What is Kudzu (Pueraria lobata)?
Kudzu is a fast growing vine which originated in Japan, Fiji and China. It is now rampant in the southeastern United States. While kudzu has sweet smelling flowers, it is an invasive plant which can grow by one foot per day. Its nickname is “the vine that ate the south».
In traditional Chinese medicine (TCM), kudzu is considered one of the 50 fundamental herbs. It is used to treat tinnitus, vertigo, and Wei syndrome (superficial heat).
Despite its lack of popularity in the United States, kudzu has been safely used in traditional medicine for over two thousand years. It has been used to treat alcoholism for six centuries. Kudzu root and flowers have been used by practitioners of traditional Chinese medicine to alleviate fever, headache and muscle aches. It has been used for many years to relieve hot flashes and stabilize people who suffer from mood swings. Other historic uses include: treatment for polio, measles, psoriasis, rashes, fever and dysentery. Kudzu has been employed to alleviate gastritis, flu, hay fever, glaucoma, and migraine headaches.
Kudzu (Pueraria lobata) is one of the earliest medicinal plants used in traditional Chinese medicine. the roots and flowers of kudzu, Radix and Flos puerariae, respectively, have been used to treat alcohol abuse safely and effectively in China for more than a millennium.
Chemical constituents of Kudzu Root extract
Kudzu is rich in isoflavones, flavenoids, plant sterols, and glycosides.The active ingredient is Pueraria Isoflavones, Pueraria Flavonid and Puerarin.
Benefits of taking Kudzu Root extract supplements:
the roots and flowers of kudzu, Radix and Flos puerariae, respectively, have been used to treat alcohol abuse safely and effectively in China for more than a millennium.
If you have a tendency to drink too much alcohol, ingesting kudzu root may help reduce your intake. In a study published in the May 2005 issue of “Alcoholism, Clinical and Experimental Research,” heavy drinkers ingesting kudzu root extract for seven days prior to the experiment drank fewer beers and took more time to drink them than heavy drinkers ingesting placebo. Another study published in the April 2001 issue of the same journal found that ingesting kudzu does not increase the intoxicating effects of alcohol, but it causes a more rapid rise in blood alcohol levels during drinking.
Symptoms of Menopause
Kudzu root isoflavones such as puerarin, daidzein and genistein bind to and activate the estrogen receptor beta. If you suffer from climacteric symptoms of menopause, kudzu phytoestrogens could serve as an alternative to hormone replacement therapy. For example, 50 milligrams of raw kudzu root daily alleviated hot flashes and night sweats in perimenopausal Thai women, according to a study published in the September 2007 “Journal of the Medical Association of Thailand,” and 100 milligrams of kudzu isoflavones daily improved cognitive function in postmenopausal women in a study appearing in the July-August 2003 issue of “Menopause.”
Chronic dietary kudzu isoflavones improve components of metabolic syndrome in stroke-prone spontaneously hypertensive rats. These results indicate that long-term dietary kudzu root extract supplementation can improve glucose, lipid, and blood pressure control in intact and ovariectomized SP-SHR.
Coronary Heart Disease
Kudzu root is used traditionally in China for treating symptoms of coronary heart disease. Puerarin lowers the frequency of angina events, as reported in the May 1998 “Chinese Journal of Integrated Traditional and Western Medicine.” The January 2001 issue of the same journal reported that activated blood platelets can form clots at sites of restricted blood flow in arteries of your heart and brain, and puerarin exhibits anti-platelet activity in coronary heart disease patients. Kudzu puerarin also may act by causing coronary artery relaxation, which lowers blood pressure and increases blood flow.
Food and beverage
The roots contain starch, which has traditionally been used as a food ingredient in East Asia. In Vietnam, the starch is flavoured with pomelo oil and then used as a drink in the summer. In Japan, the plant is known as kuzu and the starch named kuzuko. Kuzuko is used in dishes including kuzumochi, and kuzuyu.
The flowers are used to make a jelly. Roots, flowers, and leaves of Kudzu show antioxidant activity that suggests food uses.
Kudzu has also been used for centuries in East Asia to make tisanes and tinctures.Kudzu powder is used in Japan to make a tisane called kuzuyu.
Side effects and safety of Kudzu Root extract
There are no reported adverse reactions, but kudzu may interact negatively with a variety of medications, including antidiabetic and anticoagulant drugs. Kudzu also demonstrates estrogenic effects and may decrease the effectiveness of hormonal contraceptives.
Dosage of Kudzu Root extract supplement:
Kudzu is sold in capsule, tablet and extract form and the recommended therapeutic dose is 120 to 150 mg daily.