I’ve been fighting some kind of cold/sinus infection-thing for the last two weeks, and I’ve tried both Western (antibiotic) and Eastern (acupuncture and Chinese herbology) approaches to getting better. So far, I’m caught in this strange East-meets-West vortex where I’m left with the stiffest neck and shoulders one could imagine. In an emergency room setting, this would rank at about a seven out of 10, which would be guaranteed to get me some good drugs.
But my acupuncturist has a different idea. “You’re not going to believe me when I tell you this,” she said, using the Japanese pronounciation that sounds more like “kd-dzu” than the way I grew up saying it, “cud zooo.” Yes, she wants me to drink kudzu.
I had no idea, but kudzu is one of the 50 basic herbs used in Chinese medicine (it’s known as ge-gen), and there is a growing amount of scientific evidence that kudzu takes away the craving for alcohol in alcoholics. Kudzu is also good for migraines and angina, according to a number of Web sites, which also list it as a remedy for stiff shoulders and necks.
Funny, when I mentioned this to a couple of my co-workers, they’re like, Huh? What’s kudzu?
Stop the presses. I thought everyone knew what kudzu was. I spent a good part of my childhood digging it up, clearing it away, and watching people try to burn it, smoke it or make rope out of it. At no point would I ever have thought it would have some beneficial uses.
I’ll report back how my kudzu home remedy works.