Lizard’s tail (Houttuynia cordata)

Houttuynia cordata , In English, it is known as Lizard tail, chameleon plant, heartleaf, fishwort and Bishop’s weed. It is one of two species in the genus Houttuynia, is a flowering plant native to Japan, Korea, southern China and Southeast Asia, where it grows in moist, shady places.

Houttuynia cordata is a herbaceous perennial plant growing to between 20 and 80 cm. The proximal part of the stem is trailing and produces adventitious roots, while the distal part of the stem grows vertically. The leaves are alternate, broadly heart-shaped, 4–9 cm long and 3–8 cm broad. Flowers, growing usually in Summer, are greenish-yellow, borne on a terminal spike 2–3 cm long with 4-6 large white basal bracts.

Grown as a leaf vegetable, particularly in Vietnam, where it is called giấp cá or diếp cá and is used as a fresh herbal garnish. The leaf has an unusual taste that is often described as fishy (earning it the nickname “fish mint”), so it is not enjoyed as universally as basil, mint, or other more commonly used herbs.

In the southwestern Chinese provinces of Yunnan, Guizhou, and Sichuan, roots are used as a root vegetable. English names include heartleaf, lizardtail, and fishwort.

Grown as a leaf vegetable, particularly in Vietnam, where it is called giấp cá or diếp cá and is used as a fresh herbal garnish. The leaf has an unusual taste that is often described as fishy (earning it the nickname “fish mint”), so it is not enjoyed as universally as basil, mint, or other more commonly used herbs.

In the southwestern Chinese provinces of Yunnan, Guizhou, and Sichuan, roots are used as a root vegetable. English names include heartleaf, lizardtail, and fishwort.

Houttuynia cordata is also used in used in folk medicine for diuresis and detoxification and herbal medicinefor its antiviral, antibacterial and antileukemic activities. Recently it has been suggested that it might have anti-obesity properties. Houttuynia cordata was used by Chinese scientists to tackle SARS as it is conventionally used to treat pneumonia.

H. cordata Injection, a traditional Chinese medicine, is often used to relieve abnormal lung symptoms, infectious disease, refractory hemoptysis and malignant pleural effusion in China. H. cordata Injection has a direct inhibitory activity against Pseudorabies herpes virus in vitro. Vap Ca is a very popular tonic herb in Japan and is used as a tonic tea, but also for chronic earache. The beverage dokudami cha(Japanese; literally “Houttuynia cordata tea”) is an infusion made from the leaves, Oolong tea leaves, and Job’s Tears

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