Tradition and toxicity: Evidential cultures in the kava safety debate

  title={Tradition and toxicity: Evidential cultures in the kava safety debate},
  author={J. Baker},
  journal={Social Studies of Science},
  pages={361 - 384}
  • J. Baker
  • Published 2011
  • Sociology, Medicine
  • Social Studies of Science
This paper examines the debate about the safety of kava (Piper methysticum Forst. f., Piperaceae ), a plant native to Oceania, where it has a long history of traditional use. Kava became popular as an anti-anxiety treatment in Western countries in the late 1990s, but it was subsequently banned in many places due to adverse reports of liver toxicity. This paper focuses on the responses to the bans by scientists involved in kava research, contrasting their evidential culture with that employed by… Expand
Contemporary Pacific and Western perspectives on `awa (Piper methysticum) toxicology.
A detailed review of traditional and non-traditional kava usage, medicinal efficacy and potential toxicological concerns is presented. Expand
Pills, Potions, Products: Kava's Transformations in New and Nontraditional Contexts
This article focuses on kava ( Piper methysticum G. Forst, Piperaceae) in its various forms: plant, beverage, medicine, and dietary supplement. Specifically, I examine a relatively unexploredExpand
Rapid differentiation of Piper methysticum (kava) plant parts using single point and imaging vibrational spectroscopy
Abstract Piper methysticum Forst., commonly referred to as kava, has been used medicinally and recreationally by inhabitants of the South Pacific Islands for centuries. Kavalactones present in rootsExpand
De-mythologizing and re-branding of kava as the new ‘world drug’ of choice
What seemed impossible 50 years ago is today becoming a reality as ‘soft drugs’ such as cannabis are being decriminalized and accepted for their calming effects as well as their legitimate medicinalExpand
Differential Regulation of Calcium Signalling Pathways by Components of Piper methysticum ('Awa)
It is hypothesized that kava extracts contain one or more ligands for the transient receptor potential (TRP) family of ion channels, which may be responsible for some of the reported pharmacology of kava. Expand
I Ke Ēwe ʻĀina o Ke Kupuna: Hawaiian Ancestral Crops in Perspective
Indigenous crops, tremendously valuable both for food security and cultural survival, are experiencing a resurgence in Hawaiʻi. These crops have been historically valued by agricultural researchersExpand
Hawaiian Ancestral Crops in Perspective
Indigenous crops, tremendously valuable both for food security and cultural survival, are experiencing a resurgence in Hawai‘i. These crops have been historically valued by agricultural researchersExpand
Behavioral and physiological effects of acute and chronic kava exposure in adult zebrafish.
This study supports evolutionarily conserved behavioral and physiological effects of kava and kavalactones in zebrafish, implicates brain monoamines in their acute effects, and provides novel important insights into potential role of neuroglial and epigenetic mechanisms in long-term kava use. Expand
Kavain Involvement in LPS‐Induced Signaling Pathways
Overall, MyD88 was found to be an important mediator of the LPS‐induced inflammatory response that can be distinguished from the NF‐κB pathway, and MyD 88 is involved in the pathway linking LPS/LITAF to TNF‐α. Expand
Kavain Inhibition of LPS-Induced TNF-α via ERK/LITAF.
Kavain had a significant anti-inflammatory effect on wild type mice that developed Collagen Antibody Induced Arthritis (CAIA), but only a minor effect in ERK2-/- mice also affected by CAIA, and it was concluded that ERK 2 may be the kinase upstream of LITAF with its Serine residue 206 being crucial for the regulation of LPS-induced TNF-α. Expand


Kava extracts: safety and risks including rare hepatotoxicity.
A critical analysis of the suspected cases in Germany reveals that only in 1 single patient a very probable causal relationship could be established between kava treatment and the development of toxic liver disease due to a positive result of an unscheduled reexposure test, whereas in another patient there might be a possible association. Expand
Kava: From Ethnology to Pharmacology
This volume presents a comprehensive view of the traditional aspects of kava and the latest applications for the herb, and is a valuable reference for botanists, phytochemists, toxicologists, physicians, pharmacists, herbalists, and alternative medicine practitioners. Expand
Effects of kava alkaloid, pipermethystine, and kavalactones on oxidative stress and cytochrome P450 in F-344 rats.
PM-treated rats demonstrated a significant increase in hepatic glutathione, cytosolic superoxide dismutase (Cu/ZnSOD), tumor necrosis factor alpha mRNA expression, and cytochrome P450 (CYP) 2E1 and 1A2, suggesting adaptation to oxidative stress and possible drug-drug interactions. Expand
In vitro toxicity of kava alkaloid, pipermethystine, in HepG2 cells compared to kavalactones.
Kava herbal supplements have been recently associated with acute hepatotoxicity, leading to the ban of kava products in approximately a dozen countries around the world. It is suspected that someExpand
Is kava really hepatotoxic? An analysis of the known data on adverse effects of kava preparations on the liver
Until recently, kava has been regarded as a medicinal plant with a very favourable risk profile and a distinct efficacy. On first sight, the current discussion of potential deleterious effects ofExpand
Liver Function Test Abnormalities in Users of Aqueous Kava Extracts
Evidence is presented that liver function changes in users of aqueous kava extracts at these moderate levels of consumption appear to be reversible and begin to return to baseline after 1 to 2 weeks abstinence from kava. Expand
Workshop overview: Hepatotoxicity assessment for botanical dietary supplements.
To help create a scientific basis for understanding botanical-induced hepatotoxicity and better tools for hepatotoxic assessment and prediction, the National Center for Natural Product Research hosted a workshop in cooperation with the Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition. Expand
Biomedicine and Alternative Healing Systems in America: Issues of Class, Race, Ethnicity, and Gender
  • B. Bauer
  • Medicine
  • Annals of Internal Medicine
  • 2002
The development of biomedicine/scientific medicine as the dominant medical system in the United States is traced, with Baer's hypothesis that the scientific model of medicine dominates because it has served as a tool of capitalism or the corporate class. Expand
Hepatic injury due to traditional aqueous extracts of kava root in New Caledonia.
It is concluded that not only commercially available, but also traditionally prepared kava extracts may rarely cause liver injury and the increased activity of gamma glutamyl transferase in heavy kava consumers in the presence of normal or minimally elevated transaminases is probably not a sign of liver injury, but rather reflects an induction of CYP450 enzymes. Expand
Pharmacopolitics: Drug Regulation in the United States and Germany
Arthur Daemmrich proposes that divergent "therapeutic cultures" - the interrelationships among governments, patients, the medical profession, and the pharmaceutical industry - underlie national differences and explain variations in pharmaceutical markets and medical care. Expand