‎Diet Science: Common Kudzu Root has Many Culinary Uses and also Reduces Alcohol Cravings on Apple Podcasts

This article examines the benefits, uses, and potential side effects of kudzu root. In 2012, I ordered some high quality organic kudzu capsules after reading about the potential for kudzu to curb alcohol consumption. I took several capsules per day before drinking, and went through all of the kudzu in about one month. In 2003, David Overstreet and other scientists found the herb to be effective in reducing alcohol intake on rats. Currently, commonly prescribed anti-drinking drugs such as disulfiram , naltrexone , and acamprosate , cause several side effects. For example, drowsiness and headaches are common side effects of Antabuse. Studies of daidzin may lead to an anti-drinking drug for alcohol treatment that causes fewer side effects. After placebo treatment, three people drank five beers and one drank six.

The people who received a dose of kudzu extract drank significantly less beer than they usually did. One study in mice found that kudzu vine extract had a positive effect in the treatment of liver damage by boosting the natural antioxidant system. Some evidence suggests kudzu root may help with liver damage, while other preliminary evidence suggests it may cause liver injury in certain cases. Scientists need to do more research on the effects of kudzu root in humans to investigate these effects in the liver. While scientists need to do more research on the health effects of kudzu, some studies suggest that kudzu root may have other health benefits worth considering. Another study found that people who took puerarin, an isoflavone extract from the kudzu plant, prior to drinking took longer to consume alcoholic beverages . When alcohol is consumed, kudzu may reduce the time it takes for it to travel to the brain. A slightly increased concentration of alcohol in the brain results in a quicker reward, which in turn reduces a person’s desire to drink more alcohol.

An extract of the Chinese herbal root kudzu reduces alcohol drinking by heavy drinkers in a naturalistic setting.

Standardized root tablets (10 mg tablet is equivalent to 1.5 grams of the crude root) are sometimes used for angina pectoris in the amount of 30 to 120 mg per day. Kudzu is a coarse, high-climbing, twining, trailing, perennial vine. The huge root, which can grow to the size of kudzu root for alcohol cravings a human, is the source of medicinal preparations used in Traditional Chinese Medicine and modern herbal products. Kudzu grows in most shaded areas in mountains, fields, along roadsides, thickets, and thin forests throughout most of China and the southeastern United States.
kudzu root for alcohol cravings
If that were the case, taking the drug would help people get drunk faster rather than helping them drink less. Bitter herbs have a long and successful tradition of use for a number of health purposes . Bitters have been used for centuries to improve digestion, and are still commonly used in many cuisines to be taken before meals to stimulate digestive powers. It used to be assumed that bitters only stimulated receptors in the mouth, and then somewhat in the digestive tract. It has been demonstrated however, that bitter receptors exist throughout the entire gastro-intestinal tract .

1 Alcohol Consumption

Franke et al. cite studies showing that about 60% of vegetarians and Asians produce equol, whereas only about 30% to 35% of omnivores do so. They are now studying a single large dose before a planned drinking session to see if it works, too. The kudzu root is already widely sold as a dietary supplement. At the dose used in the study, three weeks’ worth costs about $6. During the week of puerarin treatment, they drank slightly less than during the placebo week — three drinks a day compared to 3.4. More remedies are needed to help drinkers who overdo it cut down, Penetar says.
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When triggered by bitter compounds, these receptors then stimulate a myriad of bodily functions [19-21]. In addition to digestion, these receptors promote absorption of nutrients, blood sugar homeostasis, and can even help with weight control. Moreover, specific bitter receptors seem to promote the elimination of absorbed toxins from the gut [22-24]. It also cut the number of heavy drinking days and increased the number of days they didn’t drink at all. One is that it raises your blood alcohol levels faster, which means you may feel intoxicated sooner. Some people also use it to treat the anxiety and depression that go along with alcohol addiction and withdrawal. Applications of Pueraria lobata in treating diabetics and reducing alcohol drinking.

Teas That Help Brain Function

“For more than 2,000 years, Asian cultures have found great value in kudzu,” the article states. Like getting rid of kudzu, Diamond says you have to attack the roots. The key to beating alcohol dependence is to control the craving to drink. “It is also possible that there is another, as yet undiscovered compound in the mixture that accounts for the effects. Thus, the mechanism of action of the kudzu extract remains unknown.” Declinol is blended formula developed by one of us consisting of a number of key ingredients such as Kudzu, Bitter Herbs and Bupleurum and other herbals . The primary indication of this complex and the pilot study described in this article involve Declinol’s effect in alcoholism. Because this the first report on Declinol, we are compelled to briefly review these three important ingredients role in alcoholism including both central and peripheral actions. Natural therapies could help reduce cravings and ease withdrawal symptoms. Ashwagandha is sometimes used for alcohol withdrawal and cravings. In studies with alcohol-addicted mice, ashwagandha seemed to relieve anxiety.

  • It may help regulate blood pressure in patients diagnosed with primary hypertension, a risk factor for heart disease.
  • McLean Hospital has a licensing agreement with NPI for the extract.
  • Excessive alcohol consumption is a leading cause of illness worldwide (Shield et al., 2013) and has a significant impact on the health of millions people.
  • Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  • Moreover, in vitro, daidzin potently suppresses hamster liver mitochondria-catalyzed acetaldehyde oxidation.

Importantly, 40% of these patients relapsed more than five times indicating serious problems with alcohol abuse/dependence. Certainly we caution any real interpretation which must await further study. Declinol utilizes a proprietary and patent-pending encapsulation technology that enhances the absorption and bio-availability of its herbal compounds. The active ingredients are all encapsulated, or enveloped, using specific processing techniques, within phosphatidyl choline based spheres that act as transport vehicles. The process mimics natural actions that take place within the gut to enable proper absorption of nutrients, especially phyto-nutrients and fat soluble vitamins. The body’s own process in this regard creates micelles, single layer or unilamellar spheres in the size range of approximately 100 nanometers that typically can transport single nutrients. However due to dietary and physiological inefficiency, this process can often be hampered. The technology utilized with Declinol creates multi-layer or multi-lamellar spheres that are readily available and can transport multiple nutrients simultaneously. The nature of these spheres, possessing several layers, also allows both fat and water soluble nutrients to be combined in the same sphere. Chai hu , one of the most frequently used herbs in Chinese herbal medicine, has positive benefits in cases of liver toxicity especially due to alcoholism , analgesic properties as well as sedative activity .

Kudzu’s alteration of alcohol consumption may be through direct effects at brain benzodiazepine receptors on the GABAA complex. Regardless of the mechanism of action, the present finding that a modest, single dose of kudzu extract reduces binge drinking has profound implications as it offers a unique opportunity for early intervention for problem drinkers. As an herbal plant extract, kudzu can be made available without a prescription. While it does not completely eliminate drinking, it is clearly effective in significantly reducing intake, which offers individuals an opportunity to engage in more responsible drinking patterns. As a safe, over-the-counter preparation, kudzu may be used alone in initial attempts to curb alcohol consumption, but it may also become a useful adjunct to the currently available prescription medications. This latter scenario might very well permit the use of lower doses of prescription medications and thus reduce the incidence of side effects.

The room contained a small sink with an under-the-counter refrigerator where the beverages were kept.

1 Participants

Ashwagandha is an herbal supplement made from the Withania somnifera plant. Mindfulness therapies have been used to keep people from relapsing. Relapse is when someone resumes drinking in unhealthy ways after a period of recovery. In one of the studies in the review, researchers compared a real acupuncture treatment to a fake one. In the real treatment, researchers placed needles into zones linked to alcohol-related behaviors. In the sham treatment, they placed needles into other areas of the body. Verywell Health articles are reviewed by board-certified physicians and healthcare professionals.

What are the benefits of kudzu root?

Kudzu is an herb used in Chinese medicine to treat alcoholism, heart disease, menopausal symptoms, diabetes, fever, the common cold, and neck or eye pain. It is sometimes used in combination with other herbs. Lab studies suggest that kudzu has anti-inflammatory and neuroprotective properties.

Americans consider it an invasive weed, but in Asia, where it originated, parts of the plant have been used for centuries to treat alcohol dependence. This lack of bitter flavor ingestion compromises not only overall health, but may allow for a greater risk of alcohol intake. The bitter compounds contained in Declinol can promote better health overall, while also helping to better ensure that the TAS2R receptors in the human gut are stimulated adequately. Kudzu root is available in lots of forms including capsules, liquid extracts, and powder. You can ingest it directly, or mix it with other foods or drinks. There’s not a recommended dosage for kudzu root, but there have been human studies that can help guide you. One animal study found that isoorientin, a compound isolated from kudzu root, boosted antioxidant levels and reduced inflammation markers in mice with swollen paws .

The first written mention of the plant as a medicine is in the ancient herbal text of Shen Nong (circa A.D. 100). The historical application for drunkenness has become a major focal point of modern research on kudzu. It is also used in modern Chinese medicine as a treatment for angina pectoris. In this recent study, the researchers gave twelve participants different schedules of placebo or kudzu pills, and then observed the effects of drinking a set amount of vodka. They tested steadiness of gait, body sway, how well participants could stand upright, and how drunk they said they felt, among other factors. The researchers found that these types of responses were not intensified if participants had taken kudzu, suggesting that the drug does not work by increasing the intensity or duration of alcohol’s effects. And rats given the drug weren’t willing to press a lever as many times to try to get a drink — the closest model scientists have to measuring rats’ alcohol cravings.

How do you use kudzu root powder?

Kudzu roots can be dried and ground into a powder, which some people use as breading for fried foods or as a thickener for soups and sauces. What's more, the kudzu plant leaves, vine tips, and purple flower blossoms are also edible. People typically use kudzu root as an herbal supplement or tea.

Keung WM, Lazo O, Kunze L, Vallee BL. Daidzin suppresses ethanol consumption by Syrian golden hamsters without blocking acetaldehyde metabolism. Heyman GM, Keung WM, Vallee BL. Daidzin decreases ethanol consumption in rats. Bohn MJ, Krahn DD, Staehler BA. Development and initial validation of a measure of drinking urges in abstinent alcoholics. Effects of elevated female sex steroids on ethanol and acetaldehyde metabolism in humans. Therapeutic lessons from traditional Oriental medicine to contemporary Occidental pharmacology. We invite you to share your thoughts with others, but remember that our comment section is a public forum.
kudzu root for alcohol cravings
Some health companies sell the kudzu root species Pueraria mirifica as a supplement for menopausal and postmenopausal women. People often eat different parts of the plant raw, sautéed, deep-fried, baked, or jellied. Chris Scott founded Fit Recovery in 2014 to help people from around the world dominate alcohol dependence and rebuild their lives from scratch. A former investment banker, he recovered from alcohol dependence using cutting-edge methods that integrate nutrition, physiology, and behavioral change. Today, Chris is an Sober Home Alcohol Recovery Coach and the creator of an online course called Total Alcohol Recovery 2.0. In terms of what I felt when I took kudzu, my experience supports the observations of others who note that kudzu might act like a much gentler form of disulfiram or Antabuse. These drugs are often prescribed to alcoholics to keep them abstinent. Even a tiny amount of alcohol can cause violent illness while on these drugs. By contrast, kudzu creates a mild flushed feeling at most and leaves the drinker craving alcohol a bit less.

Lukas and Lee hold a patent for kudzu extract to treat alcohol abuse and dependence. McLean Hospital has licensed the production of kudzu extract (NPI-031) to Natural Pharmacia International , Inc. that markets it as Alkontrol-Herbal™. Overconsumption of alcohol has significant negative effects on an individual’s health and contributes to an enormous economic impact on society as a whole. Pharmacotherapies to curb excessive drinking are important for treating alcohol use disorders. Though KU inhibited the alcohol intake and alcohol tolerance development, it reduced ghrelin levels in alcohol-preferring rats, which could play a role as an indicator kudzu root for alcohol cravings of the currently used drugs. This combination of Kudzu plants and extracts and Radix Bupleuri in the Declinol formula significantly reduced Alcohol Use Disorders Identification Test scores administered to ten heavy drinkers attending a recovery program. Kudzu extract treatment does not increase the intoxicating effects of acute alcohol in human volunteers. Naturopathic physician Maura Henninger notes in an article on Huffington Post that B vitamins are essential in breaking addictions to both alcohol and drugs. According to Henninger, thaimine — vitamin B-1 — is particularly important to supplement, as it helps reduce fatigue and brain fog.

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