Kuding Tea

Updated: Nov 19

Kuding tea (苦丁茶) is a particularly bitter-tasting Chinese tisane which due to their similarities in appearance is derived from several plant species. Two most common plants used to make Ku Ding tea, 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.


One of the best known properties of this tea is its purported ability to lower blood pressure. It is believed to do this by increasing healthy circulation throughout the body. This effect may also help to bring down inflammation in various parts of the body.

This type of tea is also considered to be an effective weight loss aid. Fans of the drink tout it as an extremely effective weight loss treatment. Many believe that it can help to both decrease one’s body weight and to maintain a healthy weight once it has been achieved. There is no scientific evidence to support this claim, however, and some believe that the tea only eliminates water weight rather than helping one to reduce actual body fat.

Some individuals may drink Kuding tea to treat a cold or flu as well. It is said to assist in clearing mucous and fluid from the head and sinuses. This tea contains many antioxidants, which can help cleanse and detoxify the body.

As is the case with many teas, Kuding tea contains caffeine. This is one of the few drawbacks to the beverage, as those who do not tolerate caffeine well will probably be unhappy with the tea. Aside from the bitter taste, this tea has no other adverse side effects.


In early autumn, picking a kind of wild leaves called "Kuding tea", boiling tea is especially good to drink



The Kuding tree, Ilex kuding or Ilex latifolia, is a large and nowadays rare tropical tree grown in the Chinese provinces Hainan and Yunnan. Its leaves are used for tea much like the Puer tea leaves.

The tea, which has a bitter-sweet taste, has long been associated with the traditional Chinese medicinal properties. It's listed as valuable Chinese medicine as early as the Yuan, Ming, and Qing Dynasties for its beneficial effects to eyes, heart, brain, and stomach.


Even today, people usually drink the tea to calm fidgets and alleviate thirst, especially when one is suffering from a disease that causes fever or severe diarrhea. It's also said to invigorate digestion and improve mental focus and memory.

These leaves come from the Wuzhishan Mountains of Hainan Island. One spine leaves is enough for one large can of tea. Use only the first and second refilling of boiling water as later refillings are getting very bitter. A truly rare and precious tea!



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