12 Health Benefits Of Vidari (Pueraria tuberosa)

Vidari (Pueraria tuberosa) is used in ayurveda to reduce stress, boost immunity, and lower blood pressure.

Bioactive compounds such as diadzein, puerarin, daidzin, sitosterol, and sigmasterols are thought to be responsible for vidari’s medicinal properties. In ayurveda, vidari is thought to correct any imbalance in vata and pitta doshas.

A powerful herb that may have as many bragging rights as the legendary ashwagandha – that’s vidari, vidarikand, Indian kudzu, or Pueraria tuberosa for you. The tuberous root of this perennial climber found throughout the Indian subcontinent is widely used in ayurveda for healing. From improving your memory and fighting inflammation to lowering blood pressure and acting as an aphrodisiac, vidari wears many hats. Here’s a closer look at its varied benefits.


1. Fights The Damaging Effects Of Stress

Looming deadlines, traffic snarls, money trouble, family problems – stressful situations take many forms in all our lives. This stress, in turn, can take quite a toll on your health whether it’s causing backaches, making ulcers worse, raising your blood pressure, or making it harder for wounds to heal.1 But as one animal study found, vidari can step in and help you deal with stress thanks to its adaptogenic qualities – adaptogens help the body cope better with stress.

During this study, stress was induced in animal subjects by physically immobilizing them in a cold environment which led to changes in brain chemicals. But when they were given an extract of vidari root before the stress was induced, it significantly curbed brain chemicals indicating stress. Not only that, it also protected the mucous membrane lining the stomach from damage caused by stress.2


2. Improves Strength, Endurance, And Vitality

Vidari is an important component in herbal tonics like chyawanprash.

Vidari is known for its strengthening properties in ayurveda. It may even have potential as a performance and strength booster in athletes and other sportspeople. One study examined the effectiveness of a medicinal formulation known as “vidarikandadi yog,” comprising vidari along with herbs like godhum and yava, in improving the physical well-being of children who played sports. When the remedy was given twice a day for 2 months to children, it improved chest circumference, weight, muscular strength, and cardiorespiratory parameters. Vidari is thought to have the ability to stimulate growth hormones, which may account for its ability to promote physical strength and weight gain.3


3. Promotes Wound Healing

Research indicates that vidari not only promotes wound healing but also has an anti-inflammatory effect that can ease swelling due to injuries. In fact, this herb is an important ingredient in a medicated oil known as “bala taila” used in ayurveda to treat wounds.4 5

4. Improves Memory

Are you facing memory problems? Vidari may be able to help. This plant is commonly used as a brain tonic in ayurvedic formulations. And animal studies confirm that it can improve both memory and learning. Flavonoids present in it may be responsible for these benefits through a combination of neuroprotective, adaptogenic, and anti-inflammatory effects.6


5. Works As An Aphrodisiac

Vidari is widely used in ayurveda as an aphrodisiac and is thought to improve fertility as well as sexual performance. And this traditional use may be borne out by science too. One animal study found that when male rats were administered this tuber, it increased their sexual vigor. The herb was able to increase the weight of testicular organs and testosterone levels. The production of sperms also improved.7

However, there is some controversy regarding the use of vidari as far as its effect on fertility is concerned. While some studies showing that it can improve fertility in men – which traditional medical systems endorse – others claim it may reduce sperm concentration and sperm motility and have anti-fertility effects.8 However, these anti-fertility effects may only be seen at very high dosages.9


6. Helps Your Baby Grow During Pregnancy

Vidari can also work as a galactagogue, improving lactation in nursing mothers. Vidari powder is mixed in cow’s milk and given to lactating mothers to improve the quantity of breast milk.

Vidari can help your baby develop properly during pregnancy. According to ayurveda, intrauterine growth restriction is a result of vata getting aggravated and then vitiating kapha and pitta doshas. This obstructs channels providing nutrition to the baby and causes the emaciation of the baby. One study which looked at pregnancies where babies were not growing normally found that when vidari was given along with a protein supplement, it resulted in improvements in fetal growth rate, maternal weight gain and abdominal circumference, and birth weight of the baby.10


However, there is an important caveat here. In some cultures, vidari is also used during early pregnancy to induce abortions.11 While its action here is not confirmed, this effect may be brought about only with higher doses. To be safe, take vidari only under the supervision of an experienced ayurvedic practitioner if you are pregnant.

7. Protects Against The Damaging Effects Of Free Radicals

Research indicates that vidari has potent antioxidant properties. Antioxidants act against free radicals which are generated in our bodies in response to environmental toxins and as a byproduct of metabolic processes. Free radicals contribute to a range of diseases like heart disease, diabetes, and cancer as well as the aging process.12 A plant like vidari with its powerful antioxidant benefits can counter the damaging effects of free radicals.13


8. Boosts Immunity And Fights Inflammation

Your immune system works hard to defend you against infections and diseases. And vidari can support it in this function. One animal study found that supplementing the diet of mice with this herb increased the levels of antibodies which defend the body against pathogens.14

Applying a vidari paste on inflamed joints can help reduce swelling and pain.

Research shows that this herb also has an anti-inflammatory effect. And while inflammation is an immune response to pathogens or injuries, persistent inflammation can be harmful. It is, in fact, linked to health problems such as heart disease, Alzheimer’s disease, and arthritis.15 Research indicates that the anti-inflammatory property of vidari is mainly due to its ability to scavenge harmful free radicals which promote inflammation.16

9. Lowers Blood Pressure

High blood pressure can contribute to serious health problems such as heart failure, kidney failure, stroke, and heart attack.17 And if you’re struggling to control your blood pressure levels, vidari can help. One study found that administering this herb to people with mild hypertension significantly reduced both systolic and diastolic blood pressure. Compounds such as puerarin, genistein, daidzein, and tuberosin in it may account for this beneficial effect by dilating blood vessels and modulating potassium channels.18

10. Helps Control Diabetes

Like high blood pressure, high blood sugar too can spell serious trouble for your health. Over time, unregulated diabetes can lead to various health problems such as blindness, heart disease, erectile dysfunction, kidney failure, and poor wound healing. Vidari has shown potential as an antidiabetic remedy to help manage your blood sugar levels. One animal study found that it not only helped regulate blood sugar levels but also countered the loss of body weight associated with diabetes. Vidari is thought to work by stimulating the secretion of insulin.19

11. Protects Your Kidneys

This herb has also been found to have nephroprotective properties. One study looked at the effect of vidari on mice whose kidneys were damaged by exposure to a drug used in chemotherapy. It was found that the remedy afforded the kidneys significant protection against the toxic effects of this drug.20

12. Helps Tackle Epilepsy

Vidari has been used for ages in the treatment of epilepsy. This traditional use has now been validated by scientific research too. Vidari was found to exhibit significant anticonvulsant activity in one animal study. According to the researchers, this might be linked to its ability to exert a sedative effect and thus stabilize brain activity. Beneficial compounds such as triterpinoids, flavonides, and glycosides present in this herb may account for this effect.21

Although vidari has a wide range of health benefits, it is important to remember that it must be used with caution, with your doctor’s knowledge, and under the supervision of a traditional healer. This is because studies have shown that high doses of this herb, as well as long-term use of it even at low doses, can damage your liver.22 Dosages will, therefore, need to be well-calibrated by an ayurvedic doctor for use in your individual case.