Study Probing Kava as Trauma Treatment for PTSD Shows Promise

July 01 2023 – Team MindFuel

Study Probing Kava as Trauma Treatment for PTSD Shows Promise
Study Probing Kava as Trauma Treatment for PTSD Shows Promise

Kava Study Explores Promising Trauma Treatment for PTSD

New Zealand researchers are conducting a pioneering study on using kava, a traditional Pacific plant, to treat trauma, specifically PTSD. The study examines the efficacy of kava consumption combined with talanoa, an open and respectful dialogue, in alleviating trauma symptoms. Led by Dr Apo Aporosa and Dr Sione Vaka from the University of Waikato, the research has received substantial support, including a generous grant from the Health Research Council.

Cultural Significance of Kava

Kava, commonly marketed as a relaxant and sleep aid, is being investigated for its cultural importance. The study highlights the benefits of consuming kava in traditional settings, emphasizing faikava, the sharing of kava accompanied by conversation. By incorporating talanoa into the study, the researchers aim to showcase the comprehensive effects of kava beyond its chemical properties.

Targeted Participants and Duration

Over three years, the clinical trials will focus on first responders, corrections staff, and military personnel who have experienced combat. These groups are particularly susceptible to PTSD, making their involvement crucial in assessing kava's potential as a trauma treatment. Generous funding from the Health Research Council underscores the significance and urgency of this research.

Honoring Traditional Pacific Knowledge

Dr Aporosa, a former police officer and soldier who personally experienced PTSD, appreciates the funding and aims to validate traditional Pacific knowledge. The research aims to prove the effectiveness of faikava in treating PTSD and promoting healing within the kava circle. Dr Aporosa sees an opportunity to bridge the gap between traditional Pacific practices and Eurocentric therapeutic frameworks, creating a more inclusive approach to mental health treatment.

Potential Impact and Future Resources

The study's findings could revolutionize trauma treatment by offering an accessible therapy option. The researchers envision providing individuals struggling with PTSD and other mental health issues a comprehensive guidebook. By engaging in meaningful conversations while consuming kava, individuals may find solace and healing, fostering community support.


The ongoing kava study for treating PTSD brings hope to those affected by trauma. Led by dedicated researchers and informed by the cultural significance of kava and talanoa, this research has the potential to transform traditional practices into evidence-based therapies. By embracing the power of kava and facilitating open dialogue, the study empowers individuals to take control of their mental well-being and encourages healing within their communities.

Source: TE AO Maori News -  


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