In the ongoing debate about Tudei Kava, there are certain facts that you cannot escape. Here is what we know at this time:
The Islanders did not drink Tudei on a daily basis. On occasion they would drink it ceremonially but the Kava sessions were short. They did not like the bad effects of Tudei and they propagated only those Kava plants with Noble effects and they weeded out the rest. That’s why we say, “Drink Kava Safely the way the Islanders did for 1000s of years".
By definition, Noble Kava is the result of selective breeding by the Islanders for thousands of years. The Noble Kava does not cause Nausea or produce a Kava Hangover. The Islanders could not afford to be sick the next day. If you can’t hunt, fish, or farm; then you and your family don’t eat. Simple as that.
In the 1990s, farmers in Vanuatu were contracted to grow Tudei kava for the international market. It was being used to make powerful extracts for the Pharma Market. A few years later, the market for tudei kava suddenly disappeared and the farmers were stuck with fields of tudei. Rather than take a huge financial loss, they started blending it with their noble Kava and are still doing that to this day. It is noteworthy that the farmers themselves do not drink Tudei but are happy to sell it to you. Here is a link to an article Chris Allen which offers a short history of Kava the 1990s and how it effects us today. The Acetone Test can produce a range of yellow to amber color. The change in color is due to a molecule that is only found in Tudei but not in “Noble" Kava. The more amber the color of the solution, the more Tudei in the Kava. The Acetone Test is a do it yourself test that can be performed at home. Acetone is basically fingernail polish remover and you can also buy it at your local hardware store. The Kava Testing Lab at TrueKava.com uses expensive equipment that includes a Colorimeter. When reading their test results, you will see the most Noble kavas scoring on top of their list (light yellow) and the least noble at the bottom (dark amber). Their Web Site regularly posts their test results here.
Dr. Lebot said, “Nobles were yellow, all two-days were amber and all wichmannii were brown. The molecule responsible for the color change is indeed a compound unique to Tudei kava (which is genetically distinct from noble kava) and that this molecule is biosynthesized by a peculiar genotype". So both the Acetone test and Harpo’s Method test for the present of the tudei molecule.
Tudie can cause minor problems like nausea, increased dermopathy, and overall lethargy the next day. We call this lethargy a kava hangover. Kava drinkers are finally able to put a finger on what is giving them these side effects as witnessed by the many postings on the Kava Forum. It's not the bad burrito you ate the night before but it is the tudei in the kavas sold by some vendors (not all).
There is no concrete scientific proof that Tudei is toxic to the liver. These studies are still being done and we are promised that the results will be released soon.
The on going discussion about Tudie is not so much about the side effects of Tudie than it is about “Truth in Advertising”. There are many who do get sick on Tudei but not everyone. Those who DO NOT like the effects of Tudei would like to know that their everyday drinking kava is not blended with something that is going to make them sick.
Those who DO LIKE the heavy effects of Tudei and who do not get sick, have the right to say that there is nothing wrong with tudei (for them). But you cannot detract from the fact that it does make others sick and that the Islanders, who drank kava safely for thousands of years, refused to drink Tudei on a daily basis .
It is though that a high amount of DHM and DHK are responsible for the bad effects of Tudei. Here is one quote: "Ethnobotanical data shows that drinkers do not prefer a high percentage of DHM (5) and DHK (2), because the physiological effects are too severe and nausea is often felt. The most appreciated chemotypes have a high percentage of K (4) and low percentage of DHM (5) and DHK (2).
"Planting the Future: Saving Our Medicinal Herbs, kava by Tane Datta"
Lastly, it is widely agreed upon that the kava vendors are not intentionally blending their kava. The farmers are blending it and the vendors are remiss for not testing the kava. So there is an outcry for the vendors to start testing their kava and let the farmers know that they are not going to accept “blended” Kavas. After all, money talks.