Volume 18 (2015) Issue 4 Pages 522-528
The contents of major nutrient components, and the composition and contents of medicinal substances were examined in Houttuynia cordata cultivated under field conditions and treated with natural light at full intensity, 40% intensity, and 20% intensity from sprouting to harvesting. The results indicated that the yield of the aboveground portion per unit area was highest at a 40% intensity and lowest at 20% intensity. The yield of the underground portion per unit area was highest under full intensity and lowest at a 20% intensity. As light intensity was reduced, protein and water content increased, while the contents of soluble sugar and fat, the contents of volatile oils both the aboveground and underground portion decreased. The total flavonoid content in both the aboveground and underground portions decreased with diminishing light intensity, but the composition of these flavonoids was hardly affected. In summary, although proper shading can increase the yield and the contents of some nutrients in H. cordata, this treatment reduces the net contents of medicinal components such as volatile oils and flavonoids, as well as the contents of active components. Therefore, it is necessary to provide sufficient light when growing H. cordata for medicinal and functional food purposes, but the crop may be treated with appropriate shading or intercropped when grown as food.