Japanese Arrowroot - Very Useful Herb for Liver Health Problems

Japanese Arrowroot

Pueraria lobata Fabaceae Also called Kudzu.

Native to semi-tropical regions of Asia, Japanese arrowroot is a climber that can reach 30m, Its dark green leaves are composed ~f three lobes and are held on long leafstalks. Japanese arrowroot has been a feature of Chinese medicine since 200 BC, but it is more ~ften grown as a cooking ingredient. Its yellowish, light brown roots are cylindrical. Its fruits are seedpods' containing black seeds.

Parts used

  • Roots and leaves
  • The leaves are gathered in the autumn and the roots are harvested in spring or autumn.
  • The leaves and roots are dried for use in decoctions, powders and liquid or dry extracts.
  • The plant's primary use is as a thickening agent in cooking. The cooked roots and leaves are used as setting agents in jellies.


The plant contains numerous active elements including isoflavonoids (daidzein, daidzin, puerarin), coumarins and saponins.

Medicinal uses

Japanese arrowroot protects the liver and helps the body to metabolise alcohol. Japanese research published in 1998 verified this, suggesting that the protective action on the liver was due to several saponins.

Japanese arrowroot is also reputed to suppress the craving for alcohol. American research published in1998 showed that puerarin, daidzin, and daidzein decreased alcohol consumption in alcoholpreferring rats.

It has been demonstrated that the plant affects the hormonal system in a similar way to oestrogen and it is recommended for balancing the hormones during the menopause.
It is also reputed to ease muscular aches and pains, and is beneficial in the treatment of digestive disorders, as well as colds and flu. It increases blood flow to the heart and brain and is indicated in the treatment of angina and high blood pressure.


  • The plant has to date caused no adverse side effects.
  • However, medical consultation is usually advisable when treating serious ailments.


For internal use

TO TREAT liver ailments, hormonal disorders during the menopause and alcohol dependency
DECOCTION Put 10g of crushed roots into 500ml of boiling water. Gently reduce the amount of water by half under a low flame and strain. Drink half a cup, four times a day. POWDER Take 500mg, three to six times a day.

DRY EXTRACT Take 300mg, three to six times a day.

LIQUID EXTRACT Put 60 drops into a glass of water. Take three to six times a day.


Plant in well-drained soil, preferably in the sun. Sow seeds in spring at 13-18"C - soaked seeds are best.



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