People Are Relaxing With Kava, A Soothing Drink From Fiji, Rather Than Alcohol

People are ditching booze for this stress-relieving drink from Fiji. It apparently tastes like muddy water, but is able to soothe anxiety and improve your mood. It’s called Kava and several studies found that it might be useful in treating anxiety, insomnia and related nervous disorders. It’s really big with young people who want to relax but are trying to cut back on alcohol or skip the hangover.

Kava is a plant native to the south pacific — its root is usually ground to a powder then mixed with water. Kava is a regular part of nightly rituals in the south pacific in islands like Fiji. People say they feel relaxed and content when they drink it, which helps with conflict resolution.

Kava started to break into the western market in the 1990s, but Germany banned the product in 2002, because they worried it could be harmful to the liver. The U.S. never banned it but gave a similar warning. Germany lifted the ban in 2005, and since then, people have a better understanding of the plant.

It’s now seen as safe and beneficial — it’s also gaining more popularity in the U.S. and Europe. In fact, exports from Fiji more than doubled from 2012 to 2016.