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August 1986

Take Tea and See

Author Affiliations

University of Michigan Dermatology Associates 5305 E Huron River Dr Ypsilanti, MI 48197

Arch Dermatol. 1986;122(8):856. doi:10.1001/archderm.1986.01660200024006

To the Editor.—  Kava-kava, or Piper methysticum, is a plant indigenous to many South Pacific islands. While studies have confirmed the purported mild sedative effect of the ingested extract, several therapeutic protocols had to be revised due to toxic and allergic dermatologic reactions.1 We describe herein a case of a patient with an unusual reaction to kava-kava.

Report of a Case.—  This 44-year-old man presented with a confluent nonpruritic extreme erythema and slight edema involving his entire head and neck, and the upper portions of his back and chest. He reported drinking greater than four cups of kava-kava tea on the previous night, and awoke with the erythema. He was seen at the clinic 12 hours after ingestion and treated with a four-day course of oral prednisone. Involution of the erythema and edema, with some scaling, began one week following the visit.He drank kava-kava tea once before, three