Kuding or ku ding (Chinese: 苦丁茶; pinyin: kǔdīng chá; literally "bitter nail tea") is a particularly bitter-tasting Chinese infusion, which due to their similarities in appearance is derived from several plant species. Two most common plants used to make kuding, being the wax tree species Ligustrum robustum and the holly species Ilex kudingcha plant, the former being more commonly grown in Sichuan and Japan while the latter is most commonly grown and used in the rest of China.
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The traditional Chinese medicinal properties associated with kuding (and many other plants) include its ability to disperse wind-heat, clear the head and the eyes, and resolve toxin, thus being used for common cold, rhinitis, itching eyes, red eyes, and headache. It is also said to calm fidgets and alleviate thirst, especially when one is suffering from a disease that causes fever or severe diarrhea. It transforms phlegm and alleviates coughing, thus used in treating bronchitis. Finally, it is said to invigorate digestion and improve mental focus and memory.
Some research may suggest that the herb, derived from either Ilex or Ligustrum, promotes blood circulation, lowers blood pressure, and lowers blood lipids, including cholesterol. It has the reputation of preventing deterioration of the heart and brain function and maintaining proper body weight. It has also been found that kuding made from L. robustum has similar anti-oxidative effects to tea in addition to additional anti-inflammatory properties.
- Tam CF, Peng Y, Liang ZT, He ZD, Zhao ZZ., 2006.,Application of microscopic techniques in authentication of herbal tea-Ku-Ding-Cha. Microscopy research and technique, Nov;69(11):927-32.
- Subhuti Dharmananda, Imtonline Article ""KU DING CHA""., Institute for Traditional Medicine, Portland, Oregon, Retrieved November 2, 2006
- LAU Kit Man; HE Zhendan; DONG Hui; FUNG Kwok Pui and BUT Pui Hay Paul, 2002 Anti-oxidative, anti-inflammatory and hepato-protective effects of Ligustrum robustum, Journal of Ethnopharmacology. vol.83 pp.63-71.
- "Yerba maté" or Ilex paraguariensis- A species of Holly which also contains caffeine and is used as to make maté in Paraguay and Uruguay.
- Ilex guayusa- also known as "guayusa", is an Amazonian tree of the holly genus, native to the Ecuadorian Amazon Rainforest.
- Ilex vomitoria- "Yaupon Holly", a caffeine containing member of the Ilex genus from North America.
- Green tea