Product No. P11075
Kudzu is a coarse, high-climbing, perennial vine. It grows in most shaded areas on mountains, in fields and thickets, and within sparse forests throughout most of China and the south-eastern United States.
Kudzu root is high in isoflavones such as daidzein, as well as isoflavone glycosides, such as daidzin and puerarin. Depending on its growing conditions, the total isoflavone content varies from 1.77–12.0%, with puerarin in the highest concentration, followed by daidzin and daidzein.
The huge root, which can grow to around six feet tall, is the source of many medicinal preparations used in traditional Chinese medicine (where it is referred to as ge-gen) and modern herbal products. The first written mention of the plant as a medicine is in the ancient herbal text of Shen Nong (circa A.D. 100).
Kudzu was introduced to the United States in 1876 by the Japanese government at the Centennial Exposition in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The large leaves and sweet-smelling blooms of kudzu captured the imagination of American gardeners who used the plant for ornamental purposes. Florida nursery operators discovered that animals liked the plant and so promoted its use for forage in the 1920’s. During the Great Depression of the 1930s, the Soil Conservation Service promoted kudzu for erosion control, and hundreds of young men were given work planting kudzu through the Civilian Conservation Corps. Farmers were paid as much as eight dollars an acre as incentive to plant fields of the vines in the 1940’s.
In Traditional Chinese Medicine, kudzu root is used in preparations for the treatment of ‘wei’, or ‘superficial’, syndrome, headaches, colds, flu, chest pain and neck pain due to high blood pressure. It is also recommended for allergies and diarrhoea, and is used in modern Chinese medicine as a treatment for angina pectoris. Research indicates that a compound in the root (an isoflavone called puerarin) increases blood flow to the heart and brain, which may explain certain traditional uses.
In recent years, Chinese healers have reported success in reducing alcohol cravings by using kudzu preparations. Studies conducted in the 1990’s showed that the daidzin and daidzein compounds in the root notably reduced alcohol consumption in hamsters and rats that had been specially bred to crave alcohol. It was found that the compounds inhibit the enzymes crucial to metabolising alcohol. Initial research in humans has not been so successful, and more research is needed to determine whether kudzu can effectively control alcohol cravings in humans.
Kudzu is available in various forms, including capsules, tablets, and sliced or chopped dried root.
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