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Alcohol Clin Exp Res. 1996 Jun;20(4):659-63.

Isoflavonoid compounds extracted from Pueraria lobata suppress alcohol preference in a pharmacogenetic rat model of alcoholism.

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  • 1Department of Medicine, Indiana University School of Medicine, Indianapolis 46202, USA.


The extract from an edible vine, Pueraria lobata, has long been used in China to lessen alcohol intoxication. We have previously shown that daidzin, one of the major components from this plant extract, is efficacious in lowering blood alcohol levels and shortens sleep time induced by alcohol ingestion. This study was conducted to test the antidipsotropic effect of daidzin and two other major isoflavonoids, daidzein and puerarin, from Pueraria lobata administered by the oral route. An alcohol-preferring rat model, the selectively-bred P line of rats, was used for the study. All three isoflavonoid compounds were effective in suppressing voluntary alcohol consumption by the P rats. When given orally to P rats at a dose of 100 mg/kg/day, daidzein, daidzin, and puerarin decreased ethanol intake by 75%, 50%, and 40%, respectively. The decrease in alcohol consumption was accompanied by an increase in water intake, so that the total fluid volume consumed daily remained unchanged. The effects of these isoflavonoid compounds on alcohol and water intake were reversible. Suppression of alcohol consumption was evident after 1 day of administration and became maximal after 2 days. Similarly, alcohol preference returned to baseline levels 2 days after discontinuation of the isoflavonoids. Rats receiving the herbal extracts ate the same amounts of food as control animals, and they gained weight normally during the experiments. When administered orally, none of these compounds affected the activities of liver alcohol dehydrogenase and aldehyde dehydrogenase. Therefore, the reversal of alcohol preference produced by these compounds may be mediated via the CNS. Data demonstrate that isoflavonoid compounds extracted from Pueraria lobata is effective in suppressing the appetite for alcohol when taken orally, raising the possibility that other constituents of edible plants may exert similar and more potent actions.

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