Kava Fiji

What is Lawena kava?

What's the difference between regular kava and Lawena kava?

Lawena root
Lawena powder

Well for starters, Lawena kava roots come from the same plant as the Waka kava roots. Lawena Kava is made using the large bulbous rhizome part of the kava root structure. Being that this part of the root structure takes up 80% of the kava root, its likely that if you have drunk kava before it is almost certain you have drunk Lawena root before.

What makes Lawena kava so special? The answer is in its taste. While regular kava tends to be bitter and have a somewhat unpleasant aftertaste, Lawena has a smooth, earthy flavor that’s similar to coffee without being too strong or overwhelming. In fact there is such a big difference, certain kava cultures ONLY drink the Lawena root. New Caledonia and Pohnpei kava cultures discard the Waka root and only drink the Lawena root.

The way Lawena is processed also makes it different from other varieties of kava. Traditional methods include drying the roots before grinding them into powder instead of using water extraction like most other types of kava do. It’s this that gives Lawena Kava its distinctive flavor profile while preserving some of the beneficial compounds found in the root itself.

Medicinal benefits of Lawena Kava Roots

Fijians drinking kava

Lawena Kava Roots are a natural source of kavalactones and kawain, both of which help to promote a relaxed state of mind. Drinking Lawena Kava Roots is said to help with symptoms of anxiety, including tension, stress, and irritability. It can also be used as a sleep aid and to reduce pain in muscle tissue.

Lawena Kava Roots have been used for centuries by the people of Fiji and other Pacific Countries as a traditional medicine.

How to Prepare Lawena Kava Root

people preparing lawena kava in Fiji

In Fiji, Lawena Kava is prepared in exactly the same way as other kava root. The Lawena roots are first cleaned and dried before they are ground into a fine powder. Then the powder is mixed with water and strained through a cloth. The resulting liquid is then drunk while sitting on a traditional woven mat made of pandanus leaves.

In Fiji, Lawena Kava is often prepared at social gatherings or parties. It is typically served in a communal bowl and shared among all participants.

Why does Lawena Kava get a bad rap?

Fiji Kava Farmers pulling up a kava plant

Lawena kava root is ALWAYS considered the poor cousin to its ground buddy Waka Kava. This comes down to 2 reasons:

➡️ Scarcity.

As discussed Waka consists of only 15-20% of the kava root structure. Therefore it is more “exclusive”.

➡️ Kavalactone content

The kavalactone content in Lawena is slightly “less” than what is found in the Waka. The effect of Waka is also more of a body or HEAVY effect.

In reality though not every kava session should leave people completely smashed of kava. Lawena kava root has a sensible place in any serious kava drinker’s repertoire. In fact most kava drinkers will always be drinking a percentage of Lawena in the kava that they drink purely based on maths and the scarcity component.