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Houttuynia Herb

Veterinarian Reviewed on June 14, 2012 by Paulina Nelega, RH
Posted in Uncategorized

Houttuynia Herb


Houttuynia Herb (Houttuynia cordata) is also known as pinyin in Chinese or “fishy-smell herb” and in English it is known as Lizard Tail, chameleon plant and also as Bishop’s Weed. Houttuynia Herb is a flowering perennial herb which is native to Japan, Korea, Southeast Asia and also in mainland China. Houttuynia Herb favors places where it has a lot of moisture and shade.

The Houttuynia Herb grows between 20 to 80 cm in height, has many roots and the distal roots grow vertically. The leaves of the Houttuynia Herb are heart-shaped with lovely white flowers that grow during the summer time.

History and Origin

Houttuynia Herb has been used as a leaf vegetable especially in Vietnamese cuisine. The name ‘fishy-smell herb’ has, of course, been derived from the unusual smell and taste of the Houttuynia Herb when used as a food garnish. It is used as a Chinese ancient folk medicine because of its diuretic properties and also because of its ability to fight viruses and bacteria.

Ancient Uses

During ancient times the Houttuynia Herb was used mainly as a vegetable garnish. Its unique taste and smell made it one of the most used herbs for cooking during ancient times. The medicinal capabilities of the Houttuynia Herb were later discovered after it was useful in treating lung disorders and pneumonia.

Modern Uses

Houttuynia Herb in modern times is also used for its antiviral and antibacterial properties. It is effective in the treatment of pneumonia and many types of upper and lower respiratory tract infections. Houttuynia Herb is also being considered in the treatment of SARS.

The Houttuynia Herb has also antileukemic properties as well. This herbal remedy is a very popular health tonic in Japan, which makes it quite useful in increasing energy and virility. There is a Japanese beverage called Dokudami Cha which is made from the infusion of the leaves of Houttuynia Herb and then mixed in with other herbal remedies. The Houttuynia Herb has also made its way in the market as an anti obesity product with many fat control supplements containing its extracts either as a whole or combined with other herbs for a more effective fat-free dose.

Side Effects

There are no known side effects of Houttuynia Herb and if you want to use this herb for the treatment of your illness then it is best to consult your naturopathic doctor or herbalist regarding the use and dosage of Houttuynia Herb. The use of this herb for your illness may cause adverse effects with your current medications so a doctor’s advice is always the best. The use of Houttuynia Herb is contraindicated for pregnant and breastfeeding women. If you wish to use this supplement for weight loss, it is best to consult your doctor or a dietician about the best weight loss treatment for you. It is best to combine exercise and proper diet with Houttuynia Herb weight loss supplements to get optimum results with your diet regimen.

Houttuynia Herb has been known as an invasive herb in the United States and in Australia where it can invade garden plants if not attended to and controlled at once.

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Our Expert

Paulina Nelega, RH
Paulina Nelega, RH, has been in private practice as a Clinical Herbalist for over 15 years. She has developed and taught courses in herbal medicine, and her articles on health have appeared in numerous publications. She is very passionate about the healing power of nature. Ask Dr. Jan

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