Kratom vs Kava - How You Can Get the Greatest Benefit

Kratom and Kava are very similar and even used interchangeably. However, it’s important to remember that Kratom and Kava are NOT the same things. They are very different plants that offer similar benefits. 

In this article, we observe and define Kratom and Kava. We discuss their similarities and differences, as well as give some guidance about whether or not they should be used together

Featured Image depicting dueling packets of Happy Hippo Branded Fijian Waka Kava Powder on the left, and a packet of Green Maeng Da Kratom Powder on the Right. A White bowl containing loose powder sits in front of each amazing botanical.
July 01, 2022
1 Comment
6 min read

Humans and all beings alike have an innate connection to nature - Earth.

Since ancient times, the human race has relied on the Earth’s natural resources to help support a healthy and happy lifestyle. Plants were used as the primary source of medicine and food. Some were even manufactured into useful tools. 

Out of all the amazing botanicals we could talk about, we want to focus on a couple that we carry at Happy Hippo - Kratom and Kava. In Southeast Asia and the South Pacific Islands, these botanicals are used traditionally for the various benefits they offer. 

Kratom and Kava are very similar and even used interchangeably. Many of the effects and benefits associated with these plants are comparable. However, it’s important to remember that Kratom and Kava are NOT the same things. 

They are very different plants that offer similar benefits. 

In this article, we are going to observe and define Kratom and Kava. We will discuss their similarities and differences, as well as give you some guidance about whether or not they should be used together

What is Kratom?

Kratom is a botanical byproduct of Mitragyna Speciosa, an evergreen tree that thrives in tropical conditions. It can be found growing naturally in the rainforests of Thailand, Indonesia, Malaysia, Vietnam, and other surrounding countries. Many are surprised to learn that Kratom comes from the same family of plants as coffee; Rubiaceae!

Dating back to the nineteenth century, Kratom has been used as a form of herbal medicine by the natives. Historically, they would chew on the raw leaves to obtain the effects. Nowadays, most Kratom is found in a powdered form. The powder is made into Kratom Tea, Kratom capsules, or consumed by means of “Toss and Wash”. 

Kratom contains over 40 active compounds known as “alkaloids”. The two most abundant alkaloids are called Mitragynine and 7-Hydroxymitragynine. These are responsible for the majority of Kratom’s effects. 

Like other plant species, Kratom comes in a variety of strains. The different strains are based on the vein color of the leaf when harvested, as well as the region in which the plant was cultivated.

Popular Kratom strains include: 

Learn more about different types of Kratom

Kratom Effects

What are the effects associated with Kratom?

  • Discomfort Relief: Scientific studies suggest that Kratom helps curb physical discomfort.
  • Relaxation and Comfort: Kratom provides calming effects for individuals needing a restful night’s sleep. It relaxes your muscles, too, which may help alleviate any tension from strenuous activities.
  • May aid with Social Jitters: The calm feeling that accompanies Kratom supports a relaxed mentality and provides a more pro-social attitude.
  • Provides Mental Clarity: Kratom can provide intense focus and mental clarity, creating motivation and determination to help tackle everything life throws your way. 

Kratom Speeds

Another method of categorizing Kratom strains is by Kratom Speed. It characterizes strains on a spectrum between energy and relaxation.  

We developed this technique to help our customers who are new to Kratom better understand what effects a certain Kratom strain will provide. 

The Kratom Speeds are Fast, Moderate, or Slow.  

The concepts of Fast, Moderate, and Slow are displayed on our Kratom Strain Chart.

What is Kava? 

Kava is indigenous to the South Pacific Islands. Melanesia, Polynesia, Micronesia, and Hawaii are the true homes of Kava culture. Its scientific name is Piper Methystyicum which translates to “intoxicating pepper”. This special plant is known by many names including Kava Kava (Tongan), ‘Awa (Hawaiian), Yagona (Fijian), Malok (Vanuatu), and more. 

Like Kratom, Kava has been used in traditional medicine for centuries. It’s extremely valued. In fact, Kava is considered a sacred botanical. Indigenous tribes use it in many traditional ceremonies and social gatherings. The appearance of Kava in traditional ceremonies has been traced back as far as 3,000 years.

The active compounds found in the roots of the Kava plant are known as Kavalactones. The primary Kavalactones responsible for the effects are Methysticin, Dihydromethysticin, Kavain/Kawain, Dihydrokavain/Kawain, Desmethoxyyangonin, and Yangonin.

Kava Effects

What are the effects associated with Kava? 

  • Relaxation: Kava can help relax your mind and the muscles in your body. It’s also associated with relief from physical discomfort.
  • Happy Well-Being: Most users report feelings of contentment and joy after taking Kava.
  • Restful Sleep: When taken in larger amounts, Kava provides deep relaxation that may cause drowsiness and aid restful, rejuvenating sleep. Be cautious when taking Kava in high servings, and do not take it before operating a vehicle. 

Is Kava Safe to Use?

Kava is considered generally safe to use in moderate amounts. Always use Kava in moderation and with caution.

However, before using just any Kava, it's super important to make sure that you have a high-quality product. This goes for ALL botanical products. There are some bad vendors out there who sell cheap, yucky botanicals that can potentially be dangerous. So, take your time and research trustworthy vendors before purchasing or using any botanicals.

Infographic image depicting a white bowl heaped with loose botanical powder. The powder is split right down the middle with green-hued Kratom Powder on the left, and pale-hued Kava Root Powder on the right. On each half of the image, text callouts point to each product highlighting the pros and cons associated with Kratom vs kava.

Kratom vs Kava Legality

One of the main differences between Kratom and Kava is their respective reputation in the public eye.

Although both botanical substances provide similar benefits and have been used as herbal remedies for thousands of years, the lack of scientific study has caused some government officials to be skeptical of their true nature. This is especially relevant for Kratom.  

Is Kava Legal?

Kava is legal throughout the United States and most of the world. There are no restrictions on Kava in the United States. After many, many years - Kava is finally becoming more accepted as a safe botanical. 


Is Kratom Legal?

The legality of Kratom is more complex. Kratom is federally legal in the United States, but certain states have passed laws that restrict it completely. 

Here is a complete list of states where Kratom is restricted: 

  1. Wisconsin
  2. Indiana
  3. Arkansas
  4. Alabama 
  5. Vermont
  6. Rhode Island

All the same, there are some states whose municipalities have chosen to put laws in place that restrict Kratom on a local level.

  1. Colorado: Denver restricted Kratom in city limits for human consumption. A couple of other towns have recently placed temporary retail restrictions, too.
  2. California: Kratom is restricted in San Diego and Oceanside, but remains legal throughout the rest of the state.
  3. New Hampshire: You can buy and take Kratom in all parts of the state except for the city of Franklin.
  4. Mississippi: Even with Kratom legal, over 20 cities have made Kratom illegal locally. Plus, almost a dozen counties have done the same. You should contact your local government if you live there. Laws are constantly changing. 
  5. Illinois: So far, four cities have taken it upon themselves to restrict Kratom. In Alton, Edwardsville, Glen Carbon, and Jerseyville, Kratom is illegal.
  6. Florida: Right now, Kratom is legal everywhere in Florida except for Sarasota County. Stay clear of that county when possessing Kratom.

Local laws are ever-changing, and it’s wise to stay updated with your government if you live in any of the states mentioned above.  


Should You Use Kratom and Kava Together?

Short answer: Yes, Kratom and Kava can be taken together.

However, mixing substances can be dangerous, so we don't normally recommend mixing Kratom and Kava.

If you do mix them, be extremely mindful of your serving size. 

There are very few studies on how Kratom and Kava interact when taken together at the same time. Using both at the same time can increase the risk of taking too large of a serving, resulting in adverse effects including nausea, headaches, or irritability. 

For your safety, it’s best to avoid mixing substances or taking them simultaneously. If you want to use Kratom and Kava on the same day, we recommend waiting a few hours in between servings.  

Instead of mixing Kratom and Kava, a better option would be to find a particularly Slow (Relaxing/Calming) Kratom strain such as Red Bali, Red Sumatra, or White Horn. 

What is a Kava Bar / Kratom Bar?

Kava Bars combine the services of a traditional bar and a cafe/coffee shop. Kava Bars are usually more health-conscious than places like alcohol bars, smoke shops, and head shops. 

They serve a variety of specialized drinks that incorporate different herbal botanicals - herbal teas, smoothies, Kombucha, and other goodies. Some botanicals you may find at a Kava Bar can include Kratom, Kava, CBD, Maca Root, Kanna, and more. 

Due to the diverse menu options, these establishments aren’t always called “Kava Bars”. They can also be called CBD Bars, Juice Bars, Kratom Bars, or Herbal Juice Bars.

Kava Bars are a fun, safe, and social environment where you can go to relax and unwind. They are great places to meet new people who have similar values to yours. 

How do Kava and Kratom Compare to CBD?

CBD (CannaBiDiol) is another popular botanical that is used for its assortment of benefits. It’s the second most abundant cannabinoid (next to THC; TetraHydroCannabinol) in the Cannabis plant. 

CBD is non-psychotropic, non-addictive, and has been shown to help reduce the discomfort of the body. Some studies show that CBD has the potential to manage epilepsy, PTSD, Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), insomnia, and anxiety. In some states, CBD is actually prescribed to patients.

So, how does CBD compare to Kratom and Kava? 

Well, again, they have similar benefits despite being completely separate plants with different active compounds. Each has its pros and cons. They can all be used for their specific benefits, but we highly recommend using these substances separately. 


Regardless of their congruent nature, Kratom and Kava are far from the same thing. Knowing the differences and similarities between these substances will make it easier for you to decide which will benefit you the most. 

Whatever your decision may be, it is vitally important to use high-quality, exceptional botanicals. Never settle for cheap, bunk products. Not only are they a complete waste of money, but they can also be dangerous if purchased from a corrupt vendor.

Our advice? Buy from your friends at Happy Hippo 

We have a team of real professionals that go above and beyond to provide the finest products and services. Mind-blowingly fast shipping. Knowledgeable and helpful customer service. Lab-tested, safe, and high-quality Kratom products. Easy-to-navigate website. Weekly sales. Extensive Kratom education on our Kratom Blog

You really can’t get better than that. 

Check out our exceptional Vanuatu Ceremonial Kava and Fijian Super Waka Kava.

DISCLAIMER: Kratom and Kava remain unregulated by the FDA, the authors of this text would like to note that although this article contains many points regarding the use of Kratom and Kava, they should only serve as a piece of information, not medical advice.

Kratom and Kava are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease or condition. 

Make sure to speak to a physician if you have questions before using Kratom or Kava.

Please note that all comments are reviewed and must be approved before being published.

Article Comments

1 Comment

I love how informational this blog was, thanks guy’s. I didn’t realize you shouldn’t combine the two. I recently started a kava based liquid extract for anxiety and am wondering if the combination may have been attributing to headaches and not just tired eyes! I’ll try hours between usage and see!