Kudzu and its extracts and flowers have been used in traditional Chinese folk medicine to treat alcoholism for about 1,000 years. Kudzu contains daidzin, an anti-drinking substance…
“I think the over-arching issue here is medical treatment,” said Ivan Diamond…corresponding author for the study.
“Alcoholism is a medical disorder, not just a problem of will power,” he said. “Physicians treat medical disorders in order to prevent harm, while not necessarily curing the disease being treated – for example, drug treatment of hypertension, statins for high cholesterol, insulin for diabetes – and the same will become true for treating alcoholism…”
“Extracts of various parts of the kudzu vine have been used in many Chinese herbal medicine formulas and are said to be helpful in treating a variety of maladies, including alcoholism and intoxication,” said Ting-Kai Li, a professor in the department of psychiatry at Duke University Medical Center, and former director of the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism. “Recent research has found that several compounds of the isoflavone family – puerarin, daidzin, daidzein – in the kudzu extract decrease alcohol intake in experimental animals…”
“We had several key findings,” said Diamond. “We found that, one, CVT-10216 is a highly selective reversible inhibitor of ALDH2 without apparent toxicity. This means that it does not cause serious damage to other proteins and functions. Two, treatment with our ALDH-2 inhibitor increases acetaldehyde in the test tube and in living animals.” Acetaldehyde’s aversive effects can include a flushing reaction and feeling ill, which tend to reduce drinking. “And three, we found that our ALDH-2 inhibitor suppresses drinking in a variety of rodent drinking models.”
But that’s not the whole story, Diamond added. “Most importantly, we also found that CVT-10216 prevents the usual increase in drinking (binge drinking) that occurs after five days of abstinence, and also prevents relapse to drink, even when alcohol is not present. This means that something else besides acetaldehyde helps to suppress craving for, and prevent relapse to, drinking alcohol. We believe that ‘something else’ is dopamine.” He said that current concepts suggest that increased dopamine in the nucleus accumbens drives craving and relapse into drinking.
Bravo! Every little bit helps. And we get to use up Kudzu at the same time.
One thought on “Good grief. Something useful we can do with Kudzu”
The poet James Dickey described kudzu as “a vegetal form of cancer.” https://genius.com/James-dickey-kudzu-annotated
Kudzu, Encyclopedia of North Carolina: https://www.ncpedia.org/kudzu