A macrobiotic food extracted from a plant native to Asia, very popular in Japan.
Kuzu is one of the most important macrobiotic plants. In Asia it has been used as a medicine and as a food supplement since ancient times. Its worldwide popularization, which has occurred in recent decades, has led to scientific research on the possible benefits of this plant.
In this article we will describe the properties and benefits that have been attributed to kuzu, both from traditional Asian medicine and from research.
What is kuzu?
The kuzu is also known as “kudzu” or “kutzu”. It comes from Pueraria lobata , a plant of the legume family, to which chickpeas, broad beans, beans, soybeans, clover, alfalfa, carob and acacia also belong.
In traditional Chinese medicine, where it is called “gé gēn”, kuzu is considered one of the 50 fundamental herbs. As much in this as in other Asian countries numerous beneficial properties for the health are attributed to him.
Its root is usually consumed in powder, normally dissolved in liquids. In this way it is used as a condiment in foods such as soups or sauces, or mixed with tea; in Japan such a drink is called “kuzuyu”.
Also the kuzu has other different uses. During history, and also today, it has been used to make baskets, clothes and paper, to make soaps and lotions and as a fertilizer; it also allows to control soil erosion.
The consumption of kuzu is part of macrobiotic food and medicine, which propose that the use of certain natural products helps to harmonize the body, both physically, psychologically and spiritually.
Benefits and properties
Below we will describe the beneficial properties that are attributed to kuzu. Scientific research has given some support to some of them, while in others their use is more questionable.
1. To prevent disease
Among the components of kuzu, daidzein, a substance with antioxidant effects, stands out. If enough antioxidants are not consumed, cells wear out more quickly and it is easier for diseases to appear, so a minimum supply of antioxidants can prevent these negative effects.
2. For the headache
In China in the 1970s, a study was carried out on the usefulness of kuzu for treating headaches. The results of this research suggest that this plant may be effective in reducing migraine, especially in clusters, one of the most painful types of headache.
3. For intestinal transit
One of the most common uses for kuzu is to relieve symptoms of diarrhea, constipation, and heartburn. This seems to be due to the fact that it regulates the intestinal flora and that it causes anti-inflammatory effects at the intestinal level.
4. For alcoholism
Kuzu has historically been used to treat alcoholism. In particular, it is believed that it can be effective in preventing excessive alcohol consumption and in helping to detoxify the liver.
Kuzu is also often recommended as a hangover remedy, but recent studies suggest that it could be counterproductive in this regard because it increases the accumulation of acetaldehyde in the body.
5. For tiredness
Kuzu is considered a revitalizing product due to its many beneficial properties. Thus, it is believed that it can be useful to combat fatigue and physical weakness, both those that occur in a specific way and those that are related to chronic fatigue.
6. For fever and cold
Kuzu has been credited with beneficial properties for treating the symptoms of fever, cold and flu. It can also be helpful in relieving coughs, even in cases of bronchitis.
7. For allergies
The alleged beneficial effects of kuzu for allergy management appear to be related to its antioxidant effects, and probably also to its benefits for the respiratory system.
8. To prevent dementia
Studies with rats suggest that the consumption of kuzu could prevent the onset of Alzheimer’s and other types of dementia. The mechanism appears to be related to the suppression of apoptosis (or programmed cell death) in the hippocampus, the main memory-related region of the brain.
9. For symptoms of menopause
Kuzu contains isoflavones, chemical compounds found in some plants to which benefits are attributed to alleviate the symptoms of menopause, specifically hot flashes and hot flashes. However, more research is required to confirm these properties and the absence of side effects of isoflavones.
10. For vertigo
Vertigo consists of feelings of dizziness and lack of balance, not necessarily related to heights. In many cases this symptom is due to problems in the inner ear.
11. For tinnitus
Tinnitus, also known as “tinnitus,” are perceptions of sounds, usually beeps, that are due to ear problems such as plugging or bumps. The benefits of kuzu to treat this disorder are probably related to those related to vertigo.