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Kava Health Warning

Warning:Excessive consumption of kava (yaqona), or grog kills. Dewan Chand Maharaj, the president of the Kidney Foundation of Fiji, made the warning as he relayed this message to the Minister
07 Nov 2014 09:51
Kava Health Warning

Warning:Excessive consumption of kava (yaqona), or grog kills.

Dewan Chand Maharaj, the president of the Kidney Foundation of Fiji, made the warning as he relayed this message to the Minister for Health and Medical Services, Jone Usamate.

Mr Usamate and his assistant minister, Veena Kumar Bhatnagar, toured the Kidney Foundation of Fiji Centre on Wednesday.

Mr Maharaj said kava damaged the kidneys and the liver.

Kava is drunk at various social and ceremonial occassions throughout most of the Pacific Islands and used in some countries as a medicinal herb.

A medical research said in the long term, kava use could cause a wide range of problems including:

– breathing difficulties;

– visual changes, including sensitivity to light (photophobia);

– alterations to blood cells, including white and red blood cells and platelets;

– liver damage;

– reduced immunity to infection;

– kidney damage;

– a scaly, dry, flaky rash or ‘kava dermatitis’ – one of the most commonly reported side effects of heavy kava use;

– as well as other skin conditions such as yellow or white ulcer-like skin lesions (commonly called ‘crocodile skin’ or ‘kanikani’);

– appetite loss, leading to malnutrition and weight loss;

– loss of drive and motivation and

– worsened symptoms of pre-existing mental illnesses such as schizophrenia.

The report adds that in 2003, products containing kava were banned in most European countries because of concerns about its possible toxic effects on the liver.

In Australia, all products containing kava were temporarily withdrawn, following the death of one person from liver failure.

Mr Usamate asked what if water was drunk soon after the grog. Mr Maharaj replied that it would be good but it would be better to just stay away from kava.

Feedback: maikab@fijisun.com.fj

 

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