“Drink Kava like the Islanders did 1000s of years ago”. That is the mantra for responsible kava drinkers worldwide. The Islanders only drank Noble Kava and they avoided the Tudei/Tuday strains. Tuday kava is called “two day” because its effects can linger for 2 days like a bad hangover. The ancient horticulturists took cuttings and propagated only the kava plants that did not display the Tuday characteristics. You can imagine that an Islander who was too hungover to fish would probably be eating root pudding while his neighbor enjoyed fresh fish. In modern life, you don’t want to be hungover when you are taking your final exams or going for that big job interview.
Modern History of Tuday
First of all, before the mid 1990's the kava you got from Vanuatu was pure Noble, the flavor was nice and peppery but not strong and piny like the Tuday kava. The kava back then was also potent and full of Kavain and had chemotypes very much like the Hawaiian kava. Pure Noble kava was a pleasure to drink with strong effects and a great overall sensation. It was not uncommon to accidentally get krunked with this kava. However, since it was Noble Kava, the next day you would still wake up feeling great and with no kava hangover.
In the mid 1990's the kava farmers in Vanuatu were encouraged by kava buyers in China to plant Tuday kava. The Chinese buyers would buy the kava for whatever purpose. The Tuday kava grows faster and is resistant to pest and disease so it was an appealing offer to the farmers. On average, each farmer that planted the Tuday kava planted about 50/50 Tuday and Noble kava. But the farmers never drank the Tuday Kava. They would sell the Tuday and keep the Noble kava for themselves. Suddenly, the Chinese quit buying the Tuday and Vanuatu passed the Vanuatu Act of 2002 which make exporting Tuday Kava Ilegal.
So the farmers were suddenly stuck with all these Tuday kava plants and a big investment in time and money. They couldn’t afford afford to just throw away the Tuday kava. Their solution was to harvest both Noble and Tuday Kava, dry them, and mix small amounts of Tuday with the Noble. This “blended” kava allowed them to get under the radar of the Vanuatu authorities. And so the effects and the taste of Noble Kava were suddenly changed and for the worse. People thought they were buying Noble Kava but they were buying a blend. So how do you know if the kava you bought is noble or not?
Testing the Kava for Nobility
The Kava Laboratories at True Kava have the equipment to test kava for Tudei and test for chemotype as well. The Acetone Test will turn orange if the Kava has a large percent of Tuday. There are many shades of grey as they say but in this case there are many shades of yellow and Harpo's Lab equipment was able to see the differences in each kava sample more clearly. The test equipment examines the kava and assigns it a numeric value. The higher the value the less the Nobility of the kava.. The lower number will show as a lighter yellow color. The lighter the color the more Noble the kava. . When a Kava has a score of over 3200, then you are getting into Tuday territory. Though the acetone test might show a shade of yellow, Harpo’s equipment was able to give us percentages of Tuday present in the kava.
I should note that this colorimetric test is extremely accurate. Dr Lebot is the creator of the Acetone Test and out of the hundreds and hundreds of kava samples he has tested, he has never had any false positives or false negatives. The molecule that makes the color difference in the “blended” kava is not found in the Noble kava. Just a note, this test is only looking for the color difference in the Noble and Tuday kava, it does not tell the chemotype or the total kavalactone content. For chemotype and Kavalactone content, we use HPLC Testing (High Pressure Liquid Chromatography).
Why is Tudei Bad?
As I mentioned earlier, the Islanders did not drink Tuday Kava and their growing techniques weeded out the Tuday Kavas and they sought to only propagate Noble Kava. They did not like the bad side efffects of Tuday kava and they refused to drink it on a daily basis.
So what are some of the side effects of Tuday Kava? First off, the Tuday kava can be hard on your stomach. It can give you nausea and in extreme cases, it can make you vomit. And of course, you will feel the effects for two days and this is what we call a Kava Hangover. It is known that the DHK and the DHM in Kava is a major factor in Dermopathy, a mild skin condition that causes redness, scaliness, and peeling of the skin. Dermopathy is typically caused by excessive Kava use. Tuday kava seems to encourage Dermopathy more so than Noble kava. When the farmers blend Tuday with Noble kava, the DHK and DHM content are increased. So when you drink it you will get that heavy body effect which lingers into the next day and gives you a kava hangover.
Scientist are still investigating Tuday to determine other bad characteristics. The Ni Vanuatu, the people of Vanuatu, are done investigating. They have known for 1000s of years that Tuday is not for every day drinking and is only used in ceremony. When used in ceremonies, they drank it sparingly and did not make it a typical all night affair. They knew that Tuday would give them a bad hangover and they would not be able to perform their chores the next day.
Allow me to brag that the Kava at Gourmet Hawaiian Kava was found to be 100 percent Noble. I grow the kava, I process the kava, I sell the kava, and I don’t like Tuday Kava. One more note. I know that many people will argue that Tuday Kava won’t hurt them and they are going to drink it anyway. That’s fine as long as you don’t intent do kick out of bed at the break of dawn and go to work. Or maybe you do it on Saturday because you intend to sleep all day on Sunday. I have no argument with that. But I highly recommend that you do not drink Tuday Kava if you intend to be 100 percent productive the next day.