My jaw’s been sore from clenched teeth during sleepless nights. My muscles sore and my feet still throbbing, by the time my housemate got home. His eyes where glassy and heavy, indicating that his long day at work had gone as well as mine. The girls where gone, a sneaky smile spread across his face. It was Kava time.
Kava is far flung relative of the pepper plant, which grows on pretty much every island North of New Zealand. The root of the plant can be crushed and mixed with water to make a muddy brown drink that is then passed around using a communal cup. Ancient Polynesians consumed it for its “sedative” and “anesthetic” qualities, which is wikipedias way of saying “relaxing” and “calming”. It is still consumed regularly amongst islanders as an “after work beverage”, as described by my housemate, who discovered the drink while on holiday in Fiji.
We opened up a simple brown paper package labeled “Must”, which I thought was a funny brand name for something puritans will regard as addictive. The contents of the bag looking like brown Yerba Mate, blended with a fine cut tobacco. It smelt vaguely of dirt. We portioned out 4 table spoons into a cotton pouch. A cotton pouch that suspiciously resembled a snowboard goggle sock. After further inspection, I realized it was, in fact, a goggle case. “I didnt have anything else to brew it in” He said when he saw the look on my face, “Whats the problem? Its clean.” I very much doubted that, but he had already submerged it in the water, too late for my protest. It was still better than a pillow case.
For the next thirty minutes we kneaded the bag into the water, soaking it and ringing out more brown liquid. We talked, laughed and passed the small coconut shell back and forth sipping small portions. The taste was completely unique; earthy and somewhat dirt like with a slight pepper finish. It was strangely refreshing, but I cant say I felt any instant effect. By the last dip, my tongue started to feel a little numb.
I couldnt tell if it was the Kava, or the fact that we where soon approaching midnight, but exhaustion started to take the best of me. I rolled into bed unworried and relaxed, a far cry from the previous nights.
I slept exceptionally and dreamt of summer time fly fishing with my brother.
Pharmaceutical companies should fear nature.