Translated by Miki Takeshita
Try a Cup of Japanese Herb "Dokudami" Tea
Written by Sakuta
When we hear the word "herb", it reminds us of plants like mint, or rosemary that helps us out in daily life. Sometimes they are sold in specialty stores, or blended with tea. In Japan, it is considered pretty fashionable to use herbs.
Well, we Japanese also used "herb" since the ancient times; they grow here and there by the streets.
In this entry, I will talk about one of those herbs "Dokudami".
See, the Dokudami is there
You can find Dokudami everywhere in Japan.
In the mountain.
In a garden.
Even in the neighborhood.
There must be some growing near you. It has heart-shaped leaves of dark green and blooms white flowers in summer. This plant prefers dark places.
Did you find one?
Small flower in the green. Most of us miss this cute white blossom. Take a look closer...
Eww. What is this strange smell!?
It's not only from the flower. All the leaves are giving off the smell.
For this reason, many people hate this to be in their garden. When Dokudami grows out in summer, we try hard to get rid of them thoroughly. However this plant is very strong, so it sprouts again and again.
Unfortunately, the plant is really disliked from many people, in spite of its cute look.
I can be Used for Treatment
In fact, this Dokudami can be used as herbs for treatment. Non-Japanese people also utilize this sometimes. We also took this for healing from the old times.
Dokudami's "Doku" stands for "Poison". But this doesn't mean that Dokudami contains poison in itself. It actually helps you remove it from your body.
The easiest way to use this Dokudami for healing is to prepare it as a tea.
The effect of Dokudami tea differs by individuals. For example, it relieves constipation. Some other say that skin's condition gets better if you drink it before going to bed.
Many women worries about their constipation or skin, so you can say that Dokudami is a herb for women. (Do not drink too much at once, for you might suffer from the "opposite of constipation".)
How to make Dokudami Tea
The process is easy.
- Take some Dokudami.
- Cut it.
- Clean it. (If you're sure it's clean, then you don't need to.)
- Dry it.
- Wait till it's dried for good.
When it's totally hardened, chop it into small pieces, and drink like other common tea.
It is quite strange that it won't give out the smell when dried for tea.
Dokudami can be seen from spring to autumn in Japan. Those with flowers in early summer are the best for drinking.
It is also good with ice.
You can Buy it in Stores
Some of you might not be able to find it around. I have to mention that there are no Dokudami in winter as well.
Still, you can purchase it at drugstores or supermarkets when in need.
Look for corners like the picture above. Sometimes it is sold as "Zyuyaku(十薬)". It won't cost much, for it is originally just a weed.