Kudzu; Japanese Arrowroot; East Asian Arrowroot; Chinese Pueraria
Pueraria lobata; Radix Pueraiae
Kudzu tea has shown some promise for use in treating alcohol-related liver damage and helping people reduce dependence on or addiction to alcohol. That said, much more research is needed to really determine whether and to what degree drinking kudzu tea helps decrease alcohol cravings in humans. What we do know is that drinking kudzu tea can help lower blood alcohol levels (more quickly than normal) and shorten the length of alcohol-induced sleep*.
Additionally, drinking kudzu tea may help manage post-menopausal metabolic dysfunction and other common post-menopausal conditions, like obesity, fatigue, and cardiovascular disease. There is even some research to suggest that drinking kudzu tea may be a helpful accessory/accelerant for obesity treatment plans independent of menopausal status.
These health outcomes are mainly due to the potent anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties of kudzu root decoctions. The antioxidant activity of kudzu tea, specifically, may make it useful in preventing some physical evidence of aging, like growing gray hair and getting wrinkles. What’s more, it may also help prevent and slow the progression of various cognitive and physical conditions associated with aging, like Alzheimer’s disease and osteoporosis. Drinking kudzu tea or taking kudzu supplements may also have some effect on improving exercise performance (including cardiovascular and muscular endurance).
Kudzu root is categorized in Chinese medicine as a cool, acrid diaphoretic herb that releases the exterior. It is cool, spicy, and sweet, and goes to the Spleen and Stomach channels.
*Drinking kudzu tea will not immediately cause someone to become fully sober, nor should it be used to try to reverse acute alcohol poisoning; people who are showing signs of alcohol poisoning or who have lost consciousness due to alcohol ingestion need immediate, professional medical care.
PREPARATION & ADMINISTRATION
Traditional medicinal uses involve making a tea (hot water decoction or infusion) using the dried leguminous roots of the kudzu plant. More novel applications call for using the flowers as well as or instead of the roots. The whole, dried roots are often available for purchase and at-home decoction, though powders, pills, and ethanol-based extractions are also occasionally available. Sometimes the related plant species, Pueraria thomsonii, is substituted for authentic kudzu supplements. Though not actively harmful, this substitution is problematic because Pueraria thomsonii has noticeably fewer medicinal benefits.
You should consult with a certified herbalist, physician or other qualified healthcare professional before taking kudzu. Because it may have some effect on cardiovascular function, people who have or are at high risk for cardiovascular health conditions should not drink kudzu tea, or they should get explicit approval from their physician before doing so. This is also true for people who have liver disease, metabolic disorders, or a history of problems with their blood sugar. Though kudzu tea and other supplements are largely considered safe for healthy adults, it is always important to consult a physician before adding a new supplement to your routine.
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