views of an Ethnobotanical Treasure (Edited by Ed Johnston and Helen Rogers), ‘Awa Cultivar naming conventions.
Uka Kava, the Hilo Hawaii based parent company of MauiKava.com, sells 16 different cultivars in season of which 6 Hawaiian type required name changes to be consistent with the new publication which is the definitive guide.
Edited by Ed Johnston and Helen Rogers. This is the definitive guide to the cultural-historical, ingredients, chemistry, cultivars, preparation, production and integrated pest management for ‘Awa (kava kava or Piper methysticum) has been published by the Association for Hawaiian ‘Ava. This is an indispensable resource to anyone interested in the topic.
RESEARCHERS who discovered that kava is a cure for two types of cancer should convince Europe to lift its ban, says Agriculture Minister Ilaitia Tuisese. He was commenting on the research findings of the University of Aberdeen in Scotland and the Laboratoire de Biologie Moleculaire du Cancer, a medical school in Luxembourgh which found that kava compounds inhibit the activation of a nuclear factor important in the production of cancer cells.
“It’s good news but there’s a ban in the European market and right now we can’t look forward to speeding up on the yaqona (kava) production,” Mr Tuisese said.
“Perhaps they (researchers) can help us convince the European market and assist in lifting the ban. The latest findings confirm what people have been saying all along that kava was not harmful to health.”
AS pressure mounts on European and other countries to lift the ban placed on kava imports, the experts and producers of kava around the Pacific are joining forces to publicise the benefits of this age-old root plant to offset any negativity. Holding the helm of this counter-publicity drive in Fiji are the University of South Pacific Professor of Organic Chemistry Subramaniam Sotheeswaran and Kadavu chief Ratu Josateki Nawalowalo.
“In a recent study in collaboration with the organic chemists at the USP, the Saitama Cancer Centre Research Institute in Japan, has shown that kava may have promising anti cancer activity paralleling the anti-cancer activity of green tea,” Prof Sotheeswaran told the Sunday Times.
A study into the kava industry has found that there was no basis for the market recalls or restriction on kava by health agencies in Europe in 2001, a move that soon crippled Pacific Island kava exports to Europe and other major overseas markets.
By Kevin Dayton
Advertiser Big Island Bureau
HILO, Hawai’i — A team of University of Hawai’i scientists may have solved the mystery of why some Europeans who used products containing kava extract suffered severe liver damage, prompting a number of nations to ban sales of the herbal supplement.
The culprit may be a compound found in the stem peelings and leaves of the kava plant — known in Hawai’i as ‘awa — but not in the roots that are used to make the traditional kava drink consumed by Pacific Islanders.
Just to be safe, people should avoid tea or anything else made from the leaves or stems of the plant, according to C.S. Tang, professor of molecular biosciences and biosystems engineering at UH-Manoa.
Bans in Singapore, Germany, Canada, the United Kingdom and elsewhere wiped out pharmaceutical sales of kava and virtually destroyed it as an export crop in Hawai’i. While kava supplements are not banned in the United States, the Food and Drug Administration issued an advisory in March 2002 warning of the potential risk of severe liver injury from dietary supplements containing kava.
The health alarms left farmers in Hamakua and elsewhere with crops that were hardly worth harvesting.