The aim of this review was to take a look at the anti-inflammatory functions of Houttuynia cordata Thunb. (HCT) that have been illustrated in the literature and to explore new fields in which HCT could be used in the future. The use of HCT has been described in broad inflammatory domains, where it has exhibited a variety of activities, including antiviral, antibacterial, antiparasitic and immunostimulant activity, with high efficiency, mild features and definite therapeutic effects. The numerous anti-inflammatory functions of HCT have demonstrated that HCT has wide application prospects. New uses of HCT and the full extent of its utilization await further investigation. The basic pathological change of rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is synovial proliferation, which leads to joint destruction in the long-term. There are types of drugs that have been used clinically for patients with RA, however, due to their side-effects or high prices their broad usage is limited. A safe and low-cost drug is urgently required to be developed for the clinical usage of patients with RA. Thus, HCT has the potential to be a good candidate in the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis.