Study Says Kudzu Extract Might Reduce Alcohol Craving : NPR

The root of another Asian species of kudzu, Pueraria thomsonii, is also used for herbal products. Side effects are relatively uncommon and include mild stomach upset, headache, insomnia and skin rash. Policosanol may interact with blood thinners and increase the risk of bleeding. Finding a quality product may be a challenge, since the Food and Drug Administration does not monitor dietary supplements. The researchers next plan to use Magnetic Resonance Imaging to examine the effects of kudzu on how quickly alcohol gets into the brain. But before Penetar and Lukas­—a Professor of Psychiatry at HMS—could endorse kudzu, they needed to be sure that it did not simply make individuals experience the same level of intoxication with half as much alcohol.

What is kudzu used for in Japan?

In Japan, the plant is known as kuzu and the starch named kuzuko. Kuzuko is used in dishes including kuzumochi, mizu manjū, and kuzuyu. It also serves as a thickener for sauces, and can substitute for cornstarch.

The problem is, the compounds that seem to be responsible for kudzu’s alcoholism-fighting effects aren’t absorbed in the body very well; and researchers have found the preparations in health food stores often don’t contain much of it, anyway. Ivan Diamond is an alcoholism researcher at the University of California, San Francisco. Potential health perks of taking kudzu root include decreasing alcohol intake, easing menopause symptoms, and regulating blood sugar levels. While the blood flow theory of kudzu for alcoholism may be true, there is likely more going on here. Kudzu contains several active isoflavones, which are natural plant chemicals with antioxidant effects. This compound has a positive effect on the central nervous system and the brain.

Japanese Alcohol Culture

“We propose that a safe, selective, reversible ALDH-2 inhibitor such as ALDH2i may have the potential to attenuate human cocaine addiction and prevent relapse,” the researchers wrote. In view of these findings, individuals who are attempting to taper and discontinue benzodiazepines following prolonged use for insomnia should be encouraged to take a nightly 2mg dose of controlled-release melatonin. The above findings should be viewed in the context of a 2105 systematic review and meta-analysis that found no evidence that melatonin facilitated benzodiazepine discontinuation and inconsistent effects of melatonin on sleep quality . Empowering you to make wise decisions about your own health, by providing you with essential health information about both medical and alternative treatment options. At the time of writing, there were no well-known supplement or food interactions with this supplement. For an herb, supported by traditional use but minimal or no scientific evidence. “It was tested on golden hamsters, which apparently have a penchant for alcoholism, and it lowered their craving for alcohol,” Cozzo said. Cozzo said in Asian cultures, kudzu is highly regarded, with claims that it can reduce high blood pressure and the risk of cancer, and that it can even help with nerve regeneration. “The history of kudzu in the United States is a compelling story, but also a cautionary tale of how good plants can go bad,” the article concludes.

Now kudzu’s popularity is also picking up in the Western world as a wellness supplement. You can find kudzu root supplements easily online and in a variety of natural food or supplement stores. It’s important to note that this is a case study, so it can’t prove kudzu root caused this liver injury. Scientists need to do more research to investigate the potential of kudzu root to cause liver injury in humans. Today, the most popular ways to use kudzu root are as an herbal supplement or a root tea. For over 2,000 years, people have used kudzu root in traditional Chinese medicine for purposes like treating fevers, diarrhea, and even diabetes and heart disease .

Kudzu-Based Chemicals May Treat Alcoholism

Furthermore, Duffy et al. reported using multiple regression analyses, greater bitterness from 3.2 mMPROP was a significant predictor of greater ethanol intensity and less alcohol intake. Interestingly, genotype was a significant predictor of alcohol intake, but not ethanol intensity. There’s some evidence that acupuncture, mindfulness, and meditation help during AUD treatment. Some herbal remedies, including kudzu, ashwagandha, and milk thistle, could support your recovery, too. Some research shows that milk thistle may help those looking to treat alcohol-related liver disease. It’s important to note that more studies are needed to confirm that the herb enhances liver health. Kudzu may also help heavy drinkers cut the amount of alcohol they consume, even if they are not being treated for AUD. Kudzu extract has shown some promise in helping people avoid binge drinking. Binge drinking is when someone has more than four or five drinks in two hours.

We have subsequently shown that puerarin is the major active isoflavone because 7 days treatment with this compound alone (1,200 mg/day) produced a similar reduction of binge drinking as the extract (Penetar et al., 2012). The present study provides further evidence that extracts of the kudzu root are effective in reducing alcohol consumption but unlike any other medication it does so after a single dose was taken shortly before a binge drinking opportunity. And, contrary to disulfiram treatment, the drinking that did occur after kudzu administration did not result in any noxious side effects, increases in subjective ratings of nausea, uncomfortable, or feeling terrible. The reduction in drinking was evident rather quickly as it was apparent for the second through sixth beers and no kudzu-treated participant drank five or six beers, which suggests that binge drinking was curtailed. According to University of Maryland Medical Center, research performed on animals has suggested that the herb kudzu may be beneficial in curbing alcohol cravings. Although some human studies have found no benefit, other studies have found that kudzu can reduce alcohol consumption in heavy drinkers. A study published in 2013 in “Psychopharmacology” found that kudzu extract caused a modest reduction in alcohol cravings in young heavy drinkers who weren’t seeking treatment. WebMD states that although kudzu extract, when taken for seven days, can reduce alcohol cravings in heavy drinkers, it does not seem to provide the same benefits for chronic alcoholics. Is most famous as a quick-growing weed in the southern United States. Alcoholic hamsters were found to have decreased interest in drinking when fed kudzu extract.

So lowering the levels of that brain chemical dopamine should help control an alcoholic’s cravings. A major limitation to this pilot is the small number of subjects evaluated and as such we caution any definitive interpretation of these interesting results. However, this pilot serves as the basis to further these studies and confirmation in a much larger cohort may have important treatment ramifications for not only alcoholism but possibly RDS behaviors as well. It is often touted as a means of restoring liver health and protecting against liver damage from too much alcohol.

How do I reduce the urge to drink alcohol?

  1. Remind yourself of your reasons for making a change.
  2. Talk it through with someone you trust.
  3. Distract yourself with a healthy, alternative activity.
  4. Challenge the thought that drives the urge.
  5. Ride it out without giving in.
  6. Leave tempting situations quickly and gracefully.

One possibility is through the different isoflavones, which are biologically active molecules that can affect physiology, contained within the kudzu extract. Purified puerarin another ingredient in Kudzu root was also shown to suppress alcohol intake in the short term as well reducing withdrawal reactions in high ethanol preferring rats. However this effect does not seem to be due a central brain mechanism . Keung et al. reported that Daidzin is a potent, selective, and reversible inhibitor of human mitochondrial aldehyde dehydrogenase and this natural compound suppresses free-choice ethanol intake by Syrian golden hamsters. Other ALDH inhibitors, such as disulfiram and calcium citrate carbimide , have also been shown to suppress ethanol intake of laboratory animals and are thought to act by inhibiting the metabolism of acetaldehyde produced from ingested ethanol. The anti-craving effect of disulfiram may also be due to inhibition of dopamine beta hydroxylase thereby increasing neuronal dopamine .

In its raw form, kudzu root resembles other root tubers, such as potatoes or yams. The information we provide while responding to comments is not intended to provide and does not constitute medical, legal, or other professional advice. The responses to comments on are designed to support, not replace, medical or psychiatric treatment. Please seek professional care if you believe you may have a condition. Dr. Rebeca Eriksen is the Nutritional Consultant for Fit Recovery. She has a PhD in Nutritional Genetics from Imperial College London, and over ten years of clinical experience designing custom nutritional repair regimens for patients recovering from alcohol addiction.

What’s more, the kudzu plant leaves, vine tips, and purple flower blossoms are also edible. You can eat the root as you would other root vegetables, like potatoes or rutabagas. Kudzu roots can be dried and ground into a powder, which some people use as breading for fried foods or as a thickener for soups and sauces. The plant is a trailing vine that often grows over other plants and trees. Kudzu root, also called Japanese arrowroot, is native to China, Japan, and Korea. Today, kudzu grows in other parts of the world as well, including in the southern United States. Get FREE daily coaching messages from Chris Scott to help you quit or cut down on alcohol in just 10 days. In my opinion, the Planetary Herbals brand is a great option for someone who has not yet quit drinking, and who wants to try pure kudzu powder on its own. My problem at the time was a denial of the severity of my drinking problem.

We are proposing that a novel approach to nutritional supplementation may be required to target the RDS role in alcoholism and glucose homeostasis . Alcohol quickly affects blood sugar, especially in the brain . Certainly an added stress of attempting to eliminate alcohol usage is the drastic swings in blood sugar, which when occurring may stimulate a stronger desire to drink . Any natural means to balance blood sugar can therefore be of great cessation benefit to alcohol programs.

  • She has a PhD in Nutritional Genetics from Imperial College London, and over ten years of clinical experience designing custom nutritional repair regimens for patients recovering from alcohol addiction.
  • Other research suggests that kudzu supplements may also play a role in preventing migraine attacks.
  • Taking kudzu would decrease the chance that a drink would turn into an endless parade of drinks.
  • In the second, participants who were treated for 4 weeks with kudzu extract significantly reduced their alcohol consumption during weeks 2 through 4 of the study (Lukas et al., 2013).
  • According to some studies, kudzu root may help manage some symptoms of metabolic syndrome.

Bitters have been used to help relief symptoms of constipation, flatulence, appetite loss, vomiting, heartburn, abdominal pain and nausea . Anti-diabetic potential of Pueraria lobata root extract through promoting insulin signaling by PTP1B inhibition. Metabolic syndrome is a condition notorious for its cluster of health issues like high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and/or abnormal triglyceride levels. If left unchecked, metabolic syndrome can increase your risk of developing heart disease, and type 2 diabetes. Kudzu root, leaf, and flowers kudzu root for alcohol cravings have been used in Traditional Chinese Medicine for centuries. But today you can find it in the supplement aisle of most grocery stores. Kudzu root is the edible root of the Pueraria genus of plants. The kudzu plant is a vine that resembles poison ivy and is native to several Asian countries. Some research specifically on the kudzu species Pueraria mirifica suggests that doses of 50–100 mg per day appear to have a low risk of adverse side effects . For instance, it may reduce the effectiveness of birth control due to its estrogenic effects .
kudzu root for alcohol cravings
Another study shows that kudzu flower might be helpful to lessen hot flashes in menopausal women. For centuries, ginseng has been used in traditional Chinese medicine. Fortunately, these 11 vitamins and supplements can boost your energy levels when you need it most. Before you turn your nose up, check out the incredible health benefits of these and seven more unusual ingredients. Small studies in people have observed noteworthy improvements in these menopausal symptoms, among others, like vaginal dryness .

Abusing alcohol can lead to a plethora of personal problems as well as many health problems, including liver disease. Some of the most effective ways to reduce the cravings for alcohol include support groups and regular exercise. In addition, there is some evidence that certain natural supplements may help curb alcohol cravings. Most studies on herbals and other natural supplements for reducing alcohol or drug use, reducing craving and managing withdrawal were small, conducted many years ago, and have not been replicated by large placebo-controlled studies. Nevertheless, there is evidence that some herbal medicines widely used in Chinese medicine, Ayurveda may significantly reduce craving and consumption of alcohol and may reduce the severity of alcohol withdrawal.
Eco Sober House
People have used kudzu root in Eastern medicine for many years. More recently, kudzu root has made its way to Western countries as an herbal supplement. A growing number of double-blind, peer reviewed studies have confirmed the effectiveness of using kudzu for alcoholism. Early research focused Sober Home on rats with good results, which were later replicated with human subjects. A number of clinical trials in both genders in various disease states have hinted that the ability to produce the human metabolite S-(-)equol from its isoflavone precursor daidzein may hold unique health benefits.

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