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Kudzu as a Medicine

Lyn Keogh

Not only is Kudzu a gluten-free alternative to starch, flour and cornmeal, it is also a traditional natural remedy for colds, sore throats, treatment of headaches, hangovers, upset stomach and indigestion.

Botanical NamePueraria lobata also known as Kudzu vine, Japanese arrowroot, ge gen (ge hua) (Chinese), bidari kand (Sanskrit)

Kudzu naturally neutralises the acid content of what we consume.  It calms down inflammation of the mucus membranes that are found throughout the digestive tract.  These can be aggravated by the foods we eat and our busy lifestyles.

Kudzu is a vine (or more like a weed) and the root is used to make this natural medicine that has been used in Chinese medicine since at least 200 BC.  It was one of the earliest treatment for alcoholism, with records going back as early as 600 AD.

Therapeutic Application, Benefits and Claims of Kudzu

Active Ingredient and Substances: Kudzu contains glycosides (kudzusaponins A1, A2, Ar, SA4, SB1), sterols and isoflavones (puerarin, daidzin, and daidzein). The isoflavones have estrogen-like properties and the effect against alcohol abuse is attributed to the substances daidzin and daidzein. The substance puerarin has been proven to have strong antioxidant properties, much more than say vitamin E.

The peeled root contains about 2.1% protein, 0.1% fat and 27.1% carbohydrates.

Kudzu as Herbal Medicine

It is known that kudzu has been used in traditional Chinese medicine for over 2000 years, and it is still regarded as one of the 50 most important herbs in Chinese herbal medicine.

It has been used as a medicinal herb for a variety of ailments such as alcoholism, angina, headaches and migraines as well as high blood pressure.  Kudzu is great to reduce stress with natural beta-blockers and relieves general fatigue.

Furthermore, it has been used traditionally as a remedy for diarrhoea, psoriasis, muscle pain, some menopause symptoms and upper respiratory tract infections such as sinus infections and hay fever.

Kudzu as a Treatment for Alcoholism

Today, kudzu is still used to treat alcoholism and even reduce symptoms of alcohol hangover, including headache, upset stomach, dizziness, and vomiting.

Kudzu is the perfect winter medicine (often termed a snot-buster) as it treats upper respiratory problems including sinus infections, the common cold, hay fever and flu and for skin problems, including allergic skin rash, itchiness, and psoriasis.

How to Prepare Kudzu

Dissolve 1 heaped teaspoon of Kudzu powder into 1 cup of cold water.  Pour this into a small saucepan and heat to a simmer, stirring constantly until the liquid thickens (much like cornflower) and becomes  transparent.    It is now ready to drink with a splash of organic Tamari and drink while hot.

Use to coat vegetables or meats, or use as a thickener: Its super fine texture gives dishes silken smoothness and lustrous appeal without any starchy flavours.

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