Pantry Top Five Recipe Edition: Kuzu

Chef Elliott Prag shared his pantry staples on the Natural Gourmet Institute blog, where he went back to basics and thousands of years of Japanese tradition. One of the items on that list is the Japanese culinary root starch, kuzu.

Kuzu, known in America as kudzu root, has been prized for its medicinal properties in Japan for thousands of years. Ground kuzu is very similar to corn starch, but with incredible healing properties.

Here are five ways to benefit from adding kuzu to your diet:

  1. Digestion: Kuzu is commonly used in macrobiotics for an upset stomach and acid indigestion, as it strengthens and soothes the intestinal lining.
  2. Calming anxiety: Stressed or anxious? Kuzu can help calm the nerves. Doctors who practice Eastern Medicine recommend it for its stress-reducing properties.
  3. Sleeplessness: Since kuzu has calming properties, it can also be used for insomnia or night terrors. For a quick remedy for sleeplessness, Chef Elliott suggests dissolving 1 tablespoon of kuzu in 1 cup apple juice and heating that over a low flame until it thickens.
  4. Fevers/colds: Kuzu contains sterols and isoflavones (puerarin, daidzin, and daidzein); and puerarin has been proven to have strong antioxidant properties, much more than say vitamin E. making it an ideal remedy for helping strengthen the immune system.
  5. Hangover: Kuzu is highly alkalizing, so if you’ve overdone it one night, drink some kuzu tea the next morning to help relieve symptoms.


Mango Ginger Kuzu Drink

By Chef-Instructor Ann Ziata

Great for tension headaches, helps relax the nervous system and can treat insomnia.


  • 1 cup mango juice
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons kuzu
  • Pinch ground ginger (or ginger juice)


  1. In small pot, combine mango and kuzu.* Stir to combine well.
  2. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly, and cook until mixture thickens.
  3. Serve hot or cold.

Note: Kuzu has a chalky consistency. Always dissolve it in a small amount of cold fluid before adding it to the simmering liquid.

This post was originally published by the Natural Gourmet Institute. Learn more about today's Natural Gourmet Center.


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