Using Kudzu to Fight a Cold (A Simple Remedy for Children)

Using Kudzu to Fight a Cold (A Simple Remedy for Children)

Using Kudzu to Fight a Cold (A Simple Remedy for Children)

I first heard the word Kudzu in a small seminar given by a local herbalist. Its funny name caught my attention, which quickly turned to interest, as she discussed how to prepare it as a cold remedy.

Today I want to share how easily you can use Kudzu to support your family through illness.

But first, let’s address the question:

What is Kudzu?

The Kudzu (or Kuzu) plant is a climbing, woody vine which belongs to the pea family (or more technically, the leguminous family). It has broad leaves and clusters of purple flowers.

Native to Japan and China, Kudzu was brought to the United States in the late 1800s. It is considered a great pest in the South, where it can grow up to a foot a day (often called “the plant that swallowed the South” or “the mile-a-minute vine”). If you reside in the southern states, I don’t recommend growing it!

For medicinal purposes, we are most interested in the root of the Kudzu plant.

Kudzu root is well known in Chinese medicine as a digestive aid, fever reducer, and is also thought to inhibit alcohol cravings. Kudzu root powder can be purchased at many health food stores and ordered online through companies such as Mountain Rose Herbs.

Here is a picture of dried Kudzu root ground into powder (it is very white):

Using Kudzu to Fight a Cold (A Simple Remedy for Children)

How can Kudzu help a cold?

Besides the benefits mentioned above, Kudzu root is also purported to reduce cold symptoms, warm and strengthen the body, boost the immune system, and relive fatigue.

The easiest way to administer Kudzu to children: Kudzu-Apple Juice.

This nutritious combination tastes like apple juice, just slightly thicker. It is especially helpful if children are unable to eat.

Kudzu combined with apple juice provides nutrition and energy. Served warm it gives a little comfort and soothes a sore throat.

Best of all, this remedy is extremely easy to prepare!

Using Kudzu to Fight a Cold (A Simple Remedy for Children)

Kudzu-Apple Juice (especially for children)

Recipe adapted from Naturally Healthy Babies and Children by Aviva Jill Romm, page 273. Romm states that this beverage can be used as the child’s main nourishment for the day when sick.


1 cup apple juice (or pear juice)

1 teaspoon Kudzu root powder


Mix kudzu root powder with ½ cup of cold apple juice. Stir to dissolve.

In a saucepan, heat the remaining ½ cup of apple juice until barely simmering.

Add the cold apple juice/kudzu mixture to the simmering juice. Stir until boiling. Reduce temperature to low heat and stir for 2 or 3 minutes.

This beverage can be administered as soon as it is cool enough to consume.

Makes 1 cup. Drink 1 to 4 cups daily when a cold is present.

Although the above recipe was designed for children, it can certainly be used by adults (you may wish to increase dosage to 1 ½ teaspoons of root powder per cup).

As an added bonus, kudzu powder is very “starchy” and can be used as a thickener in cooking. Simply mix a little cold liquid to dissolve and use as a substitute for cornstarch or arrowroot. Further recommendations for using kudzu as a thickening agent can be found at Mother Earth News.

Have you ever used Kudzu to fight a cold? If not, does this sound like something you would try?

Please remember I am not a certified herbalist or physician. This post is based on my own research and experience. Please do your own research and always be cautious when trying any new remedy.

Image by Clinton Steeds

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    1. @Katie Riedinger, In ‘Naturally Healthy Babies and Children’ (the book the recipe comes from), the author states that the remedies in the book are intended for children two to twelve years old.

      I have never given it to a baby, but would definitely consider giving a lower dosage. Kudzu root is often used as a food substance, so I would not imagine it hurting a child. But then again, I’m not an expert.

  1. Very intesesting! I may have to stock up on this as we’re supposed to get a cold and wet winter…

    When I first saw the word Kudzu I thought it sounded like some sort of new board game, lol!

    1. @Kait Palmer, It does sound like the name of a board game!

      My husband said he thought it sounded like a video game character 🙂

      Either way, it is certainly got my attention.

    1. @Carole, One of my books says that Kudzu “may be safely consumed when used appropriately.” Which I take to mean using in moderation.

      I have also read that not enough study has been done to know if there are any side effects when used during pregnancy or nursing, so it may be safer to avoid use.

      Sorry I can’t be more helpful!

  2. this is hilarious … as a southerner I can attest to the fact that this stuff grows almost unchecked. Napalm won’t kill it. Several summers ago a news channel did a morning and evening broadcast at the same location and measured how much it had grown in an 8 hour period (to the theme of “Jaws” in the background!). I’ll have to go dig up some of the root and see what I can find. I’m so glad to know that at least it has a redeeming feature. 🙂 I also heard recently that the young leaves are edible – does anybody know?

  3. I could be wrong but I wonder if the fact if its part of the leguminous family means it has any relation to peanuts. Maybe that is why they say from 2 years old. I wonder if kids with nut allergys would be able to take this. Do you know anything about that? I havent researched it myself.

  4. I was wondering the same thing about babies and also taking it while nursing. I’ll definitely try it for my two year old, though … we were up most of last night with cold symptoms. 🙁

    Thanks for the info!

  5. Here’s some information on kudzu (pronounced KUD-zoo) from a book I have…The New Whole Foods Encyclopedia by Rebecca Wood.
    “In Chinese medicine, kudzu root and flowers are used to relieve acute pain, stiff neck and shoulders, intestinal and digestive disorders, headaches, fever, colds, and hangovers. Recent research confirms its traditional use foe suppressing the desire fro alcohol. A cooling, tonic herb kudzu induces perspiration. It prevents the eruption of rashes and clears the skin.”
    I’ve used it for a long time for culinary purposes as a thickener over cornstarch in sweet as well as savory dishes. The book also offers a recipe for a kitchen remedy that “revitalizes energy and relieves colds, flu, headaches, diarrhea, hangovers, and digestive problems.”
    1 1/2 Tbs. kudzu powder
    1 1/2 c. water or twig tea
    1 tsp. umeboshi paste or 1/2 umeboshi plum
    1 tsp. soy soy sauce, or to taste
    1/2 tsp freshly squeezed ginger juice or 1/4 tsp. powdered ginger
    Put kudzu in 1 cup cold water or tea and stir to dissolve. Add the umeboshi, soy sauce, and ginger. Bring to a boil stirring constantly, and simmer for 1 minute, or until liquid turns from milky to opaque. Thin, if necessary, with the remaining liquid to desired texture. Drink hot.
    I’ve not tried this particular recipe, but have used the apple juice one and also used kudzu to thicken homemade chicken broth for sick ones. Hope this helps anyone looking for info on the subject.

  6. Interesting! I need to get some of this I think. We haven’t really had colds here yet, and are taking elderberry and vitamin C and doing other things to prevent, but it would be nice to have this on hand, just in case…. I’m guessing, since it grows so rapidly, that it is not expensive to buy? I hope!

  7. Stephanie,
    I’m wanting to make a purchase from the Mountain Rose herb site you mentioned for the Kudzu, but wondered how many other herbs you might feature this month that I could also get from there. How can I find out some of the other herbs you may feature this month without having to wait until the end of the month to order from there (I’m thinking our first cold could be around the corner!!). thanks! Love your info on natural remedies!!

  8. I live in the south and yes it is everywhere! I never knew that it had medicinal properties, it’s always thought of a a pest it grows all along the hiwaays.

  9. We live in TN where Kudzu covers everything that sits still for a dy or two 🙂

    Do you think it would be safe to dig up some roots myself? Also how would I make it into powder?


  10. I wanted to follow up and say that I used this for my girls. I saw an improvement in their health that day. I gave the baby 1 dose of a fraction of the amount; I gave my 2-year-old 2 doses of the standard amount, just under 1 tsp. Their symptoms lessened that day and are now nearly gone. Thanks! So glad I read this 🙂

  11. Do you know if kudzu and kuzu root are the same thing? I just picked up some white, powdery kuzu root, thinking it was kudzu. Thanks!

  12. I’m surprised you recommended apple juice for this… since the sugar in the juice would lower the immune system. Seems counter-productive. Could the powder not be used as easily in, say, homemade bone broth, or a smoothie?

    1. @Beth, I think it would work just fine in broth. It might be OK in a smoothie too, but I’m not sure how well it would dissolve.

      I really like the idea of adding it to broth and don’t see why it couldn’t be thrown in to soup too.

  13. Kudzu worked wonders for my husband and 2 year old. They both started coming down with colds last week. I used your method for my 2 year old and she’s mostly over it. For my husband, we tried something a little different. We took the tablespoon of homemade elderberry syrup I made from Mountain Rose Herbs recipe and mixed 1 1/2 teaspoons of kudzu into it. It needed a little water to incorporate, then he took it like a shot. The kudzu didn’t dissolve completely, but he said it made him feel so much better. He took it twice a day for a couple days and is also pretty much over the cold.

  14. I live in the SC Lowcountry region, and in our history archives of my hometown, one year almost all the animals died from the drought, and nothing to eat, it was all dried up. BUT, one farmer gave his cattle and pigs KUDZU, and they survived just fine!

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