La merveille polynésienne appréciée des membres de la famille royale: à l'intérieur du «folie du kava» qui balaie l'Australi

La merveille polynésienne appréciée des membres de la famille royale: à l'intérieur du «folie du kava» qui balaie l'Australi

octobre 22, 2019 0 Par admin

Translating…

A traditional Fijian drink which has been enjoyed by royals is set to sweep Australia. 

Kava is a Polynesian drink made by grinding the roots of the kava plant into a bitter beverage.

Supporters claim the drink can cure insomnia, aches and anxiety – and now Brisbane company Fiji Kava is hoping to bring those perks to Australia.

Fiji Kava has created products such as capsules and teas out of Noble-kava extract, which can be bought online and in some health stores.

While visiting Fiji last year Prince Harry indulged in the traditional drink, just like his grandparents, the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh, who drank kava during an official visit to Fiji in October 1982.

Zane Yoshida and his team from Fiji Kava, based in Brisbane, are hoping to capatalise on its potential by creating a reputable product. Kava capsules are up to pharmaceutical standards

Harry at on a stage as he was given the whale’s tooth, a sign of wealth, in the vakasobu, before he were given kava, a drink made from a mashed plant root in the yaqona vakaturaga

Influencer Amy Castano (pictured) holds up one of the recently cultivated kava plants in Fiji

Kava has a depressant effect on the central nervous system and can slow down the messages travelling between the brain and the body. It has been tipped as a natural alternative medicine to treat anxiety, insomnia and stress

Kava has a depressant effect on the central nervous system and can slow down the messages travelling between the brain and the body. It has been tipped as a natural alternative medicine to treat anxiety, insomnia and stress. 

However, the earthy drink has been shrouded in controversy for decades. 

It was banned in a number of countries in 2002, including Australia, the UK, Canada and European nations over concerns it can cause liver problems.

During a visit to Suva in 1982 the Duke of Edinburgh also drank kava, just like that given to Prince Harry

The Queen was also pictured drinking the traditional Fijian drink on an official visit to Fiji in October 1982, more than a decade after it joined the Commonwealth 

During a visit to Suva in 1982 the Duke of Edinburgh also drank kava, just like that given to Prince Harry last year

However, the World Health Organisation released a report declaring kava to be a safe product in 2007. 

The Australian Health website states the forms of kava used traditionally by Pacific Islanders and by some aboriginal communities are not believed to be associated with the serious forms of liver damage. 

The plant was introduced to Australia in the 1980s by Pacific islander missionaries as an alternative to alcohol. 

On an isolated farm on one of Fiji’s many island’s is a business with the potential to boost Fiji’s economy tenfold

To get to the island travellers can take a winding bus ride four hours east of Nadi, before hopping on a 45 minute ferry to Levuka

It had to be restricted in the Northern Territory and Western Australia in the 1990s as it was being abused by being mixed with alcohol. 

These days people can possess up to two kilograms of the product but it is still illegal to import and sell in the Northern Territory, according to the Kava Management Act 1998. 

The root has seen a resurgence across the globe. Now there are more than 100 kava bars in the United States, which is up from around 30 in 2012, according to The New York Times.

Kava export has potential to be huge in Fiji, with an estimated $30.7million worth of the product exported last year alone. The bulk was sent to New Zealand, Hawaii and the United States.

Lush greenery stretches as far as the eye can see. The clear blue water stands out against the dense bush

And Zane Yoshida and his team from Fiji Kava, based in Brisbane, are hoping to capatalise on its potential by creating a reputable product.

On an isolated farm on one of Fiji’s many islands is a business with the potential to boost the country’s economy tenfold. 

To get to the island travellers can take a winding bus ride four hours east of Nadi, before hopping on a 45 minute ferry to Levuka.

The island is a far cry from the resorts Fiji is known for.

Hidden in the hills is the farm where Mr Yoshida and his team have been planting the Kava with the aim of cultivating the product ready to be turned into capsules and teas

The company opened its first tissue culture laboratory in Levuka last month which is expected to standardise the quality of kava produced in Fiji

Lush greenery stretches as far as the eye can see. The clear blue water stands out against the dense bush. 

There are no swimming pools here and you’d probably struggle to find a cocktail anywhere on the island. 

The island is filled with dilapidated houses and only a handful of businesses – but a resurgence has been promised thanks to kava’s potential as a major export product.

Hidden in the hills is the farm where Mr Yoshida and his team have been planting the Kava with the aim of cultivating the product ready to be turned into capsules and teas. 

‘The tissue lab will grow disease free plantlets as well as create exact copies of plants that have desirable traits, improving the quality and yield of kava’

Kava has a depressant effect on the central nervous system and can slow down the messages travelling between the brain and the body

As not all kava plants are created equal, the company has opened its first tissue culture laboratory in Levuka last month, which is expected to standardise the quality of kava produced in Fiji.

How not all kava plants are the same: 

Kava varieties can be broken down into three basic types:

• Noble kava

• Tudei (‘Two-days’) kava

• Wild kavas

Noble Kava is high standard, cultivated kava that can be exported in root or supplement form. It is free from toxins and impurities.

Tudei kava is a particularly potent strain. This strain is prohibited for international export, however, often makes its way onto the market. Tudei kava can damage the reputation of kava as it may cause nausea and other unpleasant side effects. It is so-called ‘two-day’ as the effects can last up to 48 hours.

Wild kava is another inferior variety grown in Papua New Guinea, the Solomon Islands, and Vanuatu. 

The plan is to create disease-free, good quality planting material.

‘This tissue culture facility is a further commitment from Fiji Kava Ltd to help ensure Fiji produce world-class disease-free kava and to meet burgeoning demand for kava from around the world. 

‘This investment is pioneering and will help standardise the quality of kava globally in the future.’

Mr Yoshida said Kava there had been an uptick in kava popularity in western markets, and tissue culture technology would help guarantee quality. 

‘Once  »clean » kava plants are established in the nursery, the growth of axillary buds can be accelerated to produce material from which tissue cultures can be established,’ Mr Yoshida said. 

‘The tissue lab will grow disease free plantlets as well as create exact copies of plants that have desirable traits, improving the quality and yield of kava. 

‘These plantlets are then provided to growers – more than 200 who are supported by Fiji Kava – helping them create a sustainable business model. 

Zane Yoshida and his team from Fiji Kava , based in Brisbane, are hoping to capatalise on its potential by creating a reputable product

The island is filled with dilapidated houses and only a handful of businesses – but a resurgence has been promised thanks to kava’s potential as a major export product

‘The lab is also an important part of the standardisation of desirable kavalactone profiles – the medicinal, anti-anxiety quality in kava – as Fiji Kava moves into clinical trials.’

Does kava cause liver problems? 

Researchers at the University of Queensland claimed the problematic products sold in Europe did not use kava extracts prepared in the traditional way of using the plant in the Pacific Islands.

Researchers also believed those products had been created using the wrong parts of the plant.

He said they saw tissue culture as a long-term solution for creating a sustainable and growing kava industry. 

He said that as legislation and regulations are developed and applied across the globe, the demand for the product looks set to increase. 

‘The growth in demand internationally for kava-based products is already huge, and there is still a wealth of untapped potential. Kava farmers of Fiji are poised to benefit immensely.’

‘This is why a standardised product is extremely important. Producing a consistently high-quality kava-based product is essential, and for this reason, we have undertaken extensive local research.’   

Celebrity personal trainer Jono Castano (pictured) holding a kava plant at the Fiji Kava farm in Levuka

The Fijian Government is hoping it will be an alternative industry to sugar

The Australian Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) established an expert committee in 2003 to review the safety of kava-containing medicines.

Since then, Kava has been available as a supplement sold in health stores in other parts of Australia.

However, there is a limit on the maximum amount of Piper methysticum permitted per dosage form.

For a tablet or a capsule, there is a limit of 125mg of kavalactones and for a tea bag, there is a limit of 3g of dried rhizome. 

In addition, all products containing Piper methysticum must comply with a maximum daily dose of not more than 250mg of kavalactones. 

Mr Yoshida and his team are hoping the product will become more prominent in Australian stores in the near future.

Reporter Kelsey Wilkie was invited to Fiji by Fiji Kava and Fiji Airways to cover this story.

HOW TO MAKE AND CONSUME KAVA

Kava can be used in a number of ways, but the most popular is in its traditional liquid form, which typically comes in a small bowl.

The process starts with the kava roots, which are either freshly picked – if you’re in the South Pacific – or ground, shredded, or powdered. Around 99 percent of kava used outside the South Pacific falls into the latter category.

It’s then soaked for at least 15 minutes before being pressed, kneaded and squeezed through a strainer.

‘We put them in strainer bags, these nut milk bags, submerge them in water and then knead them when they’re under water’ said Harding Stowe, owner of Brooklyn Kava.

Once the liquid looks almost like coffee with cream, kava pulp is removed or put through a metal strainer.

From there it’s really up to the consumer. Some establishments, like Brooklyn Kava, do kava cocktails or serve it alongside some kind of fruit juice, which is used to cut the somewhat bitter taste.

Having over 30 or so ounces of kava in a day isn’t recommended, but according to Stowe, that’s never a problem.

‘If you consume a very large amount of Kava, you’ll get tired,’ he said. ‘That’s about it.’

Another interesting thing about kava is that it differs from drugs or alcohol in that its users don’t develop a higher tolerance. If anything, frequent kava use reduces one’s tolerance.

‘The more kava you drink over time, the less you will need,’ said Stowe.

It also doesn’t leave you with a hangover, although some say it has a subtle effect for a day after its use.


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