MIT researchers are using cutting-edge science to synthesize the feel-good molecules in Kava, which they say could help lead to new treatments in insomnia, anxiety, and pain, reports WBUR.

“What we do in our lab is to actually start from plants that have thousands of years of use in traditional medicine,” says Jing-Ke Weng, a biology professor and member of MIT’s Whitehead Institute. “So we already know there’s something in that plant that works to treat some illness, and we just need to find it.”