Dokudami, also known as Houttuynia Cordata, is a plant that has a lengthy history as a healing agent. It is also used in cooking, as well as in teas like dokudami cha, which translates literally to “Houttuynia cordata tea”. This tea is created with a mixture of the Houttuynia cordata and Oolong tea leaves and Job’s Tear’s, which is a tall tropical plant that bears grains. The plant itself can be found in many Asian countries like Japan, Korea, and southern China. It grows mostly in moist, darkened areas and can be found at all times of the year, in any season.
So what health benefits does this tea leaf offer? That depends entirely on how it will be used, either internally or externally. In Asia, dokudami is considered a “cure-all” medicinal herb. If taken internally, it is believed to help with the following: cervical infection, coughing, enteritis, gastritis, infected sores, cystitis, chronic bronchitis, lung abscesses, pharyngitis, snakebites, urinary infections, and tumors. If used externally, it can be used for abscesses, analgesic, bone growth simulation, boils, diuretic, snakebites, swellings, hemorrhoids, mild laxative, urinary antiseptic, and detoxification. Now some of that is probably legendary folklore, but there have been studies conducted that add some scientific backing to how dokudami functions as a medicinal herb.
One of the health benefits of dokudami, that has some science behind it, is that it can help fight asthma, as well as allergies. These disorders are both caused too much histamines being released. It can also remove free radicals from the body that are not supposed to be there, ones that come from processed food, pollution, and chemicals in water. Free radicals are believed to cause cancer and speed up aging. Dokudami has also been found to fight off bacteria that are harmful to the body. It is especially useful in fighting off two types of bacteria that cause acne.
Another benefit of dokudami is that it helps to boost the immune system. It does this by increasing the amount of lymphocytes, a white blood cell, that are made. It can also help reduce inflammation. Back when SARS was going on in China, dokudami was selected as one of eight aids to help treat it. It can help treat an infection within 24 hours of receiving an injection. Another thing dokudami can do is reduce swelling, which is due to it reducing inflammation. So a lot of what the tea leaf is believed to be able to cure may simply be old wives tales, but it does have some scientifically verified benefits.