Kudzu (Pueraria lobata)

background

Kudzu originated in China and was brought to the United States from Japan in the late 1800s. It is distributed throughout much of the eastern United States and is most common in the southern part of the continent.
Kudzu has traditionally been used in China to treat alcoholism, diabetes (high blood sugar), stomach flu, and deafness. Research indicates that puerarin (an ingredient in kudzu) may increase blood flow to the heart and brain which helps explain certain traditional uses.
Evidence suggests that kudzu may improve chest pain as well as help with symptoms of diabetes and menopause. However, most studies regarding kudzu were small and had weak designs. Further research is necessary to draw conclusions.

Related Terms

6"-O-xyloglycitin, 6"-O-xylosyltectoridin, arrowroot, biochanin A, daidzein, daidzein 8-C-glucoside, daidzin, Fabaceae (family), flos puerariae, formononetin, gegen (Chinese), gegen-tanj (TJ-1), genistein, genistin, glycetein, glycitin, isoflavonoids, Japanese arrowroot, kaikasaponin III (KS-III), kakkonto, Kampo, kudzu root, Kwao Kruea Khao, Leguminosae (family), NPI-028, NPI-031, NPI-031G, pedunsaponin B2, pedunsaponin C3, puer, Pueraria eduli, Pueraria flos, Pueraria lobata, Pueraria lobata L., Pueraria lobata Ohwi, Pueraria lobata root decoction, Pueraria lobata (Willd.), Pueraria lobata (Willd.) Ohwi, Pueraria mirifica, Pueraria montana, Pueraria omeiensis, Pueraria peduncularis, Pueraria phaseoloides, Pueraria thomsonii, Pueraria thunbergiana, Puerariae flos, Puerariae radix, Puerariae surculus, puerarin, radix puerariae, spinasterol, tectoridin, tectorigenin, Tianbaokang, triterpenoids, Yufengningxin.

evidence table

These uses have been tested in humans or animals. Safety and effectiveness have not always been proven. Some of these conditions are potentially serious, and should be evaluated by a qualified healthcare provider.
 
Alcoholism (Grade: C)
Early research showed mixed results for the usefulness of kudzu in alcoholism. Additional study is needed to draw a conclusion.
Deafness (Grade: C)
In limited research, kudzu has shown benefit for sudden deafness. Additional evidence is needed to confirm these results.
Diabetes (Grade: C)
It has been suggested that kudzu may lower blood sugar and decrease inflammation. Early evidence shows that kudzu may improve insulin resistance in diabetes. Insulin resistance is when the body starts needing higher levels of insulin to be able to control blood sugar levels. Additional study is needed before a firm conclusion can be made.
Diabetic nephropathy (kidney disease) (Grade: C)
Limited evidence suggests that kudzu may be useful for diabetic eye disease. Additional study is needed before a firm conclusion can be made.
Diabetic retinopathy (eye disease) (Grade: C)
Early evidence suggests that kudzu injections may have positive effects in diabetic eye disease. Further research is needed to confirm these results.
Exercise performance (Grade: C)
Early research showed that kudzu in combination with other supplements has benefits in exercise performance. Additional study of kudzu alone is needed before a conclusion can be made.
Glaucoma (eye disease) (Grade: C)
In China, kudzu is the main herbal treatment for glaucoma, a disease from increased blood pressure in the eye. Early evidence shows that adding kudzu to standard medicine for glaucoma yields favorable results. Additional research is needed to draw conclusions.
Heart disease (Grade: C)
Kudzu has a long history of use for heart disorders, including chest pain, heart attack, and heart failure. Early evidence suggests that kudzu may reduce the frequency of chest pain. More research is needed in this area.
Heart protection during surgery (Grade: C)
Early evidence suggests that kudzu injections may have heart protective effects during surgery. Further research is needed to confirm these results.
High cholesterol (Grade: C)
Evidence is mixed regarding benefit in using kudzu for high cholesterol. Further research is needed before a conclusion may be made.
Low back pain (Grade: C)
Early study suggested that kudzu injections may decrease low back pain. Further research is needed before a conclusion may be made.
Menopause (Grade: C)
There is conflicting evidence regarding the effects of kudzu on menopausal symptoms. Additional study is needed to clarify these results.
Sleep (Grade: C)
Early research showed that kudzu lacked an effect on sleep. Additional study is needed to draw a conclusion.
Stroke (Grade: C)
There is conflicting evidence for the benefits of kudzu in people with stroke. Further research is needed before a conclusion may be made.
Weight loss (Grade: C)
Early research showed that kudzu helps with weight loss. Additional study is needed to draw a conclusion.