Xuan, T.D., Fukuta, M., Wei, A.C. et al. J Nat Med (2008) 62: 188. doi:10.1007/s11418-007-0203-2
The chemical composition of kava (Piper methysticum) lactones and various phytochemicals obtained following the sonication of ground kava roots extracted in the solvents hexane, chloroform, acetone, ethanol, methanol and water, respectively, was analyzed. Eighteen kava lactones, cinnamic acid bornyl ester and 5,7-dimethoxy-flavanone, known to be present in kava roots, were identified, and seven compounds, including 2,5,8-trimethyl-1-naphthol, 5-methyl-1-phenylhexen-3-yn-5-ol, 8,11-octadecadienoic acid-methyl ester, 5,7-(OH)2-4′-one-6,8-dimethylflavanone, pinostrobin chalcone and 7-dimethoxyflavanone-5-hydroxy-4′, were identified for the first time. Glutathione (26.3 mg/g) was found in the water extract. Dihydro-5,6-dehydrokavain (DDK) was present at a higher level than methysticin and desmethoxyyagonin, indicating that DDK is also a major constituent of kava roots. Acetone was the most effective solvent in terms of maximum yield and types of kava lactones isolated, followed by water and chloroform, whereas hexane, methanol, and ethanol were less effective as solvents. Total phenolic and antioxidant activity varied among the extracting solvents, with acetone and chloroform producing the highest effects, followed by water, while methanol, ethanol and hexane were less effective.