The word kava is used to refer both to the plant and the beverage produced from its roots. Kava is consumed throughout the Pacific Ocean cultures of Polynesia (including Hawaii), Vanuatu, Melanesia and some parts of Micronesia and Australia. Kava is sedating and is primarily consumed to relax without disrupting mental clarity. Its active ingredients are called kavalactones.
In some parts of the Western World, kava extract is marketed as herbal medicine against stress, insomnia, and anxiety.
Photo of Samoan island. Text from: www.wikipedia.org