Ibogaine is a naturally occurring alkaloid extracted from the root of an African shrub . Preparations of the herb have been used as a stimulant in traditional African culture for centuries. Animal studies suggest that ibogaine and its primary metabolite, noribogaine, significantly reduce alcohol consumption in rats genetically engineered to prefer alcohol. In retrospect, my experience demonstrates the utility of kudzu for alcoholism. If I had been committed to using kudzu to wean off of alcohol and then quit, it might have been a very valuable part of my recovery. I did not know at the time that people also use kudzu to treat alcohol withdrawal symptoms; nor did I care, because I did not intend to quit at the time. A small study showed that in heavy drinkers of alcohol, kudzu did result in a reduction of the number of beers consumed after 7 days of treatment. Drinking was recorded using a custom built end table that contained a digital scale beneath a ceramic tile insert in the tabletop (Ohaus model #B10P with I5S controller). Participants were instructed to always keep the beer glass on the table except when taking a sip. The scale was connected to a computer in an adjacent room that ran a customized program that sampled the scale at 5 Hz and detected any weight changes that exceeded 1 gm.
Heavy drinkers, both male and female, were given either a placebo or kudzu extract for 7 days. They were then given the opportunity to drink the beer of their choice in a naturalistic laboratory setting. Researchers monitored drinking behavior with a digital scale located in the top of an end table. This allowed them to measure the rate of drinking as well as the volume of sips. The ability of puerarin and related isoflavones to facilitate alcohol’s entry into the brain has not been systematically studied. For this mechanism to be plausible, the more rapid penetration of alcohol into the brain would have to trigger a satiety mechanism rather quickly such that the desire for the next drink is delayed—thus Sober Home interrupting a binge episode. This is precisely what was observed in the present study as kudzu’s effects were evident after a single dose within a few hours of administration. Of course, it is entirely possible that any of the above mechanisms may also develop with repeated administration and complement the immediate altered absorption effect that likely explains kudzu’s rapid onset of action. The number of participants who drank each available beer during the 1.5 hour drinking session following administration of placebo or kudzu. WASHINGTON – An extract of the kudzu vine being developed to treat alcoholism may also help treat cocaine addiction, researchers at Gilead Sciences Inc reported on Sunday.
What Foods Decrease an Alcohol Craving?
Of course, it’s up to the individual to ensure that he or she doesn’t use this as an excuse to fall off the wagon. Several research groups have noted that adults also may change from nonproducer to producer status after heightened soy consumption, although not all studies concur. Franke et al. found that both post- and premenopausal women may begin to produce equol with increased isoflavone exposure. On average, the men and women drank 3.5 beers after placebo and 2.4 after puerarin. About 1 in 6 U.S. adults binge drinks, according to a CDC report. 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. It is one of the substances known as isoflavones found in kudzu. Results are consistent with the interpretation that female sex steroids modulate aldehyde dehydrogenase function and practical implications are that females with elevated steroids may be at greater risk for toxic effects of ethanol consumption. Isoflavonoid compounds extracted from Pueraria lobata suppress alcohol preference in a pharmacogenetic rat model of alcoholism.
However, this effect by daidzin is not like a classical ALDH-2 inhibitor because it does not also inhibit the cytosolic form, of liver ALDH-1, which is a very efficient catalyst of acetaldehyde oxidation. Thus daidzin can suppress ethanol intake of this species without blocking acetaldehyde metabolism. There are many ways, both medical and traditional, that are used to treat alcohol abuse or dependence. In China, kudzu root extract has been commonly used to reduce, but not eliminate, alcohol consumption and dependence. Despite its history, the mechanism of action for kudzu extract is still unknown, and that is what the current research explores.
Traditional Use (May Not Be Supported by Scientific Studies)
Kudzu root can also be a natural option to treat inflammation. In a small case study, researchers found that isoorientin, a compound isolated from kudzu root, is capable of boosting antioxidant levels and reducing inflammation in mice with swollen paws. One study in mice found that kudzu vine extract was highly beneficial in treating alcohol-induced liver damage by scavenging harmful free radicals and boosting the natural antioxidant system . It’s important to note that these studies used kudzu extract, which may have contained other parts of the kudzu plant besides the root. Thus, scientists need to do more research in this area on the effects of kudzu root specifically. Furthermore, the men who took kudzu had fewer heavy drinking days per week and had significantly more consecutive days with no alcohol consumption . In one study, kudzu treatment resulted in a significant reduction in the number of beers consumed, which was paralleled by an increase in the number of sips and the time to consume each beer and a decrease in the volume of each sip. Benlhabib E, Baker JI, Keyler DE, Singh AK. Effects of purified puerarin on voluntary alcohol intake and alcohol withdrawal symptoms in P rats receiving free access to water and alcohol.
In fact, even a single dose of kudzu extract may be helpful if you’re looking to reduce your drinking. Kudzu root gets some serious rep’ for helping folks ease off of the booze. One small study looking at the effects of kudzu in a group of men that reported drinking between 22 and 35 drinks per week shows promising results. After consuming kudzu extract for 4 weeks, the participants reduced their number of weekly alcoholic beverages by at least a third. The participants reported their desire for and consumption of alcohol for the duration of the study. Researchers found that the kudzu extract had no effect on alcohol cravings, but it reduced the number of weekly alcoholic drinks by 34–57% .
Although I’m sure it would have helped me detoxify, I did not use kudzu after I quit drinking. My experience was limited to an experiment that I did years ago to see if taking the herb would reduce my drinking levels. I will discuss how kudzu works, my experience with using powdered kudzu root for alcoholism, and recommendations for taking kudzu. Lukas recruited 14 men and women in their 20s to spend four 90-minute sessions consuming beer and watching TV. Researchers selected people who said they regularly consumed three to four drinks per day. Changes in the chemistry of 6″-malonyl-7′-β-glucosyldaidzein, a major soybean component, during food processing. Dry heating of 6″-malonyl-7′-β-glucosyldaidzein leads to decarboxylation to 6″-acetyl-7′-β-glucosyldaidzein . Heated, aqueous extraction of soybeans to make soy milk and tofu, removes the malonyl group to make daidzin . Fermentation can also lead to hydrolysis of the glucosyl group . Daidzein and glycitein in soy and kudzu, and formononetin and biochanin A in red clover.
Can you take kudzu and milk thistle together?
Interactions between your drugs
No interactions were found between kudzu and milk thistle. However, this does not necessarily mean no interactions exist. Always consult your healthcare provider.
Since consuming alcohol while taking kudzu extract is not aversive, another explanation is necessary to account for the extremely fast onset of action observed in the present study. The most obvious is one that involves alcohol pharmacokinetics. The correlational analysis of absolute amount of alcohol consumed and breath alcohol levels in this study indicates that the physiological effects and the rate of elimination of ingested alcohol are not altered by kudzu administration. This was demonstrated in our previous study (Penetar et al., 2011) where pharmacokinetic parameters such as peak concentration and elimination time were not affected by kudzu. This interpretation of kudzu’s possible mechanism of action was also suggested by Wong et al. who postulated that kudzu alters peripheral and cerebral blood flow. Puerarin, one of the most abundant isoflavones in kudzu root extracts, is a known vasodilator and is approved for such use in China following coronary infarction and stroke (Wu et al., 2014). In spite of the compelling preclinical and clinical evidence of its efficacy, the precise mechanism of action of kudzu in reducing alcohol consumption is not currently known. Prior studies of its antidipsotropic effect have focused on taste-aversion, alterations in alcohol metabolism or effects on neurotransmitters. Overstreet et al.’s study provides cursory evidence that a taste aversion mechanism is not likely. Increases in 5-HIAL have been shown to be correlated with decreased alcohol consumption in hamsters (Keung et al., 1995).
“We suspect it may work because it increases blood flow,” he says. “It may deliver alcohol to the brain’s reward center faster. So you get an effect sooner; therefore, you don’t drink as much.” “When they were treated with puerarin they drank about a beer less than when they were treated with placebo,” he says. Before the second, they took either 1,200 milligrams of puerarin or identical-looking placebo pills for a week. They came to the lab and could drink as much as they wanted, up to six beers. In Chinese pharmacy books, kudzu is listed as a possible treatment for alcohol-related hangovers and cravings, Penetar tells WebMD. They found how it works — by raising levels of a compound called tetrahydropapaveroline or THP. Cocaine cravings make levels of a brain chemical called dopamine soar and THP interferes with this.
- This is the fourth installment in a series of posts on non-pharmacologic approaches to alcohol and drug abuse.
- There are many ways, both medical and traditional, that are used to treat alcohol abuse or dependence.
- As a safe, over-the-counter preparation, kudzu may be used alone in initial attempts to curb alcohol consumption, but it may also become a useful adjunct to the currently available prescription medications.
Previous studies had shown that kudzu extracts reduced alcohol drinking in rats and hamsters. In this study, researchers tested the effect of kudzu extract on drinking by humans in a naturalistic setting. Participants were randomized on a blind basis to receive either 4 capsules of the extract or placebo 2.5 hours before the start of an afternoon drinking session. This pretreatment time was selected based on our pharmacokinetic study of puerarin absorption and elimination (Penetar et al., 2006). Because alcoholism can interfere with the absorption of minerals and vitamins, supplementing certain nutrients — including vitamin C, selenium, magnesium and zinc — may help with cravings. The University of Maryland Medical Center also notes that the amino acids carnitine, glutamine and glutathione, when combined, may be able to reduce alcohol-related stress on the body as well as fluctuations in blood sugar, which can reduce cravings. According to New York University Langone Medical Center, the herb passion flower may be useful in reducing alcohol withdrawal symptoms. Dandelion may also be able to help with alcohol withdrawal symptoms. A natural product called polyenylphosphatidylcholine may reduce liver damage in chronic alcohol abuse and fatty acid supplementation may reduce the severity of alcohol withdrawal while improving mood and overall cognitive performance. There is also evidence that the herbals ashwagondha, Ginseng, and select other natural products may reduce the severity of withdrawal from opiates, and reduce tolerance to cocaine, methamphetamine, and morphine.
“There is no effective treatment for cocaine addiction despite extensive knowledge of the neurobiology of drug addiction,” wrote Lina Yao, Ivan Diamond and colleagues. James Lake, M.D., a clinical assistant professor at the University of Arizona College of Medicine, works to transform mental health care through the evidence-based uses of alternative therapies. Kudzu is used in modern Chinese medicine as a treatment for angina. Standardized root tablets are sometimes used for angina pectoris. For over a decade, our team has combed through thousands of research articles published in reputable journals. To help you make educated decisions, and to better understand controversial or confusing supplements, our medical experts have digested the science into these three easy-to-follow ratings. We hope this provides you with a helpful resource to make informed decisions towards your health and well-being. But promising as it is for rats, it remains to be seen whether the drug is safe and effective for people.
The kudzu vine, imported from Japan in 1876, has been written about in Chinese medical literature for centuries for its general health benefits. But recently, it has been tested for its ability to reduce alcohol cravings. The results showed pre-treatment with kudzu extract had little to no effect on the participant’s behavioral, physical or cognitive performance. However, the researchers did note that treatment with kudzu caused an increase in heart rate, skin temperature and blood ethanol levels in the participants. Based on this, the researchers hypothesized that an increase in blood ethanol levels could translate into increased effects from the first alcoholic drink and delay an individual’s desire for subsequent drinks. A study of heavy drinkers who were not in a treatment program found that taking kudzu had no effect on their alcohol cravings. But it did reduce the number of drinks they had each week by a third to a half.
A 2007 paper published in “Prescrire International” noted that thiamine deficiency is frequent in alcoholics and can lead to serious complications. Therefore, high doses of thiamine can be supplemented to compensate for poor absorption. Niacin (vitamin B-3) and pantothenic acid (vitamin B-5) can also help the body detox from alcohol, Henninger says. An easy way to get all the B vitamins is to supplement a B-complex vitamin. The 1985 Chinese Pharmacopoeia suggests 9–15 grams of kudzu root per day.6 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. A. She took kudzu-root extract (available in health-food stores). In its native China, kudzu has long been used to help people control their desire for alcohol. Drive through the countryside anywhere in the southern United States and you’re likely to see vines of kudzu smothering trees, shrubs, telephone poles, old cars, and anything else in their path.
Melatonin may facilitate discontinuation of benzodiazepines when there is dependence following chronic use. In a 12-week single-blind placebo-controlled study patients receiving controlled release melatonin 2mg/night were more likely to discontinue benzodiazepines compared to patients taking a placebo . Patients taking melatonin reported significantly greater improvements in subjective sleep quality compared to the placebo group. Most patients who continued to take controlled-release melatonin at night remained off benzodiazepines six months after the end of the study. Valerian extract may kudzu root for alcohol cravings lessen withdrawal symptoms and facilitate return to a normal sleep pattern following prolonged use of benzodiazepines such as clonazepam and lorazepam. The findings of animal studies show that Valerian in doses of 12mg per kilogram attenuates withdrawal symptoms in diazepam-dependent rats . Prescription drugs such as Antabuse , Campral and ReVia have been used to discourage alcohol consumption. You should talk to your physician or an alcohol abuse specialist to find out the best approach in your situation. The Drug-Nutrient Interactions table may not include every possible interaction.
Daidzin, a compound found in the kudzu vine, interferes with the metabolization of alcohol and produces effects similar to those of the anti-drinking drug Antabuse. Daidzin and synthetic daidzin (known as CVT-1-216) may prove useful in alcohol treatment. There are certain herbs and nutritional supplements that are best avoided by those who drink heavily. Vitamin A, when taken in high doses, can cause alcoholic liver disease. Although B-complex vitamins can be useful for curbing alcohol drinking, niacin, when taken in high doses, can be toxic to the liver. NYU Langone Medical Center notes that one herb, known as kava, has been suggested to help with alcohol withdrawal symptoms. This herb should be avoided by alcoholics, however, because it too has the potential to cause severe liver damage. Many other supplements can potentially be toxic to the liver, an organ already compromised by alcoholism, which is why it is important to first consult with a doctor before taking any supplements for alcohol cravings.
Penetar DM, MacLean RR, McNeil JF, Lukas SE. Kudzu extract treatment does not increase the intoxicating effects of acute alcohol in human volunteers. Excessive alcohol consumption is a leading cause of illness worldwide (Shield et al., 2013) and has a significant impact on the health of millions people. The impact of excessive alcohol consumption results in increased healthcare costs, loss of productivity, alcohol-related crime , and motor vehicle accidents. If you are struggling with an alcohol or drug abuse problem it is prudent to consult with a mental health provider or an addiction specialist before considering any natural product supplement. Mentat™, a proprietary Ayurvedic compound herbal formula, has been found to reverse effects of acute benzodiazepine withdrawal in dependent mice, and may provide similar benefits in humans (Kulkarni 1994; Kulkarni 1992).