One of my favorite natural remedies I was introduced to during my stint with macrobiotics and crohn's disease was the wonderful "Kuzu Root" (also called "Kudzu"). Kuzu root is one of the world's largest roots weighing in at over 200 pounds. Kuzu is a white powder (derived from the root) that is used as a thickening agent - similar to potato, arrowroot, and corn starch.
Although it is highly sought after in the Asian culinary world, it doubles as powerful medicine to those in Japan and China. Unfortunately, the United States views this root as a "pest" because it blankets several million acres in the southeastern regions. Thus, Kuzu is cut down, burned, and sprayed with pesticides. If only they knew of the medicinal benefits kuzu has to offer!
The Health Benefits of Kuzu:
- Kuzu's complex starch molecules bring relief to the intestines. It relieves discomfort caused by inflammation, over-acidity, bacterial infections, candida, and diarrhea. Thus, it is a great remedy for crohn's disease and colitis.
- Kuzu's high flavonoid and antioxidant levels help relieve cramping.
- Research on kuzu has shown that is beneficial for the following conditions: high blood pressure, blood sugar regulation, chronic migraine headaches, shoulder and neck pain, high cholesterol, blood clots, sinus troubles, acid reflux, indigestion, heartburn, stomach ulcers, colitis, hangovers, allergies, alcohol addiction, bronchial asthma, skin rashes, heart disease and neurological disorders.
- Kuzu has a strong effect on the body's hormonal system and can help regulate estrogen levels - which is key to preventing bone loss and estrogen related disorders and cancer. It is especially important for postmenopausal women.
- For a great crohn's disease/colitis, intestinal inflammation, stomach, and diarrhea remedy, see my prior post on UmeShoKuzu Tea.
- For a restorative tonic for all health issues try "Kuzu Cream." This should be taken about 1 hour before meals, preferably in the morning, on an empty stomach. If you'd prefer a thinner drink, reduce the amount of kuzu to one teaspoon. This makes 1 cup and the prep time is 5 minutes.
Ingredients: 1 tablespoon of kuzu starch, 1 umeboshi plum (pitted) or 1 teaspoon of umeboshi plum paste, 1/4 - 1/2 teaspoon of ginger juice (or finely grated ginger), and 1/2 teaspoon of shoyu (optional). *You can find all of these ingredients at the health food store or www.naturalimport.com
Directions: Dissolve kuzu in 1 cup of cold or room temperature water. Add the umeboshi and bring to simmer over medium heat, stirring frequently. As soon as mixture begins to bubble around the edges, stir constantly until kuzu thickens and becomes clear. Gently simmer on low heat for 1-2 minutes. Remove from heat and add the ginger juice and shoyu (if you desire).
- You can replace corn, potato, or arrowroot starch with kuzu in your recipes and you'll get the health benefits. You can also combine it with apple juice or any other fruit juice to form a jello.
- My personal favorite: Kuzu starch comes in hard chunks, which to me is convenient because I just munch on it whenever I get any type of heartburn, indigestion, acid reflux, or intestinal issue. No cooking required. In fact, this was my "natural antacid" for pregnancy heartburn!