Kudzu (Pueraria lobata)
Kudzu is the name of a family of perennial vines native to Eastern and Southeast Asia. The name comes from japanese ‘kuzu’ and was translated to ‘kudzu’ during the process of historical romanization. Despite it being considered an invasive plant in areas where it has been naturalized, Kudzu has shown to have an interesting range of health benefits.
Kudzu contains a number of useful isoflavones and is considered one of the 50 fundamental herbs in traditional Chinese medicine. Besides the plant’s anti-exudative, antiallergic, anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, anticancer,
antimicrobial, and antifungal effects (among others), Kudzu is widely sought after for its effects on addiction treatment. If used alongside individual mobilization and/or therapy, Kudzu can be a great herbal aid in the process of quitting nicotine, alcohol, and other addictive substances. The active components Daidzin and puerarin have an effect on brain chemicals involved in neurotransmission, particularly on GABA, glutamine and the “feel good” hormones serotonin and dopamine. A Harvard study from 1998 demonstrated the effect of Kudzu on alcoholic hamsters. After treatment involving Kudzu administration, the hamsters started choosing water over alcohol. On top of this, Kudzu has also shown to detoxify the liver, making it a perfect herbal supplement in cases where addiction and liver damage go hand-in-hand.