As an invasive plant that eats everything in its path, the kudzu vine gets a bad reputation in North America. However, it is packed with nutrients with the root alone containing over 70 compounds and has a host of medicinal benefits.
Kudzu (pueraria lobata) is a legume native to South East Asia and is also known as East Asian arrowroot. The starchy powder of the roots are used to make arrowroot tea and also has culinary use for thickening soups and sauces.
It is also used in traditional Chinese medicine due to its high phytochemical content and nutrients. With the exception of the vine itself, almost all of the kudzu plant can be eaten including the leaves, flower and the roots.
The kudzu plant is a popular ingredient in herbal supplements, normally combined with other plant ingredients. It is mostly used to treat alcoholism although there are many other uses.
Can the kudzu plant be used to help you lose weight though? It has been the subject of a small number of scientific studies and that is what we’re going to look at in this article.
How Kudzu Helps You Lose Weight
The kudzu plant has a number of uses, primarily to control alcohol dependency. Although there aren’t many, one study seems to confirm that flavonoids in the flower of the plant can be used to cause browning of white adipose tissue.
In the study, the researchers concluded that flavonoids induced the browning of white adipose tissue and activated brown adipose tissue to increase energy consumption. A process called thermogenesis also happens where heat is produced and this causes the inhibition of weight gain and the prevention of metabolic diseases.
The pueraria flower is very rich in isoflavones which have been studied to show that it has anti-obesity effects. It is for this reason why the pueraria flower extract is used in weight loss supplements like Exipure.
The weight loss effects of kudzu can be attributed to a few things:
- flavonoids in pueraria flower extract causes activation of brown adipose tissue
- rich isoflavone content has anti-obesity effects
- antioxidant rich content increases oxygen which is needed to counter harmful metabolic conditions such as excess visceral fat, insulin resistance, high cholesterol and high blood pressure.
The effects of kudzu on weight may be small and more research may be needed. However, combining the plant extract with other beneficial plant can collectively produce better results. Kudzu is normally combined with other ingredients when present in supplement form.
Does Kudzu Have Any Side Effects?
Although kudzu is safe for most people, the plant does cause some side effects. People who have certain conditions should avoid using kudzu. Many of the side effects found are from use of the kudzu root however it is not clear if the flower and extracts have the same effects.
Kudzu may interact with certain drugs or medication. Care should still be taken and you should consult a physician before taking any supplement containing kudzu.
Users should avoid kudzu if any of these apply:
- you’re using diabetes medications
- have or have had breast cancer or any hormonal-sensitive cancers
- if you take methotrexate or tamoxifen
- if you take blood thinners such as aspirin or warfarin
Just because a supplement says that it’s all natural doesn’t mean that it does not have any side effects. To be on the safe side, especially if you have underlying conditions, always talk to your doctor before taking supplements.
Kudzu is packed with nutrients in all of the edible parts of the plant. The root is most commonly used and can treat alcoholism. There are some weight loss benefits but there are only a few scientific studies that seem to confirm its usefulness in dealing with obesity.
The flower extract of the kudzu plant contains a powerful flavonoid called pueraria that can cause activation and recruitment of brown adipose tissue. This can cause the body to burn calories from fat which results in weight loss.
You can find kudzu extract in supplements like Exipure where it is present in safe doses in combination with other plant nutrients. No harmful side effects have been reported from the use of the popular diet supplement.