This pepper plant from the Pacific islands has been used for centuries as a natural way to induce sleep and soothe anxiety. It works by affecting levels of calming chemicals in the brain. However, high doses can cause liver damage, so we don’t recommend kava if you have an increased risk for liver disease (if, for example, you drink heavily or take medications that also stress the liver). Talk to your doctor before taking this remedy, so your liver function can be monitored, and to ensure kava won’t interact with other herbs and prescription medication you may be taking. The herb is not without risks, but it’s less risky than most anti-anxiety drugs, which also carry a threat of liver toxicity-and addiction too.