Kudzu extract may help control alcohol cravings

Bitter herbs have a long and successful tradition of use for a number of health purposes [16]. Bitters have been used for centuries to improve digestion, and are still commonly used in many cuisines to be taken before meals to stimulate digestive powers. It used to be assumed that bitters only stimulated receptors in the mouth, and then somewhat in the digestive tract. It has been demonstrated however, that bitter receptors exist throughout the entire gastro-intestinal tract [17,18]. When triggered by bitter compounds, these receptors then stimulate a myriad of bodily functions [19-21]. In addition to digestion, these receptors promote absorption of nutrients, blood sugar homeostasis, and can even help with weight control.

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. To our knowledge the present pilot is the first such a study in the world that has systematically evaluated this novel complex in humans. Chai hu (Bupleuri radix), one of the most frequently used herbs in Chinese herbal medicine, has positive benefits in cases of liver toxicity especially due to alcoholism [39], analgesic properties [40] as well as sedative activity [41].

The Importance of AUD Treatment

In some instances, even a single dose of kudzu extract reduced alcohol consumption and prevented binge drinking (4, 5). One of the ancillary factors in alcohol dependence is blood sugar imbalances. In fact our laboratory hypothesized [58] that one such genetic factor that influences behavior including drug and food seeking is a predisposition to glucose craving and the overall effect of dopaminergic activity in the reward center of the brain. This defect drives individuals to engage in activities of behavioral excess, which will increase brain dopamine function, for which we created the term Reward Deficiency Syndrome (RDS) [59] to categorize such biological influences on behavior. Consuming large quantities of alcohol or carbohydrates (carbohydrate bingeing) stimulates the brain’s production and utilization of dopamine.

Does kudzu root work for alcohol?

The study found the treatment with the kudzu extract resulted in a significant reduction in the number of beers consumed. Kudzu treatment also resulted in the number of sips and length of time for consuming each beer, as well as a decrease in the volume of each sip.

A recent study by Harvard-affiliated researchers revealed that kudzu—an herb found to reduce alcohol consumption—does not work by increasing the intoxicating effects of alcohol so that individuals get drunk faster. When alcohol is consumed, kudzu may reduce the time it takes for it to travel to the brain. A slightly increased concentration of alcohol in the brain results in a quicker reward, which in turn reduces a person’s desire to drink more alcohol. The Chinese noticed that people who consumed the plant started to drink less.

Kudzu Root: Benefits, Dosage & Side Effects

The phytoestrogen genistein is an isoflavone found in various plants including lupine, soybeans, kudzu, and Flemingia vestita[33]. Genistein has been shown to improve the learning and memory deficits in Aβ peptide–treated rats, possibly by an attenuation in the production of nitrite content, suggesting that the reduction of Aβ peptide is related to an attenuation of OS [34]. Genistein, and the related compound daidzein, was also shown to protect neurons from HIV-1 Tat protein, which affects the cognitive processes in animal https://ecosoberhouse.com/article/what-is-the-life-expectancy-of-an-alcoholic/ models of HIV dementia [35]. Genistein, which has a structure similar to 17β-estradiol, can activate ERK1/2 and the transcription factor NF-kβ, thus upregulating the expression of MnSOD [10,36]. Taken together, these results suggest that genistein could be an important modulator of oxidative processes in neurodegenerative diseases. Interestingly, baicalin, a flavone founded in the Scutellaria baicalensis root, has also been shown to reduce oxidative damage and inhibit the aggregation of Aβ in SH-SY5Y cells [8] (Table 76.2).

Supplementing with vitamins and minerals is also important because long-term alcohol consumption and dependence can deplete these elements, particularly the B vitamins. Kudzu has traditionally served as a remedy for diarrhea for over 2,000 years. The Chinese also use it to treat high blood pressure, migraines and inflammation. And recent research now suggests that there may be some validity behind all this.

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Puerarin suppressed the addictionmediated abnormalities but did not affect the inflammation-related abnormalities. Kudzu root (Radix pueraria) from the vine Pueraria lobota is the richest source of isoflavones of the commonly used botanicals, and it is used in traditional Chinese medicines. Its root extract has become commercially available in Western dietary supplements. The isoflavones in kudzu root are puerarin (daidzein-8-C-glucoside; Fig. 24.9B), an isomer of daidzin (daidzein-7-O-glucoside; Fig. 24.9A), daidzein diglucosides and formononetin (Fig. 24.7B).

Lukas was not certain why but speculated that kudzu increases blood alcohol levels and speeds up its effects. Currently, commonly prescribed anti-drinking drugs such as disulfiram (Antabuse), naltrexone (Revia and Vivitrol), and acamprosate (Campral), cause several side effects. For example, drowsiness and headaches are common side effects of Antabuse.

I will discuss how kudzu works, my experience with using powdered kudzu root for alcoholism, and recommendations for taking kudzu. Daily drinking can have serious consequences for a person’s health, both in kudzu for alcohol cravings the short- and long-term. Many of the effects of drinking every day can be reversed through early intervention. Many menopausal women have undergone hormone replacement therapy to combat their symptoms.

  • Individuals treated with kudzu extract drank less beer, and they drank more slowly.
  • In this study, researchers tested the effect of kudzu extract on drinking by humans in a naturalistic setting.
  • It used to be assumed that bitters only stimulated receptors in the mouth, and then somewhat in the digestive tract.
  • Because my drinking levels were so stupendously high in the first place, kudzu did not turn me into a moderate drinker by any stretch of the imagination.

Kudzu may also help heavy drinkers cut the amount of alcohol they consume, even if they are not being treated for AUD. The alcohol-targeted acupuncture cut down on cravings and withdrawal symptoms better than the sham treatment. “It is also possible that there is another, as yet undiscovered compound in the mixture that accounts for the effects. Thus, the mechanism of action of the kudzu extract remains unknown.” This article examines the benefits, uses, and potential side effects of kudzu root. While we only selected a small number of patients (Table 2) to study in this pilot because we wanted to capture a positive effect prior to a much larger study being planned in the future, we are encouraged with these preliminary results.

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