What is Houttuynia cordata? Houttuynia cordata or yu xing cao is a perennial plant native to Southeast Asia. In Mandarin its name literally translates to ‘fishy-smell herb.’ It is known as dokudami in Japanese which means ‘poison blocking plant.’ In English, it has many names – lizard tail, chameleon plant, and fishwort are but a few. The plant is highly prized in horticulture because it changes colour depending on how much sunlight is available.
In China, the roots are consumed as a vegetable. A popular Japanese detox tea called dokudami cha is made from the dried leaves. In Vietnamese cooking, the ‘fish-mint’ herb is used as a garnish. In India it is used in fish dishes, especially fish curries. It is also sprinkled on salads and cooked with other vegetables.
Valued across Asia for its detoxifying and rejuvenating properties. High in free-radical fighting antioxidants, flavonoids and other polyphenols. Contains fatty acids – linolenic, linoleic, oleic, and palmitic acids. 20 amino acids have been identified in the plant: chiefly glutamic, leucine and aspartic. Contains various trace minerals – including potassium, calcium, magnesium and phosphorus.