Cardioprotective Effects of Kudzu

May 29, 2013

Flower of Kudzu
The Flower of Kudzu.

Kudzu, or known botanically as Pueraria lobata (Willd.) Ohwi, are considered as noxious weeds, which harmful to some living things. For more than 2000 years, traditional Chinese Medicines (TCM), have been used kudzu root as folk medicines for the treatment of fever, acute dysentery, diarrhea, diabetes and cardiovascular diseases. Kudzu are also believed to possess antiarrhythmic (cardioprotective), hypotensive, hypoglycemic, and anti-Alzheimer's disease properties.

Cardiovascular Disease

Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death in the world, though more than 80% occurs in low-income and middle-income countries. A case-control study of acute myocardial infarction (heart attack), in 52 countries, 15,152 cases and 14,820 controls, had found that, abnormal lipids, smoking, hypertension, diabetes, abdominal obesity, psychosocial factors, habits (consumption of fruits, vegetables, and alcohol), and regular physical activity, explained for the risk of myocardial infarction in the world. (Yusuf S, et al. 2004)

Cardioprotective Effects of Puerarin

Puerarin, an isoflavone isolated from the root of kudzu, had been observed its effect on heart function and serum oxidized-LDL (ox-LDL) cholesterol. Ox-LDL is LDL cholesterol that has been bombarded by free radicals, a marker of lipoprotein associated oxidative stress, which plays a key role in the progression of diabetes complications, and atherosclerosis, or arteriosclerotic vascular disease, a condition in which an artery wall thickens, as a result of the accumulation of fatty materials such as, cholesterol and triglyceride.

The study of puerarin in 78 patients with chronic cardiac failure, suggested that puerarin may improve the clinical heart function, increase the left ventricular ejection, and decrease the level of ox-LDL. (Duan S, et al. 2000)

A study in Zhejiang University School of Medicine, Hangzhou, China, to determine the mitochondrial mechanism of puerarin cardioprotective effect against H202-stress in rats, had found that puerarin protects cardiomyocytes (cardiac muscle cells) against H2O2-stress. (Yang B, et al. 2008)

The Circle of Sudden Death

The main predictive factors of silent myocardial infarction, in which I call it as the circle of sudden death, are hypertension, history of cardiovascular diseases and diabetes duration. A diabetic patient often has a high blood pressure, and has potential risk on getting a silent heart attack.

A study which aimed to investigated the myocardial protective effects of puerarin, on streptozotocin induced diabetic rats, had resulted that puerarin could improve the left ventricular function of diabetic rats and showed protective effects of myocardium (heart muscle tissue). (Pan ZY, et al. 2009)

Kudzu as Herbal Supplement

Kudzu are sold as herbal supplements in Amazon.com and other online shops. But, kudzu products are promoted only to support liver health, to treat hangover as anti-alcohol, and detoxification. There are no products description that promoted kudzu as natural cardiovascular drugs.

Even though kudzu are considered to be noxious weeds, or toxic to some living things, but in human, kudzu could be used to treat cluster headache, one sided head pain that may involve tearing of the eyes and a stuffy nose.

Two kudzu herbal supplements which are sold on Amazon.com:

Vitacost Kudzu Root Extract Planetary Herbals Kudzu Recovery
Vitacost Kudzu Root Extract Planetary Herbals Kudzu Recovery

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