Health effects of kava use in an eastern Arnhem Land Aboriginal community

A. R. Clough, S. P. Jacups, Z. Wang, C. B. Burns, R. S. Bailie, S. J. Cairney, A. Collie, T. Guyula, Stephen McDonald, Bart J. Currie

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

44 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Background: Heavy kava use in Aboriginal communities has been linked to various health effects, including anecdotes of sudden cardiac deaths. Aims: To examine associations between kava use and potential health effects. Methods: A cross-sectional study was carried out within a kava-using east Arnhem Land Aboriginal community in tropical northern Australia. One-hundred-and-one adults who were current, recent or non-users of kava were enrolled in March 2000. Main outcome measures were physical, anthropometric, biochemical, haematological, immunological and neurocognitive assessments. Results: Kava users more frequently showed a characteristic dermopathy (P < 0.001). They had increased levels of γ-glutamyl transferase and alkaline phosphatase (P < 0.001). Lymphocyte counts were significantly lower in kava users (P < 0.001). Fibrinogen, plasminogen activator inhibitor-1 and neurocognitive tests were not different between kava use categories. IgE and IgG antibodies were elevated across the whole group, as were C-reactive protein and homocysteine. Conclusions: Kava use was associated with dermopathy, liver function abnormalities and decreased lymphocytes. If kava continues to be used by Aboriginal populations, monitoring should focus on the health consequences of these findings, including a possible increase in serious infections. The interaction between kava, alcohol and other substances requires further study. Although markers of cardiovascular risk are increased across the population, these were not higher in kava users, and this increase may be linked to the large infectious pathogen burden reflective of the socioeconomic disadvantage seen in many remote Aboriginal communities.

LanguageEnglish
Pages336-340
Number of pages5
JournalInternal Medicine Journal
Volume33
Issue number8
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2003
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Aboriginal people
  • C-reactive protein
  • Immunoglobulins
  • Kava
  • Substance-related disorders

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Internal Medicine

Cite this

Clough, A. R., Jacups, S. P., Wang, Z., Burns, C. B., Bailie, R. S., Cairney, S. J., ... Currie, B. J. (2003). Health effects of kava use in an eastern Arnhem Land Aboriginal community. Internal Medicine Journal, 33(8), 336-340. https://doi.org/10.1046/j.1444-0903.2003.00405.x
Clough, A. R. ; Jacups, S. P. ; Wang, Z. ; Burns, C. B. ; Bailie, R. S. ; Cairney, S. J. ; Collie, A. ; Guyula, T. ; McDonald, Stephen ; Currie, Bart J. / Health effects of kava use in an eastern Arnhem Land Aboriginal community. In: Internal Medicine Journal. 2003 ; Vol. 33, No. 8. pp. 336-340.
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Clough, AR, Jacups, SP, Wang, Z, Burns, CB, Bailie, RS, Cairney, SJ, Collie, A, Guyula, T, McDonald, S & Currie, BJ 2003, 'Health effects of kava use in an eastern Arnhem Land Aboriginal community', Internal Medicine Journal, vol. 33, no. 8, pp. 336-340. https://doi.org/10.1046/j.1444-0903.2003.00405.x

Health effects of kava use in an eastern Arnhem Land Aboriginal community. / Clough, A. R.; Jacups, S. P.; Wang, Z.; Burns, C. B.; Bailie, R. S.; Cairney, S. J.; Collie, A.; Guyula, T.; McDonald, Stephen; Currie, Bart J.

In: Internal Medicine Journal, Vol. 33, No. 8, 01.08.2003, p. 336-340.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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Clough AR, Jacups SP, Wang Z, Burns CB, Bailie RS, Cairney SJ et al. Health effects of kava use in an eastern Arnhem Land Aboriginal community. Internal Medicine Journal. 2003 Aug 1;33(8):336-340. https://doi.org/10.1046/j.1444-0903.2003.00405.x