What Is Kudzu?

Some Cut Back on Alcohol With the Chinese Remedy

Kudzu powder and extract

Verywell / Anastasia Tretiak

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Kudzu (Pueraria lobata) is a climbing vine that belongs to the pea family. Its flowers and starchy white roots have been used in traditional Chinese medicine.

What Is Kudzu Used For?

Kudzu is thought to have a number of biochemical effects which may have various health benefits. So far, scientific support for the benefits of kudzu is limited.

In alternative medicine, kudzu has been used for the following conditions:

Not all of these uses are supported by clinical evidence. Here's what the research says so far about kudzu's health benefits.

Menopausal Symptoms

Altering estrogen activity in the body is one of the main actions of kudzu.

Kudzu has been found to be beneficial for the treatment of vaginal atrophy in postmenopausal women. In one study, a treatment regimen of 0.5 grams (g) of the product was applied intravaginally daily for 2 weeks, and then decreased to three times per week for 10 weeks, Kudzu gel was found to be safe and effective, although it was less effective than estrogen cream.

A randomized controlled study including females age 45 to 60 compared the effects of taking 1150 milligrams (mg) per day of oral kudzu. After a period of 12 weeks, researchers found that the kudzu improved symptoms of hot flashes and markers of bone turnover.

Alcohol Intake

Kudzu extract may be helpful in reducing alcohol intake. When used for this purpose, study participants who took daily oral doses of the herb reported a decrease in the amount of weekly alcohol they consumed during the study.

Research also suggests that kudzu may reduce alcohol intake when used before a drinking session.

The mechanism of this herb's effects on alcohol consumption isn't well understood.

Cluster Headache

This supplement may play a role in the prevention of migraines, including potentially decreasing the frequency or duration of cluster headaches.

Metabolic Syndrome

Kudzu may help manage metabolic syndrome, a condition marked by a cluster of health problems, including excess belly fat, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and insulin resistance. These issues are known to raise the risk of heart disease and type 2 diabetes.

Possible Side Effects

This herb can cause side effects, especially for people who have certain conditions. In animal studies, it was shown to cause liver damage.

You should avoid kudzu if you:

  • Have or have had breast cancer or any hormonal-sensitive cancer
  • Use diabetes medications
  • Take methotrexate or tamoxifen
  • Take blood thinners, such as warfarin and aspirin
Kudzu capsules
Verywell / Anastasia Tretiak

Dosage and Preparation

There is not enough scientific data to provide a recommended dose of kudzu. Research suggests that it is most effective when used on a daily basis for preventing symptoms.

For example, in one study examining the use of kudzu on alcohol intake, a dose of 1.5-3 grams of kudzu root extract was taken in three divided doses per day for up to four weeks. A single dose of two grams of kudzu extract was taken before a drinking episode.

The appropriate dose for you may depend on factors including your age, gender, and medical history. Speak to your healthcare provider to get personalized advice.

What to Look For

Supplements usually haven't been tested for safety. Dietary supplements are largely unregulated, and the content of some products may differ from what is specified on the product label.

Also keep in mind that the safety of supplements in pregnant women, nursing mothers, children, and those with medical conditions or who are taking medications has not been established. You can get tips on using supplements safely, but if you're considering the use of kudzu, talk with your primary care provider first. Self-treating a condition and avoiding or delaying standard care may have serious consequences.

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6 Sources
Verywell Health uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
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  2. Suwanvesh N, Manonai J, Sophonsritsuk A, Cherdshewasart W. Comparison of Pueraria mirifica gel and conjugated equine estrogen cream effects on vaginal health in postmenopausal women. Menopause. 2017 Feb;24(2):210-215. doi:10.1097/GME.0000000000000742

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