Kudzu is a type of vine that is used medicinally for a broad spectrum of different purposes, including some that are meant to promote weight loss. This plant can be found on ingredients lists under any of a long list of different potential names, including: ge gen, gange, kudsu, mealy kudzu, isoflavone, Indian kudzu, gegen, daidzein, dolichos lobatus, neustanthus chinensis, dolichos hirsutus, bidarikand, and several others.
As a wild plant, kudzu has become quite common in North America after it was first brought to the Southeastern United States in 1876 for the purpose of preventing soil erosion. It grows rampantly, spreading quickly and covering over pretty much everything that had been growing in its path. As a result of this rapid growth and spreading, it rapidly overtook both farms and the exteriors of buildings until it became known as “the vine that ate the South.”
While many people may consider this a very undesirable weed because it can be quite invasive and difficult to control, its root, leaf and flower have all been used in Chinese medicine since 200 BC or earlier. It had been used as an alcoholism treatment as far back as 600 AD.
Nowadays, kudzu is still used for that purpose, but it is also used for treating other kinds of issues such as high blood pressure, circulatory issues, symptoms of hangover (dizziness, nausea, vomiting and dizziness), certain skin issues, diabetes, diarrhea, fever, stomach pain due to gas, menopause symptoms, and obesity.
One of the chemicals found in kudzu – called puerarin – is sometimes intravenously administered by healthcare providers in China for the treatment of strokes caused by blood clots.
Limited research has indicated that some of the substances found within kudzu may counteract the effects of alcohol, they may act similarly to estrogen, and they may even boost blood circulation to the brain and the heart. However, the body of evidence to support those claims has yet to be considered substantial enough to be deemed proven for those purposes by the American medical community.
There is also insufficient evidence to suggest that this ingredient would have a safe and measurable effect on weight loss efforts. Still, it is found quite regularly in over the counter diet supplements.
Fortunately, research has shown that, regardless of whether or not it works, it is likely safe to take in appropriate doses for up to 4 months when taken orally (or up to 20 days when taken intravenously). No side effects have been identified in clinical studies that involved the use of kudzu, when it was taken orally.