Kudzu Root: Benefits, Uses, and Side Effects

The scale was connected to a computer in an adjacent room that ran a customized program that sampled the scale at 5 Hz and detected any weight changes that exceeded 1 gm. Additional details and photos of the device can be found in Lukas et al. (2005). Kudzu is a botanical used in traditional medicine to treat alcoholism, https://ecosoberhouse.com/article/kudzu-extract-and-alcohol-addiction-can-it-help-you-drink-less/ cardiovascular disease, menopausal symptoms, diabetes, fever, the common cold, and neck or eye pain. There are several species of kudzu and both the flowers and root extract are used for their medicinal properties. Isoflavones, the major components of kudzu, are thought to be responsible for its potential effects.

  • Both puerarin and daidzein have high affinity for benzodiazepine receptors and inhibit [3H]flunitrazepam binding to membranes in the cortex, cerebellum, and hippocampus (Shen, Witt, Nielsen, & Sterner, 1996).
  • The sample size was relatively small; however, a repeated measures, crossover design was used with participants as their own control receiving multiple pretreatments, each with placebo and alcohol challenges.
  • This experimental day was always a placebo drink but after either a week of treatment with placebo or kudzu extract.
  • Gegen has been used for the treatment of cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes [113].
  • Something has to create a massive increase in sense of well-being to fit into this category.

Participants were treated for a total of 9 days with either kudzu extract or placebo. Day 8 always consisted of a placebo (orange juice only) drink challenge, while day 9 consisted of an alcohol https://ecosoberhouse.com/ drink challenge of either the high or low dose depending on group randomization. Participants were told only that the drinking sessions could be with placebo, or a low or high dose of alcohol.

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According to traditional Chinese medicine, kudzu has cooling properties that balance the heat and false energy created by alcohol. The phytoestrogen genistein is an isoflavone found in various plants including lupine, soybeans, kudzu, and Flemingia vestita[33]. Genistein has been shown to improve the learning and memory deficits in Aβ peptide–treated rats, possibly by an attenuation in the production of nitrite content, suggesting that the reduction of Aβ peptide is related to an attenuation of OS [34]. Genistein, and the related compound daidzein, was also shown to protect neurons from HIV-1 Tat protein, which affects the cognitive processes in animal models of HIV dementia [35]. Genistein, which has a structure similar to 17β-estradiol, can activate ERK1/2 and the transcription factor NF-kβ, thus upregulating the expression of MnSOD [10,36].

kudzu extract for alcoholism

The drinks were administered between 2 and 2.5 hours after consumption of the morning dose of medication as blood levels of puerarin peak at this time (Penetar et al., 2006). Participants continued to take their medication through the morning of day 9 prior to the alcohol drink challenge. Following the first set of challenge sessions, there was a 1 month ‘washout’ period during which no medication was taken.


Pretreatment with puerarin reversed the changes in GABAA receptor expression and increased ADH activity in alcoholism models (Zhang, Li, et al., 2010). Moreover, the number of neurons decreased in the hippocampal dentate gyrus in puerarin-treated mice. Both puerarin and daidzein have high affinity for benzodiazepine receptors and inhibit [3H]flunitrazepam binding to membranes in the cortex, cerebellum, and hippocampus (Shen, Witt, Nielsen, & Sterner, 1996). One limitation of this study is the lack of a dose-response assessment. Although the dose used in the present study has been vetted in prior studies, testing multiple doses would be helpful to fully explore the magnitude of effects of the kudzu root extract and determine if an even greater reduction in drinking is possible with a higher dose. The complete lack of side effects would favor the conduct of such studies.

This compound has a positive effect on the central nervous system and the brain. Studies of kudzu in humans are limited and have mostly focused on whether it can reduce alcohol intake or menopausal symptoms. However, all of these studies enrolled small numbers of patients, and systematic reviews have determined that the evidence of benefit for any condition is unclear. From improving heart health and regulating blood sugar levels to reducing inflammation and menopausal symptoms, kudzu may be a useful addition to a healthy lifestyle.

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