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    Kudzu (Pueraria lobata)

    Kudzu (クズ or 葛 Kuzu?), Pueraria lobata (syn. P. montana, P. thunbergiana), is one of about 20 species in the genus Pueraria in the pea family Fabaceae, subfamily Faboideae. It is native to southern Japan and southeast China in eastern Asia. The name comes from the Japanese word for this plant, kuzu. The other species of Pueraria occur in southeast Asia, further south.Studies have shown that kudzu can reduce both hangovers and alcohol cravings. A person who takes kudzu, will still drink alcohol, however, they will consume less than if they had not taken kudzu.The mechanism for this is not yet established, but it may have to do with both alcohol metabolism and the reward circuits in the brain. 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.Kudzu also contains a number of useful isoflavones, including daidzein (an anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial agent), daidzin (a cancer preventive) and genistein (an antileukemic agent). Kudzu is a unique source of the isoflavone puerarin. Kudzu root compounds can affect neurotransmitters (including serotonin, GABA, and glutamate) and it has shown value in treating migraine and cluster headache.In traditional Chinese medicine, where it is known as gé gēn (葛根), kudzu is considered one of the 50 fundamental herbs. It is used to treat tinnitus, vertigo, and Wei syndrome (superficial heat close to the surface). http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kudzu