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plant and seed exchange

WANTED: Piper methysticum (Kava vine)

Hi. I’m trying to locate a cutting of Piper methysticum (Kava vine). It is a vine indigenous to islands in the South Pacific like Vanuatu. I assume that given it’s preference for tropical climatic conditions it would most likely be grown by people in either Limpopo or the northern KwaZulu-Natal coast. Am more than happy to pay for postage and packing.

Sasha Dowding

10 replies on “WANTED: Piper methysticum (Kava vine)”

I do realise that Sprig is gardening blog. However the last few requests have all been for sources of exotic plants; Jade vine, Virginia creeper, Wisteria and now Kava vine. WESSA Durban branch has started a blog to encourage indigenous local planting. iziHlahla zeTheku: Durban Celebrates Trees is a project to celebrate our trees, record them, and to encourage commitment to their preservation. Our local trees are amazing, serve birds and insect life and make us celebrate our own heritage. Please promote local above exotic. We would be glad to assist in responding to any posts with a suggested local alternative.

Margaret Burger

Hi Margaret,

Thanks a lot for your comment. We publish whatever people are looking for but would much rather see an indigenous alternative.

I suppose it is a matter of knowing about what else (local) is out there. Please feel free to suggest alternatives and where readers might find them.

Thanks!

Hello Margaret.

I know exactly what you mean when you say it is important to consider indigenous alternatives. Believe me when I say I am a big fan of South African native plants. I have an extensive library of garden books and at least 50% are on South African plants.

The reason that I am looking for a Kava vine cutting is that I have done quite a lot of my own personal research into the plant and found it to be very useful for combating anxiety in people. In the Polynesian Islands and Hawaii the plant is grown in plantations and the roots are harvested, dried and ground down into a powder, which can be measured out into pill form or drunk in the form of a tea like beverage.

According to wikipedia:
“The active ingredient known as kavalactones are sedating and primarily consumed to relax without disrupting mental clarity. A Cochrane Collaboration systematic review of its evidence concluded it was likely to be more effective than placebo at treating short-term social anxiety.” – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kava

I’m thinking about trying to grow it commercially in SA at some point in the future, but would like to learn how to cultivate it properly with practice first hence my need of a cutting.

Exotic plants are just as dear to me as indigenous ones, they all have their place and uses. If we were so puritan about all the plants in our gardens we would have to say goodbye to important food crops such as tomato, peppers, potatoes and sweetcorn (all from the Americas).

Kava? Sure, helps with anxiousness. Sure does, that stuff will un-anxiety you right onto your back, with a smile a mile wide. Some nasty side effects to, if you overindulges.

Be a popular item if you can get it growing…

I’m also interested in Kava, but from what i can find is that it got a bad rap ,because people used the root and parts of the plant that is toxic. and gave people liver problems . i would also like to get some of the kava roots, if your venture is sucsessfull.

Hi I used kava kava about 18 years ago. I was so relaxed and nothing could bother me. NEED it now again. Does anyone know if I can find it in SA

So Kava was banned for selling in South Africa due to concerns over hepatoxicity (Liver toxicity) liver toxicity is not noted in the pacific island but actually are due to inferior extracts rom china. If anyone has a source for kava root I can grow in SA I would be very very happy!

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