Kava has a lot of benefits towards supporting mood, anxiety, sleep, and muscle tension — but not everybody wants to spend the time weighing, mixing, and straining their kava every time they want to use the herb.
Compared to traditional preparation methods, kava capsules are significantly easier to use for daily kava users.
In this guide, we’ll discuss what kava capsules are, how to use them, and provide a list of the best kava capsules we’ve tried so far.
Table of Contents
Best Kava Capsules [Tested]
- NOW Supplements Kava Kava Extract — Best Kava Capsules for Stress
- Pure Organic Kava Kava Capsules — Best Mild Kava Capsules
- Royal Kava Pure Noble Kava Capsules — Best Raw Kava Root Capsules
- Root of Happiness Kava Extract Capsules — Best Kava Capsules for Sleep
1. NOW Supplements — Kava Kava Extract
NOW Supplements make just about every herb supplement you could think of — including kava.
These capsules are a combination of 250 mg kava extract (at 30% kavalactones), and Eleutherococcus (AKA Siberian ginseng).
The kava extract provides a hit of about 75 mg of pure kavalactones per capsule — so the standard dose would be about 2 or 3 of these capsules per dose. The recommended serving size is just one capsule per day, but I found 2 capsules had better effects without being too strong or causing too many side effects.
The addition of Siberian ginseng is an interesting decision and I was skeptical about this formula at first. Siberian ginseng is considered an adaptogen and mild stimulant. It’s usually used to promote energy and strength.
In this formula, the Siberian ginseng helps to reduce the sedative effects of kava without being too stimulating either. This makes these capsules perfect for use during the day for supporting anxiety and chronic stress. However, the same benefits make this formula a bad option for people using kava to help them sleep.
Overall, I would recommend this kava capsule for people who use kava during the day. For anybody looking to use kava in the evenings or to help with sleep, it’s better to go for one of the other options on this list.
2. Pure Organic Ingredients — Kava Kava Extract
Pure Organics is a natural supplement company based out of the United States. Among other herbal and nutritional supplements, the company offers this pure kava kava extract in capsule form.
Each capsule contains 335 mg of kava extract for a recommended dose of one capsule, once or twice per day.
It should be noted that this is not 335 mg of the active kavalactones — rather 335 mg of kava extract — which could contain anywhere from 30% kavalactones, to 90% kavalactones. The company doesn’t state the exact amount of active kavalactones in these capsules.
Nevertheless, these capsules are fairly strong at the dose given. I found one capsule is usually enough to start feeling some mild anxiety relief. For stronger relief, I needed to take 2 capsules.
This is one of the cheapest kava capsules on Amazon, which is one of the biggest selling points for these caps. Just keep in mind they aren’t the strongest option and you may need to take two or more to get the effects you’re looking for.
3. Royal Kava Pure Noble Kava Capsules
These capsules are made exclusively from Fijian noble kava cultivars.
Unlike most other kava capsules on our list, these are not made from a kava concentrate. They consist of dried, powdered kava root. As a result, the dose is going to be much higher. The recommended dose is 4 capsules per serving (1760 mg).
In our dosage guide, we list the standard dose of kava around 10 grams of powder (10,000 mg). While at first, this makes these capsules seem too weak, you have to consider the fact that capsules are different from teas. You consume the entire capsule whole, which delivers the entire dose of kava root. In the traditional kava brew, only a fraction of the active ingredients is dissolved into the water — thereby requiring a larger dose of the kavalactones to take effect.
Despite capsules being a little more efficient than kava brewed in water — I did find these capsules to be a little bit on the weak end. I took the recommended 4 and noticed only a slight difference. After increasing the dose to about 6 or 7 capsules at a time I started to feel the characteristic effects of kava more clearly.
Overall, these are a good kava capsule for people who prefer to use the whole root instead of an extract and don’t mind using a small handful of capsules at a time.
4. Root of Happiness Kava Capsules
Root of Happiness is one of our most frequently recommended brands in all categories.
This company hands down makes some of the best kava products on the market.
These capsules are the strongest on our list, clocking in at 50 milligrams of pure kavalactones per capsule. You only need 1 or 2 of these capsules for a powerful effect profile.
These capsules were made with supercritical CO2, and a variety of Vanuatu kava cultivars.
What To Look For In a Good Kava Capsule
Finding high-quality kava capsules is harder than you might think. The problem is that with this form of kava, it’s easy for a company to mislead buyers. There are a lot of companies selling kava capsules that either doesn’t list the concentration of kavalactones on the bottle, or list numbers that are much higher than the test results can prove.
Here are a few steps you can follow to make sure the kava capsules you’re buying are as high-quality as possible without having to break the bank buying therapeutic-grade extracts.
1. How Strong is the Capsule?
The first thing to look at when buying kava kava capsules is the strength. You should look to see whether the capsule is made from a kava extract or raw kava powder.
Raw kava powders are usually not marked as raw, but the capsule bottle will just say kava kava (Piper methysticum) instead of specifically stating it as an extract. These capsules will require a much larger dose to get the desired level of effects.
Kava extract powders have gone through additional processing to remove any non-active ingredients — leaving a much higher dose of the active kavalactones instead. You’ll need a lower dose of these capsules to get the desired effects compared to raw kava root powders.
You should try to find the rough dose of the kavalactones in the capsules. Some will list this directly on the bottle, while others will make you work a little bit to find it.
To find the kavalactone dose, you will need to multiply the kava extract amount by the potency of the extract.
For example, NOW Supplements kava extract contains 250 mg of kava extract. This doesn’t mean each capsule contains 250 mg of kavalactones — it merely refers to the amount of extract used. From here you have to calculate the dose by taking the strength of the extract itself (in this case 30%) and multiplying it by the amount of extract.
The calculation would look something like this:
250 mg extract x 30% kavalactone strength = 70 mg kavalactones
So each capsule contains 70 mg in this case.
Understanding the strength of capsules is important because it’s an easy way to spot really poor quality products right away. I’ve seen plenty of kava capsules that advertise a dose of only 1 capsule per day, but after taking a closer look at the strength, the dose is far too low to be of any real benefit. I found one capsule in particular to contain 5 mg of kavalactones per capsule — which would mean you’d need to take at least 14 capsules if not more to receive the benefits.
Look for capsules that contain around 70 or 140 mg kavalactones per capsule for best results.
2. How Much Do They Cost?
The next thing to consider is cost. You should look past the cost at first until you determine the strength because a lot of kava capsules will catch your eye because of the low price, but they simply aren’t potent enough to be of any real benefit.
A decent kava extract capsule will cost between $0.17 and $0,25 per capsule and should be strong enough to provide benefits in under 4 capsules. The only exception here is for the raw powder capsules which need larger doses.
3. What Else is in the Formula?
Another factor to consider is the formula itself. Most of the capsules I’ve discussed above contain pure kava, but there are also a lot of formulas that include kava and other herbs or nutrients to help direct the effects of kava for specific applications.
You can find anxiety formulas that mix kava with herbs like passionflower, hops, or 5-HTP, and other formulas for sleep or mood as well.
It helps to add other ingredients to the formula — but within reason.
The NOW Supplements kava extract capsules mentioned above mix Siberian ginseng into the capsule to help alleviate the sedative effects of kava. This is a great formula in my opinion because it still allows the dose of kava to remain high enough to exert its effects.
Other supplements combine kava with 6, 7, or 8 other ingredients. While this looks good on paper, you have to remember that for every ingredient added, the dose of kava is reduced to make room for the other ingredient. When you start to get over 4 ingredients, the dose of kava is going to be substantially reduced.
I’ve seen a lot of supplements add a long list of beneficial herbs and supplements into a capsule and claim it can help, but the dose of each ingredient is too low to do what the company advertises. Avoid these products and aim for a capsule with about 4 or less active ingredients.
Other Kava Products to Explore
Kava capsules are only the tip of the iceberg. They’re convenient, affordable, and familiar to use — but they aren’t always the best kava option to use. There are several other categories of kava products to choose from as well.
Kava shots, tinctures, and instant powders offer the same level of convenience as well as a variety of other advantages (like dose, cost, or flavor).
Let’s cover a few of these in more detail.
1. Raw Kava Kava Root Powders
Kava root powders are the most common way people use the herb. They’re made from the dried and powdered roots of the kava plant. You can take this powder and mix it with water the traditional way, or in an AluBall for ultimate convenience.
I prefer using raw kava powders because I find the traditional method of preparation to be meditative in itself. As I prepare the kava tea and drink it in its natural form, I find the ritual itself is enough to wash away my stress. It reminds me to sit down and take the time to focus on myself. I also find it advantageous to not get into the habit of popping a pill” whenever I feel stressed — even if this pill is merely kava.
2. Kava Tinctures
Kava tinctures are another super simple way of using the herb. Tinctures are liquid extracts of the active ingredients in kava. The nonessential ingredients like fibers, proteins, ad carbs have been removed, leaving behind the active kavalactones, polyphenols, and other active constituents.
To use tinctures, you can simply add a few drops to your tea or water, or take it directly on the tongue.
Tinctures are rapidly absorbed, allow you to customize your dose however you want (by counting the drops), and are very portable.
3. Kava Steep Teas
You can also find kava in the form of a simple teabag to add to your hot water.
While this is a simple way of using kava and tends to have the best flavor profile compared to traditional kava tea, they aren’t as strong.
I like using kava steep teas in the evening as a simple wind-down to my day. But for more severe symptoms, there’s nothing like a potent capsule, tincture, or traditional kava brew.
You can find kava steep teas mixed with other useful herbs like chamomile, passionflower, or lavender.
4. Kava Concentrates
Most kava capsules are made from a kava concentrate that’s simply been injected into the capsules. You can also buy this concentrate directly — which is going to end up being better value for your money since you’re not paying to have the concentrate injected into tiny little capsules.
Kava concentrates come in two main formats — a powder, or a paste.
Powdered kava concentrates are best added to a liquid-like tea, juice, water, or nut milk. Kava concentrate pastes on the other hand often won’t dissolve into water. These concentrates are best used directly in the mouth.
5. Kava Drinks
The final category of kava products is kava drinks. These are becoming more popular in recent years for their delicious flavor, ease of use, and a relatively potent dose of kava per bottle.
These drinks come in the form of small 30 mL shots or larger bottles of prepared kava extract in 120 mL bottles. They remind me a lot about those 8-hour energy shots you often see at gas stations.
I often keep a shot in my bag when I travel so I can drink it at the airport before I get on the plane to help me sleep. You can also keep it in your fridge at home or at work for when you need a quick shot of kava to dispell anxiety or prepare yourself for any public speaking or other stressful situations.
Kava Capsules: Final Thoughts & Where to Buy
You can find just about any herbal supplement in existence in the form of a capsule. They make dosing super simple and convenient and offer a standardized dose of the herb or active ingredient.
There are plenty of great kava capsule options available online — each with their own set of pros and cons.
The main thing to look out for when shopping for kava capsules is to look at the price as well as the strength. Don’t be fooled by cheap kava supplements that contain low doses of the active ingredients. In order for these cheaper supplements to work. you’ll need to take large doses at a time — which in turn increases the cost per dose.
You’re much better off finding a high-quality kava capsule with a decent dose of active kavalactone (at least 70 mg per capsule) even if they initially appear to cost a little bit more than other options. These products will save you money in the long run by avoiding having to take half a dozen capsules at a time.