Kudzu ia a climbing vine in the pea family. Flowering occurs in late summer and is soon followed by the production of brown, hairy, flattened, seed pods.
Each pod contains three to ten hard seeds. In its environment, Kudzu is an ecological threat.
Kudzu kills other plants by smothering them under a solid blanket of leaves or by engulfing their stems and trunks.
Kudzu plants grow rapidly and extend themselves as much as 60 feet per season at a rate of about one foot per day.
Kudzu's effect on the body is another matter.
Harvard Medical School is studying kudzu as a possible treatment for alcoholism. They are using the extracted compound from the herb and developing a medical drug that can be patented. The mechanism that Kudzu uses to prevent cravings is not yet established, but it may have to do with both alcohol metabolism and reward circuits in the brain.
"Kudzu also contains a number of useful isoflavones, including daidzein (an anti-inflammatoryand antimicrobial agent) and daidzin (structurally related to genistein). Kudzu is a source of theisoflavone puerarin. Kudzu root compounds can affect neurotransmitters (including serotonin,GABA, and glutamate). It has shown value in treating migraine and cluster headaches.[unreliable source?] It is recommended by some[who?] for allergies and diarrhea.
In Traditional Chinese medicine (TCM), where it is known as gé gēn (Chinese: 葛根), kudzu is considered one of the 50 fundamental herbs. It is used to treat tinnitus, vertigo, and Wei syndrome (superficial heat).
Kudzu has traditionally been used as a remedy for alcoholism and hangover in China.[unreliable source?] The root was used to prevent excessive consumption, while the flower was supposed to detoxify the liver and alleviate the symptoms afterwards. Some TCM hangover remedies are marketed with kudzu as one of their active ingredients. This has also been a common use in areas of the Southeastern United States.
It may help diabetes and cardiovascular disease."