Strange as it sounds, the root of a little-known Chinese plant might be your salvation.

For scientists have discovered that taking supplements of the 'kudzu' plant - a member of the pea family - can automatically cut alcohol intake by 20 per cent.

Office workers who were given access to a free bar during an experiment drank one-fifth less after taking 500mg of the substance than they did after swallowing a dummy pill.

During two evenings, none knew which pill they had been given. After taking the placebo, they drank seven units of alcohol on average - equivalent to three pints of beer or three 175ml glasses of wine. But after taking kudzu, they consumed only 5.5 units.


The finding will be revealed this Wednesday evening on the BBC2 programme Trust Me, I'm a Doctor. Presenter Gabriel Weston, a surgeon, explained that studies in America had shown taking kudzu 'makes people drink more slowly, and so drink less'.

One theory is that a group of 'active molecules' in the kudzu, called isoflavones, helps deliver alcohol to the brain quicker - meaning drinkers feel inebriated sooner so do not feel they need to drink as much. But Professor Elizabeth Williamson, a pharmacist and herbal medicine expert at Reading University, said an alternative explanation was that kudzu 'interferes with a particular enzyme that breaks down alcohol'.

As a result, it could take the euphoric edge off drinking, reducing the desire to get drunk.
Kudzu supplements can be bought online in bottles claiming to contain 500mg or 750mg pills.

But beware. The TV show's researchers found none of the pills they tested contained the stated dose - with some having just a tiny fraction of what was claimed.

- Daily Mail