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Houttuynia cordata is a Chinese medicinal herb that is found throughout Eastern Asia. It has been used traditionally to treat various types of infections, inflammation, hypertension, sinusitis, pulmonary tuberculosis, etc. Dr. James Schaller has found Houttuynia to be effective against Bartonella in vitro and in vivo and Dr. Lee Cowden has found Houttuynia to be effective against Bartonella clinically in patients who have resistant strains of Bartonella.

Houttuynia cordata is used for the treatment of snake bites and skin disorders. The leaf juice is also used as antidote and astringent. The root, young shoots, leaves and sometimes the whole plant is traditionally used to cure various human ailments throughout South-East Asia. In Indo-China region, the entire plant is considered for its cooling, resolvent and emmenagogue properties. The leaves are recommended for the treatment of measles, dysentery and gonorrhea. The plant is also used in the treatment of eye troubles, skin diseases, hemorrhoids, relieving fever, resolving toxin, reducing swelling, draining pus, promoting urination and in certain diseases of women.

H. cordata possess a number of medicinally important activities such as anti-leukemic, anti-cancer, adjuvanticity, anti-oxidant and inhibitory effects on anaphylactic reaction and mast cell activation. Moreover, H. cordata has also been utilized for the treatment of herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV-1), influenza virus, human immunodeficiency virus type 1, and chronic sinusitis and nasal polyps.

In mice, essential oil from H. cordata was reported to exhibit anti-inflammatory activity by a mechanism of action similar to that of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs).

Recently, the emergence of multidrug-resistant strains of Salmonella sp. has caused more serious problems in public health. H. cordata is stable and beneficial in the treatment of bacterial infection including intracellularly replicating pathogens and may solve antimicrobial misuse and overuse.

Various Reported Medicinal Properties of HOUTTUYNIA:


However, most of these effects have been proven for internal, not topical, use and the studies were performed on animals (mice, pigs, monkeys). According to DHC, which uses this extract in its products, this ingredient is used for its “purifying and revitalizing properties”.

Phytochemical investigations on plant H. cordata up to 2012 have reported number of phytoconstituents present in the plant. Various types of chemical constituents such as aristolactams, 5,4-dioxoaporphines, oxoaporphines, amides, indoles, ionones, flavonoids, benzenoids, steroids and different volatile oils have been isolated from H. cordata. Houttuynoside A and houttuynamide A have also been isolated from this plant. Among the isolated compounds, some have been evaluated for their anti-oxidant and anti-tyrosinase activity. Cepharadione B showed strong inhibitory activity against tyrosinase with an IC50 value of 170 mM. Quercitrin, quercetin-3-O-β-D-galactopyranoside showed excellent DPPH radical-scavenging property with IC50 values of 31 and 63 mM, respectively.


Tapan S. Determination of nutritive value, mineral contents and anti-oxidant activity of some wild edible plants from Meghalaya state, India. Asian J Appl Sci. 2011;4:238–46.

Kim, GS, “Biological and antibacterial activities of the natural herb Houttuynia cordata water extract against the intracellular bacterial pathogen salmonella within the RAW 264.7 macrophage.” Biol Pharm Bull. 2008 Nov;31(11):2012-7.

Anti-inflammatory effect of Houttuynia cordata injection.
Lu HM, Liang YZ, Yi LZ, Wu XJ J Ethnopharmacol. 2006 Mar 8; 104(1-2):245-9.

Chang JS, Chiang LC, Chen CC, Liu LT, Wang KC, Lin CC. Antileukemic activity of Bidens pilosa L. var. minor (Blume) Sherff and Houttuynia cordata Thunb. Am J Chin Med. 2001;29:303–12.

Kim SK, Ryu SY, No J, Choi SU, Kim YS. Cytotoxic alkaloids from Houttuynia cordata. Arch Pharm Res. 2001;24:518–21.

Wang D, Yu Q, Eikstadt P, Hammond D, Feng Y, Chen N. Studies on adjuvanticity of sodium houttuyfonate and its mechanism. Int Immunopharmacol. 2002;2:1411–8.

Cho EJ, Yokozawa T, Rhyu DY, Kim SC, Shibahara N, Park JC. Study on the inhibitory effects of Korean medicinal plants and their main compounds on the 1,1-diphenyl-2-picrylhydrazyl radical. Phytomedicine. 2003;10:544–51.

Li GZ, Chai OH, Lee MS, Han EH, Kim HT, Song CH. Inhibitory effects of Houttuynia cordata water extracts on anaphylactic reaction and mast cell activation. Biol Pharm Bull. 2005;28:1864–8.

Chou SC, Su CR, Ku YC, Wu TS. The constituents and their bioactivities of Houttuynia cordata. Chem Pharm Bull (Tokyo) 2009;57:1227–30.

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