Kuzu Drink

Kuzu, also spelled “kudzu”, is a climbing vine native to the mountains of Asia and Pacific Islands. For centuries the kuzu root has been produced into a starch to be used for medicine and as a thickener in dishes. Today, the kuzu root starch has shown to have several health benefits from improving digestion to calming asthma attacks. In this blog, we will explore how the kuzu root is prepared into a starch, which brand of kuzu to buy, and preparation and health benefits of a kuzu drink.

Preparing Kuzu into a Starch

In Japan and China, the ancient methods of making kuzu starch are still used. The kuzu root is dug out by hand during winter when the vine dies and all the nutrients travel to the root. After the root has been gathered, it is crushed and washed several times to remove any impurities from the powder. The final step is to leave the kuzu to completely dry out. This process can take up to 90 days or more. In the end, the kuzu root starch will have a smooth texture and delicate flavor that is perfect for tea drinks and sauces.  

Buying Kuzu

When choosing a kuzu starch, buy from a macrobiotic distributor. Our recommendation is Wild Kuzu Akizuki.

Be aware that non-macrobiotic distributors will add in potato starch to keep the price production low. The difference between potato starch and kuzu starch is very small and almost impossible to tell by just looking at it. That is why it is important to have a trusted distributor to ensure receiving a high quality kuzu starch.

Kuzu Drink Preparation

After buying kuzu root starch, one amazing way to get all the health benefits is by making it into a tea drink.

Here is how to prepare a kuzu drink:

  1. Dissolve kuzu in cold water using your fingers to remove any clumps.
  2. Next cold water and add that to the dissolved kuzu.
  3. Then place onto a medium flame and keep stirring until it goes from cloudy to clear.

Variations: In step two, with the cold water you can add the following for extra benefits.

  • Umeboshi plum tea and kuzu for a detox drink.
  • Ginger and kuzu to aid in digestion, nausea, and circulation and to warm the body.
  • Apple juice and kuzu to make a natural muscle relaxant.
  • Rice syrup and kuzu to balance blood sugar and for quick energy.

We recommend drinking kuzu only for special occasions. Kuzu should not be used as a daily drink.

Kuzu Drink Benefits

Kuzu root has many health benefits because it has two positive effects on the body. The first is relaxation and calming effect. This is good for ailments such as high blood pressure, tight muscles, asthma attacks, and chronic migraines. The second is a neutralizing and balancing effect. Acidity from processed foods weakens the body and immune system lowering its resistance to diseases. Therefore unlike other starches that are acidic, the kuzu root starch is alkalizing. Kuzu will rebalance and deeply nourish and strengthen the body by removing the build up of acidity. That is why kuzu is also great for problems such as recovering from colds, bowel movements, and protection against heart disease. (Learn about alkaline diet)

Other benefits:

Kuzu root starch also contains a high concentration of flavonoids. Flavonoids are phytonutrients that become antioxidants. Antioxidants remove and neutralize harmful free radicals in the blood stream. This builds resistance to diseases.

Keep in mind that even though kuzu root has many health benefits, you should not plant kuzu in your backyard. In 1876, the United States introduced kuzu plant from Japan to the southern states to stop soil erosion, serve as shade for porches, and be high protein feed for cattle. Today, kuzu is considered a environmental disaster because the vines have covered millions of acres and destroyed native plants around it. It has been given the name “the vine that ate the south.”

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