“Therefore, the next step in the research was to assess the effects of kudzu extract on different physical, behavioral and cognitive features in humans.” The kudzu extract diadzein has been isolated as an aldehyde dehydrogenase 2 (ALDH-2) inhibitor, which has been shown in animal models to reduce excessive drinking. Synthetic versions of this selective ALDH-2 inhibitor are being investigated as Sober House potential medications to suppress relapse in abstinent alcoholics. More clinical trials will need to be conducted to better understand the efficacy of kudzu extracts or synthetic variants for treatment of alcohol dependence. An earlier study conducted by Keung and Vallee found that kudzu plant extract suppressed the alcohol intake of hamsters that had been bred to prefer and consume alcohol.

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. While kudzu root has a long history in traditional Chinese medicine, people most often use it to help treat alcohol dependence. It may also have other benefits, such as for menopausal symptoms. The participants reported their desire for and consumption of alcohol for the duration of the study. Researchers found that the kudzu extract had no effect on alcohol cravings, but it reduced the number of weekly alcoholic drinks by 34–57% . According to the National Council on Alcohol and Drug Dependency, there are more than 100,000 American deaths per year as a result of alcohol abuse. Counseling, Alcoholics Anonymous and detoxification are helpful and often necessary treatments, but current alcohol medication resembles unpleasant aversion therapy. Of the few alcohol medication drugs available to treat alcohol dependency, most discourage drinking with uncomfortable reactions to even the smallest amount of alcohol. These include nausea, vomiting, facial flushing, headache and anxiety.

Kudzu: A Brief History

In studies with alcohol-addicted mice, ashwagandha seemed to relieve anxiety. More studies would be needed to see if it works the same way in humans. While we only selected a small number of patients to study in this pilot because we wanted to capture a positive effect prior to a much larger kudzu alcohol addiction study being planned in the future, we are encouraged with these preliminary results. Importantly, 40% of these patients relapsed more than five times indicating serious problems with alcohol abuse/dependence. Certainly we caution any real interpretation which must await further study.

Is harvesting royal jelly cruel?

Consider the tiny harvest amount that can be collected from just one queen bee cell! It comes at a very high price. Aspiring queen bees die during this process and tricks need to be played on the worker bees in order to collect royal jelly. We consider this neither ethical nor cruelty-free4.

A group of regular heavy drinking men and women in their 20s were invited to participate in a study on binge drinking. Kudzu extracts have been used in Chinese folk medicine to treat alcoholism for about 1,000 years. The kudzu root may interact with certain medications or pose other health risks for certain people. Therefore, it’s always best to consult your healthcare provider before taking it. You can find kudzu root supplements easily online and in a variety of natural food or supplement stores. A small case report involving 16 people with frequent cluster headaches found that kudzu root reduced headache intensity in 69% of people, frequency in 56%, and duration in 31% . Kudzu root offered heart-protective benefits to mice with burn-induced heart injuries. People have also used it in traditional Chinese medicine for heart disease, but scientists need to do more research on this .

You may also be interested in: Herbal Remedies and Acupuncture for Addiction Recovery

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. In spite of the compelling preclinical and clinical evidence of its efficacy, the precise mechanism of action of kudzu in reducing alcohol consumption is not currently known. Prior studies of its antidipsotropic effect have focused on taste-aversion, alterations in alcohol metabolism or effects on neurotransmitters. Overstreet et al.’s study provides cursory evidence that a taste aversion mechanism is not likely. Increases in 5-HIAL have been shown to be correlated with decreased alcohol consumption in hamsters kudzu alcohol addiction (Keung et al., 1995). Kudzu’s alteration of alcohol consumption may be through direct effects at brain benzodiazepine receptors on the GABAA complex. Moreover, in vitro, daidzin potently suppresses hamster liver mitochondria-catalyzed acetaldehyde oxidation. Additionally, Lin et al. also showed that daidzin, are efficacious in lowering blood alcohol levels and shorten sleep time induced by alcohol ingestion in rat models of alcoholism. Furthermore, other isoflavonoids found in Kudzu were also evaluated by Lin et al. . When given orally to P rats at a dose of 100 mg/kg/day, daidzein, daidzin, and puerarin decreased ethanol intake by 75%, 50%, and 40%, respectively without negative effects on overall water consumption.

In terms of what I felt when I took kudzu, my experience supports the observations of others who note that kudzu might act like a much gentler form of disulfiram or Antabuse. These drugs are often prescribed to alcoholics to keep them abstinent. Even a tiny amount of alcohol can cause violent illness while on these drugs. By contrast, kudzu creates a mild flushed feeling at most and leaves the drinker craving alcohol a bit less. Although I’m sure it would have helped me detoxify, I did not use kudzu after I quit drinking. My experience was limited to an experiment that I did years ago to see if taking the herb would reduce my drinking levels. Mindfulness therapies have been used to keep people from relapsing. Relapse is when someone resumes drinking in unhealthy ways after a period of recovery. In one of the studies in the review, researchers compared a real acupuncture treatment to a fake one. In the real treatment, researchers placed needles into zones linked to alcohol-related behaviors.

Japanese Alcohol Culture

“Alcoholism is a medical disorder, not just a problem of will power,” he said. In an initial 90-minute session in the “apartment,” each subject was allowed to consume as many beers as he or she wanted—up to a maximum of six. After the session, each was given either puerarin or a placebo and told to take it daily for a week. Two weeks later, the subjects returned for a third session to see if they had returned to their baseline drinking levels. After that, each subject was given the pill he or she didn’t get the first time and told to take it for a week.

In a laboratory experimental setting, subjects will be treated with placebo or 2 grams of kudzu extract 2.5 hours before an afternoon drinking session. The investigators hypothesis is that the kudzu pretreatment will reduce alcohol consumption in this free choice, self-administration paradigm. Kudzu and its extracts and flowers have been used in traditional Chinese folk medicine to treat alcoholism for about 1,000 years. Daidzin inhibits human aldehyde dehydrogenase 2 (ALDH-2), which metabolizes alcohol into acetaldehyde. Inhibiting ALDH-2 promotes the accumulation of acetaldehyde, which has aversive effects. A recent test of a synthetic ALDH-2 inhibitor (CVT-10216) on rodents shows that it reduces drinking and prevents relapse by increasing acetaldehyde while drinking and later decreasing dopamine in the brain region that controls relapse during abstinence. “Recently, preclinical studies with animals have shown reductions in alcohol consumption when treated with isoflavones contained in the kudzu root,” said Penetar.

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  • They are also interested in the possibility of developing a dosage of kudzu that individuals could take once, before a night of drinking, rather than a set of pills which must be taken regularly.
  • Chinese medicine has used the kudzu plant for centuries to treat stiff neck, sprains, thirst and diarrhea, and to reduce drinking.
  • It produces large numbers of seeds that are disseminated by animals, especially birds.
  • The researchers next plan to use Magnetic Resonance Imaging to examine the effects of kudzu on how quickly alcohol gets into the brain.
  • But it did reduce the number of drinks they had each week by a third to a half.