Wednesday, February 13, 2008


Kudzu (Pueraria montana) is a non-native, invasive vine in Florida and as far north as Massachusetts. It grows so fast that it also goes by the common names "foot-a-night vine" and "vine-that-ate-the-South"! It's origins are in Eastern Asia, but it was originally introduced to the United States as an ornamental in 1876. Then it was used as a forage plant in Florida in the 1920s. AND, hard to believe, but our own U.S. Soil Conservation Service actually promoted it's use in the 1930s as an erosion control plant. It has the ability to grow so densely over a tree that it will kill it simply by shutting out the sunlight.
So, even though they are little talked about, there are some edible and medicinal uses for Kudzu.
  • Roots - The roots, which are rich in starch, can be cooked. The starch can then be extracted and used as a coating for deep fried foods, as a way to thicken soups, or even made into a noodle. The root is a staple food in Japan.
  • Flowers - The flowers can be cooked or pickled
  • Stems and young leaves - can be eaten raw or cooked. The young shoots taste like a cross between a pea and a bean.
  • Medicinal - parts of the Kudzu vine are commonly used in China to treat alcohol abuse by suppressing the appetite for alcohol. Modern day medicines used to treat alcholol abuse change the way your body metabolizes alcohol, but wouldn't it be better if you just didn't crave it anymore?

No comments: