Answered by Shaykh Jamir Meah
Question: Assalamu alaykum
Is Kava Kava permissible to take for stress relief?
Answer: Wa’alaykum assalam. Thank you for your question.
Kava extract comes from the roots of the kava kava plant. It is used recreationally in Europe, and in the South Pacific, as a medicine and social beverage, not too dissimilar to wine in Western countries.
Kava kava has sedative, anaesthetic, euphoriant, and psychotropic properties. Kava is commonly used to reduce stress and anxiety and promote quality sleep. The kava ‘high’ has been likened to a mild form of alcohol intoxication but with an increases sense of calmness, relaxation, and clarity. In high doses it can have serious side effects. Studies have also shown that the safety and effect of kava kava also depends on the individual’s body mass index and general health.
While the chemical effects of the kava ‘high’ on the body are different to alcohol intoxication, kava kava, including taken in tea form, would take on the ruling as any other plant intoxicant, such as marijuana and opiates, namely, that of impermissibility. This is because the hadith of the Prophet ﷺ, ‘That which intoxicates in large quantities is prohibited in small quantities.’ (al Tirmidhi)
The exception to the impermissibility would be if the extract is used for medicinal purposes, as long as the following conditions are met:
1. A qualified physician informs the patient that the medicine can effectively treat the medical condition, or one knows its efficacy through previous experience.
2. No alternative medicine that is lawful is available or effective.
3. It is used only in the amount needed, and no more.
If the above conditions are met, then it would be permissible to take kava kava extract for stress relief.
[Mughni al Muhtaj]
And Allah knows best.
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[Shaykh] Jamir Meah
Shaykh Jamir Meah grew up in Hampstead, London. In 2007, he traveled to Tarim, Yemen, where he spent nine years studying the Islamic sciences on a one-to-one basis under the foremost scholars of the Ribaat, Tarim, with a main specialization and focus on Shafi’i fiqh. In early 2016, he moved to Amman, Jordan, where he continues advanced studies in a range of Islamic sciences, as well as teaching. Jamir is a qualified homeopath.