If you’re anywhere in the Southeastern U.S., then you’re probably all too familiar with this rambunctious plant. But maybe what you didn’t know is that kudzu has many medicinal properties. Since it can grow as much as a foot a day and 100 feet a season, there is no end to this Japanese native plant. If you’re into harvesting plants for medicinal purposes, then harvest away!
Found: Native to Japan; plentiful in Southeastern U.S. wasteground areas.
Identifying: Trailing or climbing vine with three-parted leaves. The leaflets are entirely or palmately lobed. Reddish purple flowers which are grape scented and bloom July through Sepetember.
Parts Used: Root, seeds, stems, flowers, root starch.
Medicinal Uses: Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) has been using kudzu tea since about 100 A.D. for headaches and stiff necks, high blood pressure pain relief, diarrhea, dysentery, deafness, gastroenteritis, acute intestinal obstruction, and to induce sweating and promote measles eruptions. TCM also uses kudzu flowers, roots, and seeds for the main treatment of alcoholism. Stem poultices are used for relief of sores, swelling, mastitis. The tea can be gargled for sore throats. Root starch is often used in foods, and is common in Japanese food. Genistein, found in kudzu, possibly aids in preventing cancerous tumor development. Kudzu extract encourages regeneration of liver tissue and protects against liver toxins.
What Makes it Work: In the case of aiding alcoholism, kudzu contains daidzein and daidzin, which have shown to reduce the desire for alcohol.
Allergic Reactions and/or Warnings: An extremely safe herb with no known side effects. Tests have been done taking as much as 3 ounces (100 grams) and no adverse effects were noted.
Note: Always consult a health professional before using any herb or medicinal plant. These posts are not meant to be a medical guide but an overview.