Can Kudzu Help with Alcohol Addiction?
For many, alcoholism is a disease that can feel impossible to overcome. Untold numbers of people have suffered at the hands of a drinking problem, the drinkers themselves and their loved ones feel the effects of alcohol abuse. The damages wrought by this addiction are incalculable.
While many are suffering from addiction have tried all sorts of resources and treatments to overcome their alcoholism, the journey remains a difficult one and too often feels utterly hopeless.
But there’s always help. Plenty of treatment options is available in the fight against alcoholism, with ongoing research in the field led by intrepid researchers making breakthroughs every day. One particular plant being studied called kudzu has been used to treat alcohol abuse for thousands of years. The research on this plant has been extremely promising.
Kudzu Can Help In The Fight Against Alcoholism
What is kudzu? It’s not a drug, it’s a plant that grows naturally in East Asia whose flower, root, vine, and other parts have medicinal properties. Today, kudzu is found in many places far away from its East Asian origins, like the Southeastern United States. Kudzu is well-known in Chinese cuisine. Its extract appears in many dishes, including a recipe for a hangover cure used to curb one’s thirst for more drink.
For centuries, kudzu has been used in traditional Chinese medicine for purposes ranging from the treatment of:
- stiff neck
- excessive alcohol intake.
Throughout generations, ancient physicians were able to determine the healing powers of this plant. Now within the past few decades, the Western medical community has conducted studies with rigorous scientific analysis to determine the truth behind the relationship between kudzu extract and the treatment of alcoholism. Researchers have found that kudzu extract’s medicinal potential — especially in the treatment of alcohol abuse — may indeed ring true.
What Does Science Say?
Using kudzu extract as a supplement can reduce alcohol intake.
The research on kudzu extract has been promising for almost three decades. During the study of the National Center for Biotechnology Information, researchers found a compelling reduction of alcoholic beverages consumed by participants after kudzu extract was introduced into their diet. Kudzu extract was given to several folks classified as heavy drinkers over seven days. At the week’s end, the participants were given their preferred alcoholic beverage to drink in a “naturalistic laboratory environment”.
The number of sips participants took of their alcoholic beverage and the timespan it took to drink increased, while the volume of each sip decreased. Overall, the participants given kudzu extract drank fewer alcoholic beverages and did not report any side effects like nausea or headaches.
In other words, the participants that consumed kudzu extract over the seven days prior were taking smaller sips over a longer period and therefore drinking less alcohol. Participants that were not given kudzu did not exhibit the same slowed pace of drinking.
Another study came to a similar conclusion, finding that one dose of kudzu extract reduced the amount of alcohol consumed by binge drinkers. Using a double-blind placebo test, participants who were given a single dose of kudzu extract drank fewer alcoholic beverages than their counterparts. Instead, participants that were given kudzu gravitated toward non-alcoholic beverages with more frequency than those who were given the placebo.
What Makes Kudzu Extract So Special?
One of the prevailing theories about why kudzu is so effective in curbing addictive drinking habits is the presence of isoflavones in the plant. These compounds are commonly found in plants like legumes and soybeans. Isoflavones found in kudzu extract may affect alcohol consumption.
While studies concede that there is yet be a conclusive, systematic study of isoflavones and their ability to facilitate alcohol’s entry into the brain, the consensus from the studies’ conclusions suggests that the effect of kudzu extract results in the trigger of a satiety mechanism so that the desire for another drink is diminished.
Kudzu extract, and its isoflavones, discourage our desire to have another drink, all while avoiding an increased level of intoxication from prior drinks in the process. Rather, the belief is that these isoflavones increase blood circulation to our brain, which in turn alerts our body that we’ve consumed a certain quantity of alcohol, making us less compelled to have another drink.
Kudzu extract’s isoflavones don’t get you drunk faster, they seem to tell your body that you’ve had enough.
Specifically, researchers have found the isoflavone puerarin to be the primary component affecting this behavior of reduced alcohol intake. Some of the participants in this study were given 1200mg of puerarin and were found to consume less alcohol than the participants who were given the placebo, speaking to the effects of this particular isoflavone in kudzu extract and its relationship to alcohol intake.
Is Kudzu Right For You?
As with any treatment, you should consult your physician first before seeking to incorporate medicine into your diet.
Though the results may be extremely encouraging, technically kudzu is yet to be officially labeled a medicine to treat alcohol addiction by the FDA. Unlike distilled pharmaceutical medicine, the kudzu plant is extremely complex and much about the plant remains unknown. In the future, kudzu may well become a huge benefit in the fight against alcoholism. The progress made in understanding this plant and exactly how it relates to these behaviors of helping heavy drinkers consume less is very promising. But as of now, science still needs to get to work.
And as encouraging as the results may be, it’s important to remember that kudzu is not a miracle cure either. Kudzu helps decrease drinking, but it doesn’t stop drinking altogether. As with any treatment plan, kudzu extract would only be one part of a process to overcome addiction.
If you or a loved one are struggling with addiction, medicine is only part of health treatment. It begins when the effort to embark on that journey towards change is met with a surrounding environment that is geared toward successful recovery. And when you put yourself in an environment with professionals and certified resources, you commit to continuing down the road toward health recovery and freedom from your addiction. Being with people trained in recovery every step of the way is a huge asset.
At Eco Sober House, we believe that treatment must be holistic. We aim to heal the body, mind, and spirit. We have the resources and staff on hand to help you or your loved one follow through with the commitment to change. Our Treatment Consultants are available 24/7. We’re there for you the moment you decide to overcome your addiction.
Visit us at our website ecosoberhouse.com, or call us at this number +1 (781) 777-3921.
Your journey toward an addiction-free life starts now.