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Pueraria lobata (Willd) Ohwi. Also known as P. thunbergiana.
COMMON NAME(S): Japanese arrowroot, kudzu vine, ge gen (Chinese)
Kudzu was first seen in the United States as an ornamental plant at the 1876 Philadelphia Centennial Exposition. During the Depression , the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) imported kudzu for erosion control. In 1972, the USDA classified kudzu as a weed because the plant can reach 60 ft (18.29 m) in a single growing season. In June and July, the vines sport purple flowers and in autumn, the leaves shed.
Although kudzu has been widely recognized as a ground cover and fodder crop in the Western world, the plant has a long history of medicinal use in Asian cultures. As far back as the 6th century BC, Chinese herbalists have used the plant for muscular fain and for the treatment of measles. Kudzu is cited in botanical herbals from Japan, China, and Fiji. The Chinese have also used extracts of the plant to treat alcoholism.
Botany :- Kudzu is a fast-growing vine native to the tropics of China and Japan. It has been used as fodder and as a ground cover crop. Because it produces long stems that can attain 20 m in length and extensive roots, it has been used to control soil erosion. The plant was introduced into the US where it has become established and proliferates particularly in the moist southern regions. It is in the southern regions that it grows vigorously and is now considered a pest. The leaves of the plant contain 3 broad oval leaflets with purple flowers and curling tendril spikes.
Uses of kudzu
Kudzu has been used as a ground cover and fodder. It is also used as medicinal herb for treating alcoholism and for muscular aches, heart disease, and related disorders, although there is limited documentation to support these uses.
Chinese medicine also indicates using kudzu for thirst, headaches (migraine and other types of headaches), neck pain from hypertension, angina, allergies, diarrhea , and speeding the progression of measles in children.
Side Effects of kudzu
No known toxic effects; safety undefined.
Kudzu should not be taken by pregnant and lactating women. In traditional Chinese practice, people who sweat too much or have cold in their stomach should avoid kudzu because it is given for "wind-heat" illnesses.
The 1985 Chinese Pharmacopoeia suggests 9-15 grams of kudzu root per day. In China, standardized root extracts (10 mg tablet is equivalent to 1.5 grams of the crude root) are used to treat angina pectoris . Some sources recommend 30-120 mg of the extract two to three times per day.
ToxicologyKudzu has been used as a medicinal herb for centuries without any reported toxic side effects. However, the safety profile of the plant and its extracts has yet to be defined through systematic pharmacologic screens. Acute toxicity of 4 species of Pueraria has been comparatively studied.
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