Kudzu

Also indexed as:Pueraria lobata
Kudzu: Main Image © Steven Foster
Botanical names:
Pueraria lobata

How It Works

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.5

A 1993 animal study showed that both daidzin and daidzein inhibit the desire for alcohol.6 The authors concluded the root extract may be useful for reducing the urge for alcohol and as treatment for alcoholism. However, a small controlled clinical trial with alcoholic adults taking 1.2 grams of kudzu two times per day failed to show any effect on decreasing alcohol consumption or cravings.7 On the other hand, supplementing with a kudzu extract (1,000 mg three times a day for seven days) significantly reduced the amount of beer consumed by heavy alcohol drinkers in a short-term experiment.8

How to Use It

The 1985 Chinese Pharmacopoeia suggests 9–15 grams of kudzu root per day.9 In China, standardized root extracts (10 mg tablet is equivalent to 1.5 grams of the crude root) are used to treat angina pectoris. Some sources recommend 30–120 mg of the extract two to three times per day.

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The information presented in Aisle7 is for informational purposes only. It is based on scientific studies (human, animal, or in vitro), clinical experience, or traditional usage as cited in each article. The results reported may not necessarily occur in all individuals. Self-treatment is not recommended for life-threatening conditions that require medical treatment under a doctor's care. For many of the conditions discussed, treatment with prescription or over the counter medication is also available. Consult your doctor, practitioner, and/or pharmacist for any health problem and before using any supplements or before making any changes in prescribed medications. Information expires June 2015.