Kava-Kava administration reduces anxiety in perimenopausal women

Maturitas. 2003 Feb 25;44(2):103-9. doi: 10.1016/s0378-5122(02)00317-1.


Objective: Disturbances of mood, such as anxiety and depression, increase in the perimenopausal period. Hormone replacement therapy or neuroactive drugs represent useful treatments for these disturbances but may be contraindicated or not accepted. Herein it was investigated the efficacy of Kava-Kava, an extract of Piper Methysticum, on mood of perimenopausal women.

Design: A 3-months randomized prospective open study investigating in perimenopausal women modifications induced by calcium supplementation (control; n=34), calcium plus Kava-Kava at the dose of 100 mg/day (n=15) or calcium plus Kava-Kava at the dose 200 mg/day (n=19). Anxiety was evaluated by the State Trait Anxiety Inventory (STAI); depression by the Zung's scale (SDS), and climacteric symptoms by the Greene's scale. Evaluations were performed at baseline and after 1 and 3 months.

Results: In the control group during the 3 months, anxiety, depression and climacteric symptoms tended to decline, but not significantly. During Kava-Kava anxiety declined (P<0.001) at 1 (-3.8+/-1.03) and 3 (-5.03+/-1.2) months, depression declined at 3 months (-5.03+/-1.4; P<0.002) and climacteric score declined (P<0.0006) at 1 (-2.87+/-1.5) and 3 (-5.38+/-1.3) months. Only the decline of anxiety induced by Kava-Kava was significantly greater than that spontaneously occurring in controls (P<0.009).

Conclusions: The present data indicate that, in perimenopausal women, administration of Kava-Kava induces an improvement of mood, particularly of anxiety.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Anxiety / drug therapy*
  • Anxiety / pathology
  • Calcium / administration & dosage
  • Climacteric
  • Dietary Supplements
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Kava*
  • Middle Aged
  • Phytotherapy*
  • Plant Extracts / administration & dosage
  • Plant Extracts / therapeutic use*
  • Prospective Studies
  • Psychiatric Status Rating Scales
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Plant Extracts
  • Calcium