Ge Gen (Kudzu Root or Radix Puerariae)

What Is Ge Gen

Ge Gen commonly known as Kudzu Root or Radix Puerariae is the root of Pueraria lobata, which is a perennial herbaceous vine belonging to the family Leguminosae. It is a relatively practical and common Chinese herbal medicine, which first appeared in <Shennong Ben Cao Jing> in the late Western Han Dynasty (around 100 BCE).

There are about 20 species of Pueraria, which are mainly distributed in subtropical and temperate regions of Asia. Among them, the more common ones are P. lobata and P. thomsonii.

In ethnic medicine, the root of P. thomsonii is also called Ge Gen. Because they are two different plants, the “Chinese Pharmacopoeia” lists P. thomsonii as a Chinese herbal medicine that is different from P. lobata.

P. lobata is highly adaptable and often grows in warm and humid slopes, valleys, and dwarf shrubs below 1,700 meters above sea level. They grow well in deep, loose, sandy loam soils rich in humus. They are distributed in China, Japan, Australia, and some Southeast Asian countries.

Pueraria lobata

In ancient times, the stem bark of Pueraria lobata was often made into clothes or paper. Although it is no longer used as a raw material for clothing, it has high edible and medicinal value.

In some southern cities of China, the root of Pueraria lobata is a common food material. They are often used to make herbal soups and teas. Its flower buds are also commonly used Chinese herbs.

In autumn and winter, people gather the roots of Pueraria lobata, remove impurities, cut them into thick slices or small pieces, use them directly, or dry them in the sun, and make them into Chinese herbal medicines.

Ge Gen contains puerarin, daidzein, daidzin, genistein, biochanin A, genistin, formononetin, ononin, mirificin, isoliquiritigenin, kudzusapogenol A, kudzusapogenol B, kudzusapogenol C, sophoradiol, soyasapogenol, rhamnose, glucose, galactose, arabinose, glucuronic acid, coumarin, phenolic glycosides, anthraquinone, starch, dietary fiber, amino acids, fatty acids, alkaloids, and some trace elements.

Generally, the solid and white Ge Gen with high starch content is preferred.

According to the Chinese Pharmacopoeia, the medicinal nature of Ge Gen is relatively cool, with a pungent and sweet taste. It has a certain therapeutic effect on diseases of the spleen and stomach.

In traditional Chinese medicine, it is often used to relieve muscles and expel heat, promote eruptions, promote the production of body fluid and quench thirst, Send up the lucid yang and relieve diarrhea, and treat colds, measles, viral myocarditis, cerebral infarction, neurological deafness and tinnitus, acute alcoholism, angioneurotic headache, cervical spondylosis, frozen shoulder, gouty arthritis, hypertension, coronary heart disease, angina pectoris, rheumatic fever, heatstroke, tic-Tourette syndrome, middle-aged and elderly osteoporosis, dysmenorrhea, tardive dyskinesia, β-receptor hyperfunction, female menopausal syndrome, chronic rhinitis, type 2 diabetes, post-stroke depression, and hemorrhoids.

There are about 200 kinds of Chinese medicine prescriptions containing it, such as Ge Gen Tang, Ge Gen Qin Lian Tang, Yufeng Ningxin Pian, and Yu Quan Wan.


  • Anti-inflammation, inhibiting rat inflammatory foot swelling.
  • Improving the activity of superoxide dismutase and glutathione peroxidase, inhibiting lipid peroxidation, and scavenging free radicals.
  • Increasing the thymus index and spleen index, Improving immunity.
  • Reducing liver damage induced by CCL4 and alcohol and protecting the liver.
  • Dilating the coronary arteries, increasing blood flow, reducing peripheral resistance and the release of catecholamines, and antagonizing arrhythmias induced by aconitine, sodium chloride, or calcium chloride.
  • Dilating cerebral blood vessels, increasing cerebral blood flow, blood supply, and oxygen supply of brain tissue and cells.
  • Improving the learning and memory ability of vascular dementia model rats, and treating memory decline and cognitive decline caused by Alzheimer’s disease.
  • Inhibiting β-adrenergic receptors and reducing the increase in blood pressure induced by endothelin, epinephrine, or isoproterenol.
  • Reducing insulin resistance, improving insulin sensitivity, reducing fasting blood sugar in diabetic mice, and improving oral glucose tolerance.
  • Slowing down the weight loss of diabetic mice, reducing serum total cholesterol, low-density lipoprotein cholesterol, and very-low-density lipoprotein cholesterol content in diabetic mice, and increasing high-density lipoprotein cholesterol content.
  • Inhibiting renal cell apoptosis in rats with renal ischemia-reperfusion and improving renal function.
  • Relieving exterior symptoms, and treating fever and headache caused by wind-heat.
  • Promoting sweating and treating high fever, aversion to cold, aversion to wind, anhidrosis, headache, eye pain, and rigidity and pain of neck and nape caused by wind-cold.
  • Promoting eruptions and treating the insufficient outbreak of early measles.
  • Clearing heat, and treating thirst caused by consumption of body fluids in febrile diseases.
  • Promoting the production of body fluid, and treating polydipsia, hyperdiuresis, overeating with marasmus, fatigue, high blood sugar, and urine sugar caused by internal heat due to yin-deficiency.
  • Sending up the lucid yang, treating diarrhea caused by damp-heat or spleen deficiency.
  • Inhibiting the growth of colon cancer CT26 cells, Lewis lung cancer cells, and S180 sarcoma cells, and inducing apoptosis of leukemia HL-60 cells.
  • Puerarin has an estrogen-like effect, which can improve osteoporosis in women after menopause.
  • Studies have found that puerarin has a protective effect on acute myocardial ischemia induced by pituitrin in rats.


Side Effects

  • At present, no data is showing that Ge Gen has toxic effects, and there are no reports of serious adverse reactions when it is taken according to the prescribed dose.
  • Overdose may cause excessive urination.
  • If you need to take it for a long time, please consult a professional doctor and formulate a reasonable medication plan.

Precautions and Warnings

  • The dosage of Ge Gen should be controlled at 9-15g.
  • It can be made into decoctions, powders, medicinal liquors, or ground for external use.
  • People who are allergic to Ge Gen should not take it.
  • It should not be used with isoproterenol at the same time.
  • Avoid using raw, cold, greasy, and spicy foods during the medication.
  • Patients with hyperhidrosis due to exterior deficiency should not take it.
  • Patients with hyperactivity of deficiency-yang should not take it.
  • Pregnant women and breastfeeding women should take it under the guidance of a doctor.