Kudzu

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Kudzu
Pueraria lobata

Chinese alcoholism, drunkeness and hangover cure

Kudzu is fast-growing vine with large leaves and sweet-smelling blooms . The vines grow as much as a foot per day during summer months, climbing trees, power poles, and anything else they contact.
It's starchy root tubers have been used as a medication in China since 200 B.C. It has a special reputaation for combatting drunkeness, as noted in the Chinese Pharmacopeia of A.D.600
Research with laboratory animals at Harvard Medical School has revealed that a drug extracted from Kudzu root may help in the treatment of alcoholism.
When alcohol- loving rats were given kudzu either orally or by injection , they, too, drank about half as much as usual. The scientists also noted that kudzu suppressed alcohol's intoxicating effects after it entered the bloodstream, tending to confirm the ancient claim that taking kudzu before drinking alcohol helps stave off intoxication and hangovers.
In its native lands, the roots are also used to make a medicinal tea for treating dysentery and fever. In Japan, a kind of kudzu tofu is highly prized. The stems yield a fiber called ko-kemp that is useful in making cloth and paper. And, last but not least, the plant contains a chemical compound, daidzin, that has proven to be effective in suppressing the craving for alcohol.
When kudzu is present in a diet, it also prevents anyone from falling into an alcohol addiction.

In China , Kudzu is included in a "morning after tea" , known as xing-jiu-ling, which essentially means "sober up."
What makes kudzu especially appealing is its lack of side effects. No liver damage or nausea or vomiting.
Kudzu's toxicity is very low. Taking as much as 100 grams, or 3.5 ounces, has no adverse effects. Don't combine kudzu with prescription drugs unless your doctor okays it. In China kudzu is sold as a root or extract. In the United States you can buy extracts from a health food store. In China tablets are standardized so that milligrams equals 5 grams of crude root. Some experts haved advised taking one such standardized tablet two or three times a day to discourage drinking.

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by Angela Spivey
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