NEW YORK (MedscapeWire) Mar 28 The popular herbal supplement kava may cause potentially severe liver damage, according to a new US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) warning.
Kava is a common ingredient found in many herbal supplements promoted for relaxation, sleeplessness, menopausal symptoms, and other uses. The kava plant (Piper methysticum) is native to the South Pacific, where it is used to create a traditional beverage.
Products containing kava have been implicated in liver-related injuries such as hepatitis, cirrhosis, and liver failure in more than 25 events reported in Europe and Canada. Four patients required liver transplants. In response, regulatory agencies in these countries have taken actions ranging from pulling kava-containing products from the shelves to warning consumers about the potential risks.