Ji Cai or Yu Xing Cao is also known as Houttuynia. The biter, acrid and slightly cool herb has been used in TCM as antibiotics, inhibit HIV virus, get rid of heat and toxin, treat swellings, abscesses, expel pus, promote urination, etc., as it regulates the Spleen, eliminates Water, stops bleeding,etc., by enhancing the functions of lung and large intestine channels.

1. Myrcene
2. α- Pinene
3. d-Limonene
4. 2-Methyheptenone
5. Camphene
6. Bornyl acetate
7. Caryophyllene
8. Dodecanaldehyde
9. Etc.

Health Benefits
1. Blocking HSV infection
In the confirmation of whether a water extract of H. cordata exhibits activity against herpes simplex virus (HSV) and the virus of severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS), showed that a hot water extract of H. cordata (HCWE) inhibits HSV-2 infection through inhibition of NF-κB activation. The IC(50) was estimated at 50 μg/ml of lyophilized HCWE powder. At 150 and 450 μg/ml, HCWE blocked infectious HSV-2 production by more than 3 and 4 logs, respectively. The inhibitory activity was concomitant with an inhibition of NF-κB activation by HSV-2 infection, according to “Houttuynia cordata blocks HSV infection through inhibition of NF-κB activation” by Chen X, Wang Z, Yang Z, Wang J, Xu Y, Tan RX, Li E.(1)

2. Anti cancers
In the comparison of the cytotoxic effects, apoptosis induction, and mechanism(s) with the ethanolic and water extracts of fermented and non-fermented Houttuynia cordata Thunb (HCT), showed that The ethanolic extract of fermented HCT was cytotoxic to HL-60 >Molt- 4 > PBMCs, to a greater extent than the non-fermented preparation and the number of apoptotic cells was higher. The alcoholic (fermented) extract produced more radicals than the non-fermented in HL-60 cells but the converse was observed in Molt-4 cells. Reduction of MTP was found in HL-60 and Molt-4 cells treated with the alcoholic (fermented) extract and caspase-9 was cleaved dose-dependently in both cells. In conclusion, the alcoholic extract of fermented HCT was more toxic to human leukemic cells than the non-fermented and both cell lines underwent apoptosis via oxidative stress and a mitochondrial pathway, according to “Ethanolic Extract of Fermented Houttuynia cordata Thunb Induces Human Leukemic HL-60 and Molt-4 Cell Apoptosis Via Oxidative Stress and a Mitochondrial Pathway” by Banjerdpongchai R, Kongtawelert P.(2)

3. Anti-inflammatory activity
In the determination the effect of Houttuynia cordata Thunb. (Saururaceae; HC) used in traditional oriental medicine for the treatment of inflammation diseases, found that suggest HC mediates inhibition of COX-2 enzyme activity and can affect related gene and protein expression. HC works by a mechanism of action similar to that of NSAIDs, according to “Houttuynia cordata, a novel and selective COX-2 inhibitor with anti-inflammatory activity” by Li W, Zhou P, Zhang Y, He L.(3)

4. Protective effect against pseudorabies herpesvirus (PrV) infection
In the investigation of the effect of H. cordata injection on cell infection by PrV using Vero cells (a monkey kidney cell line) and swine testis cells (ST) as models, indicated that H. cordata efficiently inhibited cell infection after incubating the drug with PrV. Nevertheless, H. cordata was more efficient in Vero cells than in ST cells in terms of its inhibitory effect. Low-dosage drug inhibited cell apoptosis induced by PrV; nevertheless, high-dosage drug alone resulted in cell apoptosis, according to “The effect of Houttuynia cordata injection on pseudorabies herpesvirus (PrV) infection in vitro” by Ren X, Sui X, Yin J.(4)

5. Anti-obesity effects
In the evaluation of the effect of the water extract of H. cordata leaves (WEH) in the obesity prevention and reduction, found that found that the water extract of H. cordata leaves (WEH) inhibited the corn oil-induced increase in plasma triglyceride levels in mice. WEH also inhibited the oleic acid- and glycerol-induced increase in the levels of plasma nonesterified fatty acids and glycerol, respectively. Moreover, WEH had anti-obesity effects in mice with high-fat-diet-induced obesity. Therefore, WEH may be able to prevent or reduce obesity induced by a high-fat diet, according to “Water extract of Houttuynia cordata Thunb. leaves exerts anti-obesity effects by inhibiting fatty acid and glycerol absorption” by
Miyata M, Koyama T, Yazawa K.(5)

6. Allergic inflammation
In the investigation of the inhibitory activity of Houttuynia cordata Thunb fractions (HcFs) on the T helper 2 (Th2) immune response, indicated that HcFs inhibited the expression of IL-4 and IL-5 in response to phorbol 12-myristate 13-acetate (PMA) and calcium ionophore (CaI) in Jurkat T cells and the human mast cell line, HMC-1. IL-4- and tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-alpha)-induced TARC production was blocked by HcFs in skin fibroblast CCD-986sk cells, particularly by the ethanol extract of Hc. Stimulants included in PMA, phytohemagglutinin (PHA) and CaI, increased the mRNA level of CC chemokine receptor 4 (CCR4), a receptor of TARC, in Jurkat T cells, and the ethanol extract of HcF weakly blocked the increased mRNA level. However, the stimulants and ethanol extract had no effect on the CCR4 protein level. The ethanol extract inhibited TARC-induced migration, as well as basal migration of Jurkat T cells. according to “Suppressive effects of Houttuynia cordata Thunb (Saururaceae) extract on Th2 immune response” byLee JS, Kim IS, Kim JH, Kim JS, Kim DH, Yun CY.(6)

7. Etc.

Side Effects
1. The herb may cause allergic reaction, including rash, skin inflammation, etc.
2. Do not use the herb in newborn, children or if you are pregnant or breast feeding without consulting first with the related field specialist,
3. Over heating or prolong heating can reduce the effectiveness of the herb.
4. Etc.
For other Chinese herbs in western view, visit http://chineseherbsinnutrientsperspective.blogspot.com/2011/10/chinese-herbs-in-western-view-health.html
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(1) http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21951655
(2) http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22393956
(3) http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21073936
(4) http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20942608
(5) http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20495298
(6) http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18325701