It varies from person to person. While some kava drinkers recommend large doses in order to really feel the effects, we recommend that first-timers start with a sip or two every few minutes in order to gauge your own respose. Research has shown that an effective dose of kava can be as low as 50mg of kavalactones, so we suggest starting there and working up if you need to. Kava also has a reverse tolerance effect, so the more frequently you drink it the less you will need to feel the effects!
Remember the kavalactones we mentioned before? That mixture of stress-fighting compounds acts directly on your central nervous system, which results in a variety of sedative and numbing effects. The first few sips of kava can cause your lips and tongue to tingle... don't worry! This is normal and it will fade after a few minutes. As you keep drinking you may eventually start to feel your muscles relax too.
Kava is safe for most people in moderation. The recommended daily dose is about 300 mg of kavalactones, and consuming more could potentially cause stomach upset or drowsiness. It is also best to skip out on kava if you are taking pharmaceutical antidepressants, suffering from a pre-existing heart, lung, or liver condition, or frequently drinking large quantities of alcohol. Pregnant women may also use discretion, although there are no known reports of complications with kava and pregnancy.