Description: Kudzu is deciduous vine with long, thick rhizomes, hairy stems and trefoil leaves . The purple flowers are fragrant and appear in 25 cm long, erect clusters. They are followed by flat, hairy seeds that divide when they are mature. The flowers are collected in late summer or early autumn and dried in a shade.
Active Ingredient and Substances: Kudzu contains glycosides (kudzusaponins A1, A2, Ar, SA4, SB1), sterols and isoflavones (puerarin, daidzin and daidzein). The isoflavones have estrogen-like properties and the effect against alcohol abuse is attributed to the substances daidzin and daidzein. The substance puerarin has been proven to have strong antioxidant properties, much more than say vitamin E.
Kudzu as Herbal Medicine:
It is known that kudzu has been used in traditional Chinese medicine for over 2000 years, and it is still regarded as one of the 50 most important herbs in Chinese herbal medicine. It has been used as a medicinal herbs for variety of ailments such as alcoholism, angina, headache, migraine and high blood pressure.
Furthermore, it has been used traditionally as a remedy for diarrhea, psoriasis, muscle pain, some menopause symptoms and upper respiratory tract infections such as sinus infection, the common cold and hay fever.
Kudzu as a Treatment for Alcoholism:
Chinese doctors have for centuries used kudzu in a tea form as a treatment for alcoholism. The tea used is called xing-jiu-ling.
This traditional application of the herb has gain interest in the scientific community and few studies have been made to investigate the herb's effectiveness.
Thus far, these studies have produced findings with mixed results. While some have shown that it is useful in treating alcoholism others have indicated that the herb is ineffective.
A Remedy for Heart Disease:
Kudzu is often used as a remedy for heart and circulatory problems and high blood pressure. Flavonoid-like substances in kudzu contribute to an increase in blood circulation and flow in the arteries of the heart and reduces the heart’s need for oxygen. These substance also relax the muscles that surround the left coronary artery and lower the heart rate.
Kudzu has also antioxidant properties which could slow down the narrowing of the arteries. In a clinical study, kudzu was used as a treatment for angina pectoris (chest pain due to coronary heart disease).
Brewing Guide: Rinse tea cup and teapot with hot water. Fill the teapot 2 grams (1-2 teaspoons) tea leaves for every 225ml of water. Infuse in hot water at 90°c (194°F) to 95°c (203°F) for 2 to 3 minutes for the first and second brewing. Gradually increase steeping time and temperature for subsequent brewing.