Kavalactones are the main psychoactive components of the roots of Piper methysticum (kava), a shrub common on some Pacific Ocean islands. Another class of compounds found in P. methysticum are the Flavokawains, which are substituted chalcones in nature and not lactones, and thus they are not kavalactones.
Some use lipids to aid in kavalactone extraction. (ie; whole milk, oils, etc.)
Desmethoxyyangonin, one of the six major kavalactones, is a reversible MAO-B inhibitor (Ki 280 nM) and is able to increase dopamine levels in the nucleus accumbens. This finding might correspond to the slightly euphoric action of kava.
Kavain in both enantiomeric forms inhibit the reuptake of noradrenalin at the transporter (NAT), but not of serotonin (SERT). An elevated extracellular NA level in the brain may account for the reported enhancement of attention and focus with kava.
Effects of Kava (Kava-kava, 'Awa, Yaqona, Piper methysticum) on c-DNA-expressed cytochrome P450 enzymes and human cryopreserved hepatocytes.
Apr 01, 2004; Summary The effects of the herbal product kava (Kava kava, 'Awa, Yaqona, Piper methysticum) on human P450 isoforms were studied...
Cyclooxygenase enzyme inhibitory compounds with antioxidant activities from Piper methysticum (kava kava) roots.
Jan 01, 2002; Summary Cyclooxygenase enzyme inhibitory assay-guided purification of ethyl acetate extract of Piper methysticum (kava kava)...