Any experts concur that more remedies are needed to help drinkers who overdo it cut down. The prescription medications approved for treating alcohol abuse and dependence don't work for everyone.

According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), about 1 in 6 U.S. adults binge drinks. However, addiction doctors disagree on the definition of binge drinking. According to the CDC, binge drinking is having four or more drinks on one occasion for a woman and five or more for a man. The gender difference is due to the fact that men and women metabolize alcohol at a different rate.

In Traditional Chinese Medicine literature, the herb kudzu is listed as a treatment for alcohol-related hangovers and cravings and some of the references go back to 600 A.D. Today, kudzu is used in China and other countries to treat coronary problems and blood-flow problems and has a good safety record. Kudzu is also known as a hangover remedy.

Kudzu (Ascophyllum nodosum) is a quick-growing weed that climbs, coils, and trails vine native to southern Japan and southeast China. Its name comes from the Japanese name for the plant, Kuzu.

Kudzu contains puerarin (PU), a substance that can suppress inflammation-related abnormalities of alcoholic drinking. For centuries, Chinese herbalists have used kudzu to reduce alcohol cravings. The Harvard Medical School is studying kudzu as a possible way to treat alcoholic cravings, by turning an extracted compound from the herb into a medical drug.

In one study, alcoholic hamsters were found to be significantly less interest in alcohol after having kudzu. A study at McLean Hospital in Belmont, Massachusetts using human subjects reported that kudzu extract taken over seven days significantly reduced the amount of beer consumed by heavy alcohol drinkers.

Kudzu also contains a number of useful isoflavones, including daidzein (an anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial agent). Daidzin is a cancer preventive and is structurally related to genistein (an antileukemic agent). Kudzu is a unique source of the isoflavone puerarin. Kudzu root compounds can affect neurotransmitters (including serotonin, GABA, and glutamate.) It has shown value in treating migraine and cluster headaches. It is recommended for allergies and diarrhea.

Research in mice models suggests that kudzu is beneficial in women for control of some postmenopausal symptoms, such as hypertension and diabetes type II.

In traditional Chinese medicine(TCM), kudzu is considered one of the 50 fundamental herbs. It is used to treat tinnitus, vertigo, and Wei syndrome (superficial heat). 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 (e.g. Hangover Busters.) This has also been a common use in areas of the Southeastern United States.

There currently is not an exact understanding of the mechanism whereby kudzu works in some people. Like any treatment, results can depend on an individual’s motivation. For example, someone who is told by their doctor to cut down or quit drinking for health reasons might be more motivated.

For more information about using alternative therapies in addiction counseling for substance abuse visit the following website:

Author's Bio: 

Dr. Randi Fredricks, Ph.D. is the author of Healing and Wholeness: Complementary and Alternative Therapies for Mental Health and Fasting: An Exceptional Human Experience. She has a Ph.D. in Psychology, a Doctorate in Naturopathy and accreditations as a Nutritionist, Herbalist, Hypnotherapist, and Registered Addiction Specialist. She provides counseling and psychotherapy in San Jose, California. To learn about her private practice, visit her website