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KUZU Organic - Terrasana - 125 g

 Manufacturer: Terrasana

Net weight: 125 g.

Origin: Japan

Availability: In stock

€9.50

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Roots are the focal points of a plant's energy. This is why roots have always occupied a special place in man's diet, as well as in his medicine chest. Popular roots such as ginseng, dock, radish, beets, and carrots are prized for their concentrated food value and healing power.

No wonder kuzu root (also spelled kudzu), one of the world's largest vegetable roots, is considered big medicine in Japan and China. Averaging 200 pounds, the kuzu root is an Oriental giant. The traditional medicine of choice for a host of digestive disorders, kuzu is also the world's premier cooking starch.

In the East, kuzu, a member of the legume family, has enjoyed an excellent reputation and has been part of the cuisine of China and Japan for more than two thousand years. The starch that makes kuzu an outstanding jelling and thickening agent in cooking is partly responsible for its medicinal action. Some of kuzu's complex starch molecules enter the intestines and relieve the discomfort caused by overacidity, bacterial infection, and - in the case of diarrhea - excess water. In many cases of abdominal aching and intestinal irritation, a bowl of kuzu gruel or pudding brings quick relief. particularly for children who often do not like the taste of over-the-counter stomach medications. According to Subhuti Dharmananda, Ph.D., director of the Institute for Traditional Medicine and Preventive Health Care in Portland, Oregon, kuzu also contains a very high concentration of flavonoids, which are responsible for its strong medicinal effect on the digestive and circulatory systems. Flavonoids, which occur naturally in kuzu and other plants, are fairly well known as antioxidants. However, they also have the ability to inhibit the contraction of smooth muscle tissue, thereby increasing blood flow and relieving cramping in the intestines.

As a remedy, kuzu root is used in two ways: as powdered starch and as whole dried root. Kuzu starch remedies can be used to treat minor indigestion; some experts use it to treat colds and minor aches and pains as well (eating lots of foods made with kuzu starch can have the same effects and is considered good preventive medicine). Teas can be used when a different type of medicine is needed: for chronic headaches, stiff shoulders, colitis, sinus troubles, tonsillitis, respiratory ailments, hangovers, allergies (especially hay fever), bronchial asthma, and skin rashes.

In his book Healing Ourselves (Avon Books, 1973), holistic health practitioner Naboru Muramoto recommends a drink called kuzu cream (see recipe) for colds, general body pains, stomach cramps, and diarrhea. Kuzu cream is also recommended for neutralizing stomach acidity and for relaxing tight muscles. When made with the addition of ginger juice and minced umeboshi (salt-pickled plum), the drink is especially potent. The ginger aids digestion and circulation while the salt plum neutralizes lactic acid and eliminates it from the body.

Kuzu cream and other remedies are made using kuzu root starch while medicinal kuzu teas are usually made using pieces of the whole kuzu root, which contains more water-soluble medicinal flavonoids, some of which are lost during starch production. Kuzu root tea (kakkon) is found in herbal shops and some natural foods stores and frequently contains several other medicinal herbs including ginger, licorice, and cinnamon.

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Kudzu is also known by the names Kuzu, Pueraria, Gwat Gun, and Ge Gan. Kudzu is a coarse, high-climbing, twining, trailing, perennial vine, native to Japan and China. It also grows in the Southeastern portions of the United States where it helps to control soil erosion, fix nitrogen into the soil, and feed cattle. This herb quickly overgrows its boundaries, and a single vine can grow up to 100 feet in one season, taking over and killing other plants along its path. It can literally grow through rocks. Despite the many important uses of this plant, it is often considered a noxious weed, yet continues to be imported from Asia to be sold as both food and medicine. The genus is named after the Swiss botanist, M. N. Pueraria. Kudzu root has been known for centuries in traditional Chinese medicine. The first written mention of the plant as a medicine is in the ancient herbal text of Shen Nong (circa A.D.100).

In traditional Chinese medicine, Kudzu Root is used in prescriptions for the treatment of "wei," or "superficial" syndrome (a disease that manifests just under the surface - mild, but with fever), thirst, headache, and stiff neck with pain due to high blood pressure. It was also recommended for allergies, migraine headaches, measles eruptions in children, and diarrhea. It was also used as a treatment for angina pectoris. The roots provide a fiber for the textile industry. The process for extracting the starch from the roots is tedious and can take up to 120 days, during which it is chopped, washed, pounded into a mass, and filtered up to 50 times.

The primary chemical constituents of Kudzu include starch, isoflavonoids, puerarin, daidzein, and phytoestrogens. Kudzu Root is high in isoflavones, such as daidzein, as well as isoflavone glycosides, such as daidzin and puerarin. Depending on its growing conditions, the total isoflavone content varies from 2-12%, with puerarin in the highest concentration, followed by daidzin and daidzein. It has some demulcent properties, making it useful for thirst and dryness. Also, the flowers have been shown to be effective in lessening the desire for alcohol, and thus are used in the treatment of alcoholism. This herb also helps counteract poisons.

When Kudzu is roasted in a dry pan, it makes an excellent tonic for the spleen, and helps treat diarrhea. Kudzu is cooked as food in China, where it is used as a thickening agent in making sauces, soups and puddings. It can be used as a starch for people who do not digest grains well. The young leaves, shoots, and flowers can be steamed or sautéed as a vegetable. They may also be pickled. The common name Kudzu also includes the species Pueraria thunbergiana, which is used interchangeably with Pueraria lobata.

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Recent studies have shown that the Kudzu plant, which can be taken as a tea or in capsules, can cut the emotional desire for alcohol in half. Kudzu tea has been used in China for more than 2500 years, and is known to have no side effects. (Posted on 3/20/2008)
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