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Kava Vs. Kratom: Which is Better?

February 20th, 2023ComparisonsNo Comments »

Kava Vs. Kratom: Which Is Better?

Kava and kratom are two herbal products that have grown in popularity in recent years. They’re typically sold in tobacco shops, online stores, kava bars, and kratom bars, appealing to people who prefer natural remedies.

Sourced from plants, both kava, and kratom are available in different forms that are easy to digest and experience. The most popular types are chewable leaves, powders, and ready-to-drink beverages. Once consumed, kava and kratom can give way to many potential benefits for well-being. These include physical relaxation, mental stimulation, and mood enhancement.

Given their similarities, it is easy to see why people often compare the two. And while they share common effects, they are actually more different than many realize.

This article breaks down everything you need to know about kava and kratom. Learn more about their origins, benefits, prices, legal status, etc. That way, you can make an informed decision on which one best suits you and your needs.

image of what is kava

What Is Kava?

The kava plant is of the pepper family (also called Piper methysticum) and is native to Western Pacific islands like Fiji, Hawaii, Micronesia, Papua New Guinea, and Vanuatu. Its main active ingredients are called kavalactones, which experts discovered to have relaxing effects on the mind and body.

As such, it was a prominent plant in western traditional culture, especially during religious rituals and ceremonies. Locals would often chew on kava roots to experience their benefits.

Today, kava is still available in its original root form for chewing. However, more convenient forms have since entered the market, making them easier to consume. These include powders, beverages, tinctures, capsules, and tablets.

What Is Kratom?

Kratom is a tropical tree of the coffee family (also called Mitragyna speciosa). It is indigenous to Southeast Asia, specifically countries like Borneo, Indonesia, Malaysia, and Thailand, to name a few.

Its alkaloids, mitragynine, and 7-hydroxy mitragynine, are its two major psychoactive ingredients and are responsible for its effects that range from stimulating to relaxing.

Like kava, kratom is deeply rooted in traditional culture from thousands of years ago. Workers chewed on its leaves to relieve exhaustion and physical discomfort. They also served as mood enhancers and now come in different forms, like kratom powder or capsules, to name a few.

image of comparing kava and kratom

Comparing Kava and Kratom: Similarities and Differences

Despite their similar origins and effects, looking into kava vs. kratom reveals that they differ in many ways. Here are the most notable similarities and differences before deciding which one to purchase.

1. Form and Preparation

One of the main reasons people confuse kava and kratom is their appearance and preparation. Traditionally, locals consumed them by chewing on their leaves. But nowadays, they are available in easy, digestible forms, such as:

  • Dried leaves for making tea
  • Powdered form for mixing with water before drinking
  • Pill form

Apart from at-home preparation, kava and kratom are also available in bars. Kava bars (also called nakamals) and kratom bars serve ready-to-drink beverages, which people can enjoy as a good alternative to coffee, smoothies, and alcoholic drinks.

2. Potential Benefits and Effects

Kava and kratom may offer similar benefits for the mind and body, the most prominent ones being physical relaxation, mental stimulation, and mood improvement. However, depending on your goal, they also offer distinct effects and strengths that may make one more attractive than the other.

  • Common Effects of Kava and Kratom

    • May relieve physical discomforts and promote body relaxation with sedative effects
    • Potentially relieves emotional stress and calms the mind
    • May uplift the mood and inspire a happy disposition
    • Potentially reduce social inhibitions and inspire more talkative, confident behavior
  • Differing Effects of Kava Vs. Kratom

    • Kratom and kava contain unique compounds interacting with different brain parts. As such, they vary in prominent effects. Unlike kava, which is most associated with stress relief, kratom is more associated with physical relief.
    • Kava is associated with enhanced creativity, mild calming effects, and lowered stress levels at lower doses. On the other hand, the effects of kratom are more geared towards an increase in energy levels, focus, and concentration.
    • At higher doses, kratom may offer more robust sedative activities. While kava also provides physical relaxation, kratom can provide more profound relief.

Knowing these similarities and differences will prove helpful when choosing the suitable herb for you.

For example, kava may help relax after a stressful day. On the other hand, Kratom may come in handy when you need the energy to conquer a task. Whatever the case, keep your end goal in mind by looking into kava vs. kratom before purchasing.

image of legal status and safety of kava and kratom

3. Legal Status and Safety

Another similarity between kava and kratom is their mainstream acceptance and legal status, which varies per country or state. While they are generally categorized as supplements rather than drugs, some governments continue to regulate both kava and kratom’s sale and use. This is primarily due to the limited research on their effects and safety.

For one, both herbs may cause side effects if not taken in moderation. According to testimonials, some users experience cottonmouth, body chills, nausea, vomiting, dizziness, drowsiness, and nervousness, among other things. Frequent users should also be watchful not to develop kava or kratom addiction.

Keep in mind that kratom and kava are relatively new supplements still being studied by experts. It’s important to start with a small dosage to gauge the initial effects on your body. Moreover, check the legal regulations in your area before purchasing these products.

4. Price

Kava is generally known to be more expensive than kratom. However, depending on the brand or retail shop, you may find more expensive kratom products. Either way, they’re available in a wide range of price points based on your budget.

image of mixing kava and kratom

Mixing Kava and Kratom: Is It Good or Bad?

Like all substances, experts advise consuming kava and kratom in moderation. The same goes for taking the two together. Given their similarities, mixing them could potentially lead to more potent effects. Those who have done so typically mix high doses of kava with a lower dose of kratom.

It’s best to start with small doses when mixing kava and kratom. The overall effect may vary per person depending on tolerance, conditions, and other factors.

Kava Vs. Kratom: Which Is Better?

Choosing between kava and kratom depends on preference and need.

Kratom may offer more potent effects if the goal is relief against physical discomforts and tension. It also helps when you need a boost in energy and focus.

On the other hand, kava may be a better option for mental relaxation with mild calming effects. It’s most known for reducing stress and inspiring a more relaxed mind.

That said, both kava and kratom generally offer these same benefits for well-being. It always helps to explore the distinct effects each herb has on you and decide only then which one suits you best.


Kratom, kava, and other herbal supplements represent the benefits of western and eastern traditional cultures and their use of herbs for general well-being. Kava and kratom tend to offer positive effects on the mind and body, which is why they have gained a loyal following of users through the years.

When it comes to the better option, they offer distinct benefits that make each worthy of exploring. Kava is a good choice for releasing stress and promoting mental calmness. On the other hand, Kratom may work well for those needing physical relief and relaxation.

Before purchasing kava and kratom products, research the available brands and types. Choose one that promises effectiveness without sacrificing safety. Moreover, make sure to check the legal regulations in your area.

CONTENT DISCLAIMER: The content on this page is strictly for entertainment purposes only. The content below has not been medically reviewed and is not intended to offer advice for use or intended use. For more information about kratom and its potential dangers, please visit the fda.gov site.

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