Kava tea is a traditional, Polynesian drink many people believe relaxes the mind, produces a calm yet awake state and encourages good sleep. But, making a hot cup of tea the normal way, by boiling water and letting the bag steep for a few minutes, does not work with Kava tea bags. Water in a cup of tea is typically heated to around 180 degrees Fahrenheit, whereas many active ingredients in kava root powder, such as the alkaloid kavalactone, are destroyed in temperatures above140 degrees Fahrenheit. This recipe will produce two strong cups of Kava tea without losing its potentially beneficial effects.
Heat the water or milk in your slow cooker on its lowest setting. Use the thermometer to tell when the liquid has reached 110 degrees Fahrenheit to 120 degrees Fahreneheit.
Turn the slow cooker off and steep the Kava tea bags in the liquid for 10 to 15 minutes.
Squeeze any extra liquid out of the tea bags before you discard them.
Pour the tea into two mugs and serve.
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- Fat-based liquids, such as cow's milk, coconut milk or almond milk, extract the active alkaloids, such as kavalactone, from kava root powder better than water. Using a type of milk as a base may also make the strong-tasting Kava taste better. If you only have unbagged kava root powder, you can steep 2 tbsp. of powder in a nylon stocking.
- Kava powder that contains traces of the plant's stems and leaves been linked to liver toxicity, including liver failure in studies found in Germany, Switzerland and the United States. The stems and leaves contain pipermethystine, an alkaloid that induces toxicity in the liver, however the root does not. Because of its side effects, kava is not recommended for use by pregnant or breastfeeding women or anyone under the age of 18. Kava tea may cause drowsiness and may impair one's ability to operate a vehicle or heavy machinery.
Fay Reynolds was first published in 2004 for the "Columbia Missourian." She has worked as a critic for the "San Antonio Current," "Austin Chronicle" and "Complex" magazines, and as a senior editor at Vintage Foundation Publications. Reynolds holds a B.A. in English from the University of Missouri and is pursuing her M.A. in creative writing from the University of Texas at Austin.
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