Hello. I just registered. I have been a long time reader but first time poster. I have been meaning to register and I was just going to post about my Kava experience. I am glad you posted.
Kava helps a lot with anxiety and supports a more positive mood. I also suffer from slight depression although St. John's Wort and fish oil have helped that immensely.
Kava varies quite a bit in different brands. Kavalactones are the main things that give you the calming feeling. You need around 70 mg - 200 mg of Kavalactones to feel a reduction in anxiety.
I would highly recommend getting high grade kava root powder from a reliable online store (just search google). This works much better than pills (which are much weaker). You need to get kava root powder that is at least 4-5 years old and uses strictly lateral roots. You mix it with water and it tastes like crap but for the effects I can bare drinking it. I need to try some other recipes and see if I can get it to taste better.
Kava root powder does not cause liver damage. The reason Germany and many other European countries banned it was due to several people having it their system along with alcohol and other drugs. The deaths were attributed to Kava unfairly and independent studies looking into this have said it cannot be blamed on Kava. Plus the Kava they were using was said to be Kava extract with parts of Kava besides the root which can cause liver damage.
Kava is very safe and a much better alternative to alcohol and other drugs that can be damaging to the body.
I have been researching Kava a ton since my mom first told me about it. http://www.erowid.org/plants/kava
is an excellent site for experiences and more info about Kava. I have learned a ton from other people's experiences on there.
I have used weak (2% Kavalactone pills so 12.5 mg of Kavalactones) and I took close to 20 and I started to feel effects but not very strong. I just received my kava root powder two days ago and I tried the powder today for the first time. I took 1 Tbsp and I felt great today. I drank it before going to work and I was there for 7 hours and it lasted all the way through. I had very little anxiety. And 1 Tbsp of root powder is a low amount. They say take closer to 2-3 Tbsp. I will try this tomorrow and report back. I expect nothing but even less anxiety.
You should definitely be able to feel the effects of Kava. If you think you are feeling a placebo effect or are not sure, you are not taking enough. You will feel the effects if you dose it correctly.
I have heard tolerance does not build up that much but I will continue to monitor this and report my findings.
Kava works great for social anxiety and I am so glad I finally tried the root powder. Otherwise you need to take a lot of pills (depending on their amount of Kavalactones) to get effects. And even then I still think powder is the way to go. I highly suggest you give it a try. It is really helping me!