Kudzu is cooked as food in China, and also is used as an herb in traditional Chinese medicine . However, in the United States, kudzu has become an invasive pest. It was deliberately planted earlier this century for use as animal fodder and to control soil erosion. It turned out to be incredibly prolific and soon spread throughout the South like an alien invader. The problem is that kudzu can grow a foot a day during the summer, and as much as 60 feet a year, giving it the folk name "mile-a-minute vine." It swallows telephone poles, chokes trees, and takes over yards.
What Is Kudzu Used for Today?
In academic Chinese herbology (as opposed to Chinese folk medicine), kudzu has different applications. One classic herbal formula containing kudzu is used for the treatment of colds accompanied by pain in the neck. However, there is no scientific evidence that it is effective for this condition.
Based on its extensive food use, kudzu is believed to be reasonably safe. However, safety in young children, pregnant or nursing women, or those with severe kidney or liver disease has not been established.
- Reviewer: EBSCO CAM Review Board
- Review Date: 07/2012 -
- Update Date: 07/25/2012 -