Kudzu or Pueraria lobata is a climbing vine that belongs to the pea family. For centuries, its starchy white roots and flowers have been used in traditional medicine. In fact, kudzu is typically used for health conditions such as diabetes, fever, alcoholism, menopausal symptoms, weight loss, heart-related ailments, and the common cold.
Of course, kudzu is used to treat alcoholism and to minimize the symptoms of alcohol hangover, which include vomiting, dizziness, headache, and upset stomach. Kudzu is also effective for treating cardiovascular and circulatory issues, including irregular heart rhythm, chest pain, high blood pressure, and heart failure. The herb is also used to treat upper respiratory problems including swine flu, hay fever, sinus infections, the common cold, and flu. For skin problems, kudzu root can treat allergic skin rash, psoriasis as well as itchiness.
In addition, kudzu root can help alleviate menopause symptoms, aid in weight loss, relieve muscle pain, promote sweating, improve exercise performance as well as treat measles, diarrhea, dysentery, gastritis, stiffness of the neck, thirst, and fever. The other health benefits of kudzu root include its ability to help in the treatment of diabetes, loss of vision, poliomyelitis, deafness, traumatic injuries encephalitis, and migraine.
As a matter of fact, in China, a chemical in kudzu root known as puerarin is sometimes administered intravenously to patients to treat stroke caused by a blood clot, heart attacks, back pain, and to lower cholesterol levels in people who suffer from heart-related diseases.
Studies have also shown that kudzu root contains components that counteract alcohol. The herb might also have effects similar to estrogen. Also, the chemicals present in kudzu root might help increase blood circulation in the heart as well as the brain.
The Health Benefits of Kudzu Root
Let’s take a closer look at the amazing health benefits of kudzu root.
Help Treat Alcoholism
One of the most popular uses of kudzu root is its ability to treat alcoholism. While the herb may not necessarily help in reducing the craving for alcohol or support sobriety, studies suggest that when using kudzu root extract, alcoholics tend to drink less booze than usual. Although it is not clear exactly why this happens, it is, however, believed that since kudzu increases in blood flow, it allows alcoholics to feel the effects of the alcohol sooner than they normally would. This makes them stop drinking after just a few drinks. The herb is also believed to help reduce the symptoms of a hangover, including vomiting, throbbing headache, and upset stomach.
Improves Exercise Performance
Eases Menopause Symptoms
Are you a menopausal woman experiencing some changes? Kudzu could really help. When kudzu root or its supplement is taken orally, it can help improve vasomotor symptom scores, including reducing hot flashes and alleviating vaginal dryness in women going through menopause. The isoflavones in kudzu root help in regulating hormones and so, fight off the unpleasant symptoms that characterize PMS, perimenopause as well as menopause. Some studies, however, suggest that taking kudzu may not affect bone density, sex hormone levels, or blood fat levels in menopausal women.
Helps with Metabolic Syndrome Symptoms
For people who struggle with metabolic syndrome, which includes a range of health problems such as high levels of cholesterol, high blood pressure, and insulin resistance, kudzu might be root worth a try. The extract of kudzu root contains isoflavones, which may help lower blood pressure, cholesterol levels, insulin levels, and blood sugar levels.
Treats Cluster Headache
Some studies have shown that using kudzu root might help in the treatment of a cluster headache. In fact, kudzu root may help reduce the duration, frequency, duration, and seriousness of a cluster headache.
Enhance Heart Function
According to studies, taking puerarin, a chemical found in kudzu might have a positive effect on heart function in people with heart failure. In fact, it is believed that injecting puerarin, a chemical in present kudzu root, by IV along with usual medications might be helpful to someone who has just had a heart attack. Puerarin also reduces “bad” cholesterol, increase “good” cholesterol, and reduce insulin levels in people with coronary heart disease.
Improves Symptoms of Chest Pains
Some studies have found that puerarin, a chemical present in kudzu root, helps to alleviate the signs and symptoms of chest pain when taken orally or by IV. Using puerarin in combination with conventional medications for chest pain might even be more effective than conventional medications alone.
Regulates Glucose Levels
Kudzu root is also believed to help regulate glucose, also known as blood sugar. A component in the herb called puerarin helps to transport the glucose away from blood vessels and fat cells and into other areas of the body where it’s required, including the muscles. According to studies, taking puerarin by mouth while also taking conventional diabetes medications reduces blood sugar in people with type 2 diabetes.
Lowers Blood Pressure
Taking kudzu root powder helps to lower blood pressure in people with high blood pressure.
Due to the anti-inflammatory properties in kudzu root, it may help reduce inflammation in the body. Inflammation can actually result in more chronic health issues such as heart-related diseases, diabetes, and even cancer. Although inflammation is commonly treated with over-the-counter medications, kudzu root is one natural option worth a try.
Aids in Weight Loss
Studies suggest that taking kudzu extract orally reduces body fat and body mass index (BMI) in people who suffer from obesity.
Improves Brain Function
The puerarin, when taken alone or with aspirin, might help improve brain function in some people after suffering a stroke. However, studies indicate that injecting puerarin intravenously can lower the risk of death or dependency after a stroke.
Relieves Low Back Pain
Puerarin, a chemical in kudzu, might also reduce pain in some people who suffer from low back pain.
Side Effects and Precautions
- People on medications for diabetes or those with breast cancer should steer clear of kudzu.
- Since dietary supplements (including kudzu) are not usually tested for safety and are largely unregulated, it is important to note that the content of some supplements may actually vary from what is stated on the product label.
- The safety of supplements (including kudzu) in children, pregnant women, breastfeeding mothers, people with health conditions or who are on medications, has not been determined. If you’re considering the use of kudzu, check with your doctor first.