Kudzu Vine For Reducing Drinking And Preventing Relapse

Extracts of various parts of the kudzu vine have been used in many Chinese herbal medicine formulas and are said to be helpful in treating various maladies, including alcoholism and intoxication. Kudzu and its extracts and flowers have been used in traditional Chinese folk medicine to treat alcoholism  for about 1,000 years. Kudzu contains daidzin, an anti-drinking substance. This ingredient inhibits human aldehyde dehydrogenase 2 (ALDH-2), which metabolizes alcohol into acetaldehyde. Inhibiting ALDH-2 promotes the accumulation of acetaldehyde, which has aversive effects. A current test of a synthetic ALDH-2 inhibitor (CVT-10216) on rodents indicates that it reduces drinking and prevents relapse by increasing acetaldehyde while drinking and later decreasing dopamine in the brain region that controls relapse during abstinence.