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Tastes Like Wood Chips
Kava, Diphenhydramine & Citalopram
by Susan Smith
Citation:   Susan Smith. "Tastes Like Wood Chips: An Experience with Kava, Diphenhydramine & Citalopram (exp64103)". Oct 9, 2016.

T+ 0:00
  T+ 2:00   oral Kava (tea)
  T+ 0:00     Pharms - Citalopram (daily)


Kava is disgusting. Very disgusting. I heard about kava when I was searching the internet for ways to get rid of anxiety. Kava seemed to keep appearing on every website I came about, so I looked for it at a health store, where they told me they didn't carry it due to reports of liver damage. I researched the liver damage and found that there where something like 30 reports, and all but one where cases where the person had ingested parts of the kava plant other than the roots, which is not done by the Pacific Islanders who have been preparing kava for centuries. Only the root is supposed to be used. So I ordered some kava root online and saved it for an appropriate time. That time was last night, when I came home from work so stressed out that I needed to find some way to calm down enough to study and be able to sleep afterwards.

Might I also mention that I am on a low dose of an antidepressant, citalopram, for anxiety.

I bought kava in root form for two reasons. One, because the pill form often contains extract from other parts of the plant which can potentially cause liver damage, and two because I read many reports online saying other forms such as capsules and drops are not as effective or not effective at all. I put three tbsp of the ground kava root into a strainer bag and immersed it in room temperature water (2 cups) for 2 minutes while working the bag with my hands to make sure the maximum amount of extract seeped out of the bag into the muddy mixture of water I was creating.

After I finished the soaky process I looked down at the bowl of water and wondered if I should actually drink it. It was cloudy brown. Finally I got over my fears and took a swig. Then a couple more. Then my mouth went numb. I thought I remembered reading some other reports from kava users that said this would happen, so I wasn't alarmed. It felt like I had a mild anesthetic, like throat spray, all over my mouth. And, although my mouth was numb, suroisingly the taste of the kava wasn't any less strong and disgusting. I would describe it as a mixture of dirt, wood chips, and soap. Emphasis on soap, this was the nastiest part of the taste. After those first few swigs I knew it was going to be impossible for me to drink 2 cups of this stuff unless I sipped it all night or put something in it. I wanted the strongest hit possible so I decided on the latter. I put about a cup of milk and 1/3 cup of sugar in the mixture. Then it tasted like dirt mixed with sugar and milk. It was still gross, but a lot easier to drink. The drink wasn't like liquor, where the bigger swig I take the harder it is to get down, it was the after taste that sat in my mouth that was really the killer. I'd start to dwell on that soapy taste and it would make taking the next drink even more difficult. Thats why I mixed it with the milk and sugar.

If you can drink alcohol, you can probably drink kava, and one thing about kava is that it sits better in my stomach. It didn't make me nauseous in the least bit once I had it all down. Maybe it was working on my stomach like it was my mouth (anesthetizing it), maybe it was the milk, or maybe kava just isn't acidic at all. I don't really know. But when I am having anxiety, sometimes even water makes me nauseous, so the fact that this didn't at all really said something.

Within a half hour, I noticed some reduced coordination and slight dizziness (very, very slight dizziness, nothing nauseating or painful), almost like the onset of being drunk, how I would feel after 1 or 2 beers minus the euphoria, heatening of the cheeks, and stomach pain that alcohol normally gives me. I didn't however, feel any more relaxed or less anxious like I thought I would. I felt this way for about another half hour. And after this half hour, I didn't feel any more effects.

I felt pretty calm the rest of the night, but nothing significant to where I would think, 'wow, kava really works!'
I felt pretty calm the rest of the night, but nothing significant to where I would think, 'wow, kava really works!'
. And, the calmness might have been due to a benadryl I took for my allergies an hour or two prior to my kava consumption.

One thing I did notice, during that half hour of kava buzz, was that I didn't think about things. Thoughts would drift into my mind and then I would forget, or not even care what I was thinking about. With me, most of my anxiety seems to be disconnected from my thoughts and I'm only aware of it in the physical sensations of my body such as burning in my chest and a racing heart and hyperventilating. This aspect, as I mentioned before, was not helped by the kava. I do not know whether ingesting a higher amount would have changed this, but the kava was so nasty, by the time I finished it and my body had time to develop an aversion to the taste, that I don't think I'll try it again unless I can find a really good recipe to disguise the taste or find an extract in capsule form that seems to be as effective as the pure ground root.

What I do know, is that for the effects I got from the amount of kava I had to stomach, the amount of preparation I had to go through, and for what I payed, if I had to do it all over again I would opt for a couple of beers instead. Same effects plus more, tastes better, and a lot cheaper. But like I said, I don't know whether a larger amount of kava would have been wort while in anxiety reduction or not. That's for further research on my part or for other trippers to tell you.

Exp Year: 2007ExpID: 64103
Gender: Female 
Age at time of experience: Not Given 
Published: Oct 9, 2016Views: 1,870
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Kava (30) : First Times (2), Combinations (3), Alone (16)

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