The Kudzu alcoholism link is one that has caused more than its fair share of controversy.
This is largely down to the fact that studies are far from conclusive on the benefits of the Kudzu herb.
But before exploring the science and what it concluded on the potential of kudzu, let's take a look at the practicalities of using Kudzu root for its 'anti-alcohol' properties.
Many health stores stock capsules and tinctures containing Kudzu. Generally it is advertised/marketed as a remedy for many health problems not just alcoholism.
But be warned as many of these preparations do not contain enough of the important active ingredients said to reduce alcohol cravings. Daidzein and diadzin are the two compounds that need to be in the preparation.
The only way you can guarantee you are getting enough of these compounds is to buy the dry root.
Also keep in mind that tinctures are made using ethyl-alcohol.
Chinese Herbal stores are more likely to have the dried root, and will be able to give you advice about dosage.
The Chinese Pharmacopoeia states that an effective dose of dried kudzu root is 9-15g taken prior to drinking (1 hour minimum) if you are trying to cut down on your drinking. Take 10g, 3 times a day if you are abstaining from alcohol.
Be wary of kudzu preparations purchased in herbal stores, many of their products contain very little of the ingredients they claim to. Always read the label/contents.
The Kudzu vine is a climbing, coiling, and trailing plant native to southern Japan and southeast China.
Its name comes from the Japanese name for the plant, Kudzu, in Chinese it's called "gegen".
Due to its capability of rapid growth in a warm temperate climate, the Kudzu vine has earned pejorative nicknames such as:
The kudzu root, which can grow to the size of a human being, contains useful isoflavones such as: daidzein (an anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial agent) and diadzin (a cancer preventive).
Kudzu root compounds can affect the same neurotransmitters (including serotonin, GABA, and glutamate) as alcohol consumption can.
It has shown value in treating migraine and cluster headaches. It is also recommended for allergies and diarrhea.
|Scott Lukas on the results of his research:
"The rapid infusion (due to the action of Kudzu) of alcohol is satisfying them and taking away their desire for more drinks. Thats only a theory. It's the best we've got so far."
"It's perfectly safe, from what we can tell... Individuals reported feeling a little more tipsy or lightheaded, but not enough to make them walk into walls or stumble and fall."
"We suspect the kudzu treatment is causing the alcohol to get into the brain more quickly."
Kudzu appears, at least according to Lukas, to contain a compound that can be effective in reducing alcohol intake among humans.
However, there is another study that calls into question the usefulness of Kudzu for alcoholism.
The study used patients with a diagnosis of chronic alcoholism (unlike the volunteers in Lukas study who were heavy drinker NOT alcohol dependent)and found that Kudzu root appeared to be no better than placebo in reducing the craving for alcohol or promoting sobriety.
Despite conflicting findings, there seems to be a reason to be optimistic regarding the kudzu alcoholism use.
Lets leave the last word to Scott E Lukas:
"We want to develop a medication that would be effective and safe, without side effects like other drugs on the market."
|Other Alcoholism Alternative Treatments:
Deborah Morrow, M.S. Addiction Psychology, is the director of treatment programs for The Alcoholism Guide website. In her practice, Deborah provides on-line coaching and support for those dependent on alcohol or who require other services such as relapse prevention or court mandated services. (Read More)
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