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Former Australian Deputy Prime Minister falls ill after drinking potent kava drink | CNN


A tour of the Pacific region took a dazed turn for an Australian politician after he downed a cup of a traditional drink in one sitting.

Former Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack was visiting the island of Pohnpei in the Federated States of Micronesia to celebrate 35 years of bilateral relations while touring the Pacific on a delegation, when he was offered sakau – a type of Micronesian kava – as a ceremonial drink.

Kava is a traditional non-alcoholic drink made from the kava kava plant, which promotes relaxation.

“In an attempt to show my respect for local traditions, I drank the entire bowl of sakau,” McCormack tweeted Thursday.

In some parts of the Pacific, a bowl of kava is normally drunk in one sitting. But McCormack soon realized that the potent, Pohnpei-specific kava was a different beast entirely.

in a video From the ceremony shared by the local media, the legislator is seen sitting, with his head in his hands and being fanned, after he seemed to vomit into a black garbage bag.

He was then treated at the hospital for dehydration, according to the CNN affiliate. 7News.

McCormack told the guardian that he went cross-eyed after drinking it and slept for 14 hours after his hospital visit.

“I have not slept like this in my entire parliamentary career. I don’t think I’ve slept like this since I was a teenager,” he told the outlet on Friday.

McCormack added in his tweet that he was feeling much better now and saw the trip as a “great opportunity to connect with our Pacific family.”

CNN has reached out to McCormack for further comment.

According to Pohnpeian tradition, sakau it was gifted by the gods and historically consumed only by the upper class and men. It’s more widely available now, but it’s still made by crushing the root on a special stone and mixing it with water and hibiscus sap, before serving it in a coconut shell.

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