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Could a Chinese herb stop you drinking too much?

Views:2     Author:golden horizon biologics     Publish Time: 2016-06-02      Origin:Golden Horizon Biologics

New alcohol guidelines have stressed the importance of cutting back. Could an ancient Chinese herbal remedy help you get that pleasurable buzz while drinking less, asks Michael Mosley.

One of the main reasons we drink alcohol is because it makes us feel more sociable. But when we drink too much it also does huge damage. Recent guidelines recommend we stick to 14 units a week, which will be harder for some than others.


I'm currently "enjoying" a dry January, which has turned out to be easier than I feared - I am sleeping better, losing a little weight and I don't really miss it. Well, not much

Herbal Medicine

So when I return to moderate drinking in February I plan to stick to abstinence, at least three days a week. But I also want to try out a herbal supplement called kudzu. Because, much to my surprise, it turns out that this ancient Chinese remedy for heart disease may also help us cut our alcohol consumption without really noticing it.


Now, many of us make the resolution to cut back on alcohol, but like all good resolutions there is the danger of slippage. So for those of us with the modest aim of just cutting back a bit, could kudzu really help? To find out more the Trust Me I'm a Doctor team recently put it to the test.

Image copyright iStock Image caption Kudzu root


The Kudzu plant is a type of vine that is native to South East Asia. It's a plant with a long history, as Prof Elizabeth Williamson of the University of Reading, explains.

"Traditional uses, going back 2,000 years, were for things like coughs and colds and flu, and also for blood pressure, hypertension, angina. But it also has been used since at least AD600 for helping prevent alcohol abuse."


I'm generally sceptical about herbal supplements. Even if the original plant has impressive health-giving properties, and many of our more effective medicines are derived from plants, that doesn't mean that supplements based on those plants will be effective. They rarely capture the complexity of a plant and there is so little regulation of the market that you literally don't know what you are buying.

Nonetheless, there have been a few intriguing studies suggesting that after taking kudzu supplements people drink less, almost without noticing.


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