In China, kudzu root extract has been commonly used to reduce, but not eliminate, alcohol consumption and dependence. Despite its history, how the herb works is still unclear. That is what the focus of the new study was.
Kudzu has been around for centuries to treat alcohol intoxication, hangovers and other related problems. One possibility of how it works is through its various “isoflavones.”
Recently, studies on animals showed reductions in alcohol consumption after treatment with isoflavones from the kudzu root. This set the stage for finding out what effects kudzu has on physical, behavioral and cognitive features in humans.
Twelve men and women were observed, so it was a small sampling. They received either kudzu or placebo for nine days before receiving an alcohol challenge to see what alcohol-related symptoms showed up.
They found that kudzu extract had little to no effect on people’s behavioral, physical or cognitive performance. But, kudzu did cause an increase in heart rate, skin temperature and blood ethanol levels in the participants. A rise in blood ethanol levels could translate into increased effects from the first alcoholic drink. That means you have a delayed desire for more alcoholic drinks. Thus, you drink less.
This rise in blood alcohol levels through kudzu could not be explained by the researchers. More studies will be needed. The idea here is that alcohol is reaching the brain earlier and you might stop drinking earlier or drink less because of it.
For now, if you or someone you know has serious alcohol dependence, speak to your doctor about this possibly impactful herb.
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