Kava Kava

“Here is ‘awa from me, Awini,
A fisherman am I
Of the inaccessible cliffs
Of greater Laupahoehoe and lesser Laupahoehoe,
A plant set out by Kane and Kanaloa,
My gods of the heavens above and the heavens below,
The ‘awa popolo of Kane, that existed above,
Grew above, leafed above, ripened above.”

Chant used when `awa was offered to the gods (Ka Leo o Hawaii, 1894)

Kava (Piper methysticum FORST.)

“An indigenous shrub several feet high, leaves cordate, acuminate, with very short axillary spikes of flowers, stem dichotomous, spotted. The natives prepare a fermented liquor from the upper portion of the rhizome and base of the stems; it is narcotic and stimulant and is drunk before important religious rites. The root of the plant chewed and mixed with the saliva, gives a hot intoxicating juice; it is mixed with pure water or the water of the coco-nut.”


“The FDA Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition (CFSAN) notified healthcare professionals and consumers of the potential risk of severe liver injury associated with the use of kava-containing dietary supplements.”

March 26, 2002

“It was seized by Makali’i and hung on high.
The rat ascended and chewed the rope that held it.”