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Houttuynia cordata – sources, health benefits, nutrients, uses and constituents at

Tuesday, September 12, 2017 by

Houttuynia cordata, also known as chameleon plant and bishop’s weed, is an herbaceous perennial plant native to southern China, Korea, Japan, and Southeast Asia. This flowering plant is distinguished by its heart-shaped leaves, green to purplish-red stems, and small, white flowers void of petals. As a creeping herb, Houttuynia cordata thrives in shady, moist places such as in wet soil. While largely thought of as a pest due to being an invasive plant that is difficult to kill, Houttuynia cordata is equally known for its place in the kitchen and in traditional medicine.

List of known nutrients

Houttuynia cordata is awash with a variety of health-promoting medicinal and nutritional compounds such as:

  • Alkaloids
  • Alpha-Pinene
  • Calcium
  • Decanal
  • Dodecanal
  • Flavonoids
  • Glycosides
  • Hyperin
  • Isoquercetin
  • Lauric acid
  • Limonen
  • Magnesium
  • Methyl Decanoate
  • Myrcene
  • Potassium
  • Pyridine
  • Quercetin
  • Rutin
  • Volatile oils

The unique and diverse combination of nutrients has imbued Houttuynia cordata with numerous medicinal properties ranging from being antibacterial to anti-inflammatory to anti-allergic to hepatoprotective, or the ability to prevent liver damage.

Medicinal uses for Houttuynia cordata

One of the most popular and frequent applications of Houttuynia cordata is as a treatment of upper and lower respiratory tract infections. The potent antibacterial, anti-viral, and anti-allergic qualities of this plant are believed to be responsible for its positive effects on such conditions as pneumonia, bronchitis, asthma, and cough. The reputation of Houttuynia cordata in regards to its impact on the respiratory system are such that it’s being looked into as a possible treatment for severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS).

The antibacterial, anti-viral, and anti-microbial properties of Houttuynia cordata extend to beyond the respiratory system. According to, Houttuynia cordata can prevent the occurrence of gastritis, which is an irritation of the stomach caused by the same bacteria that bring about stomach ulcers. The anti-inflammatory effect of Houttuynia cordata plays a hand in its efficacy as well.

Houttuynia cordata has been described as acting like a natural anti-histamine which makes it good against seasonal allergies.

Houttuynia cordata can help with other conditions like:

  • Cellulitis
  • Dysentery
  • Edema
  • Eneteritis
  • Lung inflammation
  • Mastitis
  • Urinary tract infections

Body systems supported by Houttuynia cordata

Moreover, Houttuynia cordata can boost the immune system and decrease susceptibility to infection. This plant accomplishes this by increase the production of lymphocytes or white blood cells that help the body fight off antigens and toxins. The antioxidants in Houttuynia cordata can aid the immune system too by neutralizing and eliminating free radicals.

Houttuynia cordata is good for the respiratory system and liver as well.

Ways to use Houttuynia cordata

As an aromatic herb, Houttuynia cordata is typically used to garnish salads, curry dishes, stir fries, stews, and soups.

A tea can be made from fresh and dried Houttuynia cordata parts. To make Houttuynia cordata tea, simply cut up a handful of leaves into small pieces and rinse. Dry the leaves until they’re brittle then place the leaves in water. Boil until the mixture becomes aromatic then bring the mixture to a simmer. Allow it to cool then drink.

Houttuynia cordata can be purchased as liquid supplements too.

One other name of Houttuynia cordata is “fishy-smell herb”, and this is due to the odor that results from pressing the leaves, so keep this in mind when preparing Houttuynia cordata.

Where to learn more


Houttuynia cordata can strengthen the immune and respiratory systems, decreasing the risk of such health ailments as pneumonia, bronchitis, seasonal allergies and asthma. In addition, Houttuynia cordata can prevent gastritis.

Sources include:


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