PUBLIC STATEMENT BY KAVA INDUSTRY REPRESENTATIVES AT THE PACIFIC HERBS BUSINESS FORUM
The Pacific Island Countries are growers and exporters of kava, and more importantly come from a tradition where kava has been consumed for many hundreds of years. Kava is very important to our tradition, to our ceremonies and to our economies. The amount of kava consumed in the Pacific Island Countries greatly exceeds the dose in herbal medicine, yet no pattern of liver disease has been linked over all those years to kava consumption.
We believe that the medical authorities in some European countries have acted in haste without an adequate scientific basis for their decisions. We call upon these authorities to immediately conduct a scientific review of the alleged medical cases that led to this situation. This examination should include due reference to patients of taking several prescription and herbal products at the same time.
We bring to your attention the fact that consumption in the Pacific Islands is many times the recommended dose in an herbal preparation, but this dose is taken in the form of the natural plant. The actions in Europe will not influence the kava drinkers of the Pacific Islands but our small vulnerable economies need all the export income that we can earn. The loss of export sales will impact on our economies and on the subsistence farmers for whom kava offers one of the few opportunities to generate a cash income.
We therefore ask the European health authorities to reconsider the current actions against kava-based products.