Kudzu

Kudzu

Kudzu, like other members of the Pueraria genus, can be found naturally occurring in a number of Asian countries.

Kudzu root has a long history of use in Eastern medicine. Kudzu root has only recently become popular in the West as a dietary supplement.

You may be curious as to the various kudzu root uses and what you should know before giving it a shot.

The positive and negative effects of consuming kudzu root are discussed.

What it is
The kudzu root, also known as Japanese arrowroot, is a plant that can be found in its natural habitat in China, Japan, and Korea. It has been widely used for centuries in these societies. Currently, kudzu can be found in the southern United States, as well as other parts of the world.

This plant tends to climb and sprawl across other vegetation. For this reason, it has been labelled an invasive weed by some.

Kudzu root has been used in TCM for over 2,000 years to treat a wide variety of ailments, including but not limited to: fevers, diarrhoea, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease.

Kudzu root, when uncooked, looks like other tubers like potatoes or yams. Its skin is tan and its flesh is white, and its form is an oblong.

The kudzu plant is easily confused with poison ivy, so learning to tell the two apart is essential.

SUMMARY

The edible part of the kudzu vine is the kudzu root, which grows wild in many Asian countries. It has been used for centuries in traditional Chinese medicine, and it is similar to other root tubers such as yams.

Uses

Root tea and herbal supplements made from kudzu root are the two most common modern uses for the plant.

Kudzu root, on the other hand, can be eaten. Raw, sautéed, fried, baked, or jellied preparations of the plant’s various parts are common.

The root can be used in the same way as potatoes or rutabaga. Some people use a powder made from dried kudzu roots as a breading for fried foods or a thickener in soups and sauces.

Moreover, the kudzu plant’s leaves, vine tips, and purple flower blossoms can all be eaten.

SUMMARY

Kudzu root is commonly consumed as a tea or herbal supplement. In its dried and powdered forms, it can be used as a breading or thickening agent, or you can simply cook and eat it.

Uses for Kudzu Root

The root of the kudzu plant contains over seventy different plant compounds, some of which may be responsible for the root’s purported health benefits.

Potential to lessen reliance on alcohol
An alcohol use disorder or alcoholism may respond to treatment with kudzu root, according to some research.

Seventeen men, ages 21 to 33, who drank between 22 and 35 drinks per week were included in a single study of kudzu’s effects. For a period of four weeks, participants received either kudzu extract or a placebo from the researchers.

The participants kept diaries throughout the study detailing their alcohol cravings and intake. Though the kudzu extract had no effect on alcohol cravings, it did reduce weekly alcoholic beverage consumption by 34-57%, according to the study’s authors.

In addition, the men who took kudzu significantly increased the number of days in which they went without drinking.

People who took puerarin, an isoflavone extract from the kudzu plant, before drinking had a slower rate of alcohol consumption, according to another study.

This result has also been observed in other research. Drinking was lowered and binge drinking was avoided in some studies after just one dose of kudzu extract.

It’s worth noting that the kudzu extract used in these studies may have included components other than the root. Scientists need to dig deeper into the kudzu root’s effects on human health.

Potential aid in treating liver damage

Antioxidants, found in abundance in kudzu root, help prevent cell damage caused by the oxidative stress that can be a cause of disease. In the kudzu vine, the isoflavone puerarin is the most prevalent antioxidant.

One mouse study found that kudzu vine extract significantly improved the treatment of alcohol-induced liver damage by neutralising free radicals and increasing the body’s antioxidant defences.

In addition, there may be other benefits

More research is needed to determine the full extent of kudzu’s health benefits, but preliminary evidence suggests the root may have additional health advantages.

Here are a few examples:

A possible anti-inflammatory. Animal research has shown that isoorientin, a compound isolated from kudzu root, can improve antioxidant levels and decrease inflammation markers.
Could be beneficial to the heart’s health. Mouse models of burn-induced heart damage showed improvement after treatment with kudzu root. It has also been used in traditional Chinese medicine to treat heart disease, though more research is necessary to draw firm conclusions.
Possible pain relief for very intense headaches. A small case study of 16 people who suffer from cluster headaches on the regular found that kudzu root reduced headache intensity in 69% of people, frequency in 56%, and duration in 31%.

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