Analgesic And Local Anaesthetic

Both the aqueous and lipid-soluble extracts of kava exhibit antinociceptive properties in experimental animal models (Jamieson & Duffield 1990). The effect is not mediated by an opiate pathway, as naloxone does not reduce the effects when administered in doses that reverse the effects of morphine. More recently, in vitro research has identified several compounds found in kava that have the ability to inhibit COX-1 and to a lesser extent COX-2 enzyme activities (Wu et al 2002).

The local anaesthetic effect of kava is well known for topical use and has been described as similar to procaine and cocaine (Mills & Bone 2000).

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