Oriental Herb: Dokudami ドクダミ for Detox

I'd like to introduce an oriental herb, Dokudami (Houttuynia cordata), from my home, Japan. It's commonly known as a medicinal plant in our history, appeared in "Yamato honzo: Medicinal Herbs of Japan" (1708) by Ekiken Kaibara; "it's called 'ten-medicine (薬)' in Japanese Kampo, from its potency that has medicinal actions as ten herbs can give." Detox herb.

Dokudami (Houttuynia) in Japan, June 2016

Dokudami (Houttuynia) in Japan, June 2016

Since I started herbal study here in States, I've realized it's not common here, wheres it grows everywhere in Japan. It has an exceptionally distinctive oder and taste. It took a while for me to get used to the flavor as a child ...seriously. Yet, I have a strong fondness for it.

"Good medicine is bitter to the mouth"

I have a 'bitter' story to share. I had been suffered from severe acne during my childhood, entire adolescence all way to adult period. My mother, coming from "food is medicine" spirit big time, tried anything on me to heal it. Acne was red, deep rooted, big eruptions sitting all over my face and back. It was a horrible experience for a girl at a vulnerable age, as you can imagine. One approach she gave me was to drink dokudami-cha (tea). It was not about the flavor. It was about searching a method to get rid of ugly pimples. After some times, my gustatory sensor got used to the flavor, and started drinking it just like water. I assume this is how I built my high tolerance for wide range of tastes.

It's usually mixed with other tea, such as pearl barley. It tastes pleasant and is smoother to take.

It has a pretty, white flower with heart-shape leaves. Yet, the name, doku (poison) dame (store), comes from its wild oder thrown off.

Harvesting: May~June. Harvested in flowering period. It is ideally dried under the sun, then under half shaded area.

Part used: Aerial part

Method: Tea, Tincture, Poultice, Bath

Action: Anti-bacterial, Anti-inflammatory, Diuretic, Laxative, Drainage, Pyretic, Cardiotonic

Indication: Tinea pedis, Skin issues, Acne, Edema, Urethra inflammation, Constipation, Hypertension, Arterial sclerosis, Empyema