I have to share this amazing root that I have been cooking with for the last few years and after learning more about it can't wait to incorporate more of it into our families diet. Kudzu or Kuzu, is a plant and root that originated in China and has been used in both traditional Chinese medicine and Japanese medicine since it was adapted to Japan in 600 A.D. It was brought to the United States in 1876, where the plant overtook parts of the south because of its resilience and deep roots. I have been using it as a starch or thickener instead of cornstarch, or arrowroot powder. It has a really mild flavor so you typically don't notice it at all. The key is to mix the powder up with cold water for it to dissolve (not hot!) and then after it is dissolved in liquid it can be heated to thicken it up. I use it in pies and desserts, to make gravy, and in sauces and soups. But the applications and recipes are many: for teas, thickened drinks, jellies, noodles, jelled desserts, and many traditional Japanese foods such as mochi, sesame tofu, sauces etc. You can purchase it in natural health food stores in the asian section. I get the Eden brand, which I trust as a reputable brand, apparently some brands are not pure but also use potato starch in the powder.
So what are the medicinal benefits? In Chinese Traditional Medicine (as well as Ayurvedic medicine) they break down the qualities of a food, or herb, or root to determine if it will create more balance in a person or if it will create an imbalance. For example: the qualities of Ginseng are said to be very yang which for many people would give them more of an imbalance if they took this as medicine (a part from Siberian Ginseng which is adaptogenic and soothes both yin and yang). Kuzu root, however, is said to be good for both yin and yang. Also giving kuzu an adaptogenic quality which is good for most people. It alkalizes the bloodstream, and combats intestinal and digestive disorders as well as many other conditions. From a Chinese perspective it is also very good for the liver, which is something we want to take care of and pay attention to in the spring season or if we are prone to skin issues, and the emotion of anger. We know throughout all different forms of natural healing the importance of a good digestive system...many experts say that the health of your body begins with digestion. If you can't digest your food or assimilate it, you are not getting the nutrition you need and you are likely creating more toxins for your body to eliminate. I love it when food is your medicine!
If you are interested in learning more about Kuzu root and finding recipes, this book was a great read: “The book of Kudzu, A culinary and healing guide” by William Shurtleff & Akiko Aoyagi. Also, a trained traditional Chinese medicine herbalist is one great way to help you find balance through acupuncture and herbs. In addition to chiropractic care, I have used and loved some of the traditional Chinese methods of healing. *Disclaimer. This post is meant to share information and is not meant to be a substitute for a professional consultation and health care program designed specifically for you.