Kudzu

Kudzu

Kudzu has managed to overtake thousands of acres in the US. At one point there were 1 million acres of farmland planted in Kudzu. Then people realized how it strangles trees, and looks unsightly if not kept in check. The vines can grow more than a foot in one day if in the right conditions. So what are the benefits?

Kudzu grows very thick, and makes for good feed for grazing animals such as goats

The vines can be used to make a very effective cordage. Leaves can be used for salad especially if mixed with other wild greens. Even the tuber-like projections of the root can be used for starch similar to a potato. You may first want to crush them up to separate the starch material from the root fibers.

The Chinese use kudzu to treat a variety of illnesses. These include:

Fever
Headache
Nausea
Vomiting
Heart and Circulatory issues
Dizziness
Sinus infections
Flu like symptoms
Skin conditions

Here you can see the distinct leaf shapes as well as the “feeler” vines reaching out for a new perch.

Kudzu can even be used to help with the side effects of alcoholism per Web MD. Supposedly the plant produces chemicals that are capable of reducing or reversing the effects of alcohol. Research states kudzu even has a chemical that produces estrogen-like effects in the body. To this end, it’s used to treat menopause.

I wouldn’t recommend planting kudzu since it’s an invasive species here in the US. If you have a kudzu issue, try fencing it in and putting some goats out. The goats or other grazing animals will eat the leaves and vine shoots effectively controlling the plant. This was one of the original selling points for farmers to plant the “miracle vine” that quickly “ate the south”.

What are some uses that you have found for kudzu?



6 thoughts on “Kudzu”

  • Excellent! When I lived in Alabama, it was everywhere. I had no idea it had uses. Great post and Thanks again, Ralph.

      • Super good to know! I’ll be back in Alabama soon. I’ll definately be making cordage. Most definately look for recipes and how to use this medicinally. Super glad you posted!

    • I saw an old black and white government covering different uses for kudzu, one was deep frying the leaves and then salting them, said they are as good as potato chips, never tried them but they looked ok.

  • Good Post Ralph. We don’t have it in Indiana (yet), but this is really good info. If things go “South” and I have to live in the woods, I’m not doing it up here……..I’ll also be heading South!!!!!

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