For a truly unique Fijian experience, Yasawa Islands Resort – Navutu Stars Fiji offers you the chance to join the staff every Friday afternoon around the Tanoa for a Kava session and some local tunes. Their equivalent of s’mores around a campfire, drinking kava is a typically Fijian way to unwind with friends.
Take a holiday from reality whenever you like, and come back without so much as a headache or a mythology. ― Aldous Huxley, Brave New World
What is kava?
Kava is the most common name for a plant that is historically grown only in Hawaii, Micronesia, the Samoas, Vanuatu and Fiji. Typically, the roots of the kava plant are ground and mixed with water to produce a drink with pleasurable sedative, anaesthetic and mildly euphoric properties. Its active ingredients are called kavalactones.
It is common in Fiji to spend an afternoon among friends, chatting and drinking kava grog from the shell of half a coconut, called a bilo.
Kava is used for medicinal, religious, political, cultural and social purposes throughout the Pacific. Fijian culture harbors immense respect for the plant and places a high importance on one of their few cash crops. A formal kava ceremony often accompanies any important events on the island.
It is used to calm anxiety, stress, restlessness, and insomnia. It is also used for attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), epilepsy, psychosis, depression, migraines and other headaches, chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS), common cold and other respiratory tract infections, tuberculosis, and muscle pain. Some people use kava for urinary tract infections (UTIs), venereal disease, and even to arouse sexual desire.
It is applied to the skin for skin diseases including leprosy, to promote wound healing, and as a painkiller. It is also used as a mouthwash for canker sores and toothaches.
Cultivation in Fiji
Yet another reason to take advantage of the opportunity to try kava in Fiji: exportation is strictly regulated. You can’t try this at home, kids. Only the best strains are used for everyday drinking and Fijian laws mandate that the kava must be farmed organically.
Relax, You’re on Holiday
Don’t make any big plans for the evening following your kava session. Everyone will probably be a bit slow and lethargic. If you’d like some snacks or refreshments, the staff will be more than happy to accommodate you – after the serenade of course.
For even more info on the kava plant and its uses, see our friend’s article.