FIJIANS should ask more questions about the type of yaqona they buy and drink.
These were the words of German herbal scientist Dr Mathias Schmidt during a chemistry conference at the Fiji National University on Friday.
Dr Schmidt said yaqona drinkers should know that a group of varieties of kava called "tudei" — or two-day — if consumed regularly, could cause liver problems.
He said the main problem in Fiji was that most traders did not know the type of kava they sold.
"So, the suggestion to the reader is ask questions about the type of kava you are drinking, and avoid two-day types," he said.
"The problem here is that traders in the kava market in Suva have no idea what they are selling.
"We convinced ourselves of this on Wednesday afternoon".
Dr Schmidt said the varieties of kava under the two-day group could cause liver problems if consumed regularly.
"Two-day kavas have been linked to the question of liver toxicity in Germany as the problem occurred only after the two-day cultivar Palisi had been introduced in Germany in a pharmaceutical product.
"We made the testing and found that two-day kava contains very high quantities of so-called flavokavins, especially flavokavin B, and there is some evidence that this constituent might be toxic."
Dr Schmidt said noble variety kava drinkers were safe as kava under this group contains only a small quantity of flavokavin B.
"If you drink noble kava you may expect to be safe, because noble varieties only contain small quantities of flavokavin B, not enough to be of concern.
"One or two cups of two-day kava should not kill you either, but we do now know what happens if you drink this regularly and in high quantities."