medicinal uses of Japanese honeysuckle?

Gail H
Gail H Posts: 359 ✭✭✭✭
edited November 2020 in Herbal Medicine-Making

Up until about an hour ago, Japanese honeysuckle (Lonicera japonica) was a troublesome plant to me. I plotted against it and wanted it gone. However, I was reading an article on the interest in herbal remedies for Coronavirus, and it mentioned a run on Japanese honeysuckle.

I looked it up and found this:

The above appears to be associated with George Mason University, but I'm not entirely sure. At any rate, has anyone used Japanese honeysuckle medicinally? What parts did you use? How did you prepare it? Mine has leaves on it, but they have overwintered. Are they still medicinally active? Mine has two-toned foliage. Does that make a difference?

As you can tell, I'm pretty geeked about this. I love finding a new medicinal plant, especially one that could be very useful in the current Coronavirus outbreak. I also need to craft an apology to my husband. He's the one who planted it and I've given him grief about it. My next request will be a recipe for humble pie. 😀


  • Momma Mo
    Momma Mo Posts: 138 ✭✭✭

    I would be interested to find out about its medicinal properties, also. I grew up with it and enjoyed the nectar for the flowers when I was a kid. Great memories!

  • shllnzl
    shllnzl Posts: 1,816 ✭✭✭✭✭

    I just got one from a neighbor. The plant spent the entire winter in its original nursery pot. It is showing new growth so I will have to find time to plant it in the ground.

  • VickiP
    VickiP Posts: 586 ✭✭✭✭

    Here is an article that can be downloaded as a PDF. It is a very intriguing plant and waddya know? I have a ton of it!

  • Torey
    Torey Posts: 5,520 admin

    This is from the American Botanical Council's HerbalGram articles:

    Re: Medicinal Properties of Honeysuckle

    Van Galen, Rees. Lonicera japonica, honeysuckle Australian Journal of Medical Herbalism. Vol 7 No 4 1995:.

    The flower buds, stems, and leaves of the perennial honeysuckle (Lonicera japonica) are used medicinally. In traditional Chinese medicine (TCM), the flower is called jin yin hua or shuang hua, and the stem jin yin teng or jen tung. The herb's actions are: antibiotic, antihypertensive, antipyretic, alterative, anti-inflammatory, diuretic, refrigerant, diaphoretic, central stimulant, and antilipemic, and it removes toxic heat. It is indicated in cases of acute respiratory infection and common colds associated with fever and thirst, and it lowers fevers, swellings, and inflammations, and removes pus. It appears to be a safe expectorant for asthma patients. Inflammation of the gastrointestinal tract is also treatable with honeysuckle, as well as inflammations of the skin. It is indicted in cases of rheumatism and rheumatoid arthritis, acute conjunctivitis, inflammation of the female reproductive organs, and acute mastitis. In TCM, honeysuckle is used in combination with Chrysanthemum flowers to lower high blood pressure and to treat arteriosclerosis.

    Clinical studies have demonstrated that honeysuckle is effective in lowering body temperature and reducing inflammation in cases of acute tonsillitis, and in improving cases of pulmonary tuberculosis and pneumonia. In combination with Forsythia suspensa, honeysuckle has been shown to be effective against the common cold. In a clinical study with 22 patients with infectious hepatitis, 12 were cured and 6 others improved with honeysuckle vine treatment. In one study, honeysuckle in combination with Astragalus membranaceus and Ophiopogon japonicus effectively treated viral myocarditis by removing heat and toxic materials and nourishing and supplementing vital energy.

    Honeysuckle is not intended for long-term use. While the flowers are low in toxicity, the fruits, leaves, and stems are more toxic. Symptoms of poisoning include extreme tiredness, drowsiness, dilated pupils, and photosensitivity.

  • Gail H
    Gail H Posts: 359 ✭✭✭✭

    @torey Thank you for the wonderful information. I am definitely going to see how to incorporate this into our remedies. Interesting that it's used with Forsythia, which is just coming into bloom. So much to learn!

  • Torey
    Torey Posts: 5,520 admin

    This just came in a newsletter from the East West School of Planetary Herbology.

    Five Things You Need to Know About


    (Lonicera japonica)

    1. Beloved as a fragrant ornamental in the West, the Chinese use honeysuckle flowers (jin yin hua) widely in formulas to fight infection and inflammation.

    2.  Honeysuckle flowers have a cooling energy and bitter taste, clues to its strong detoxifying and fever-reducing properties.

    3. As a strong antibacterial and antiviral herb, the use of jin yin hua should be restricted to acute infectious conditions. This is not an herb to be used long-term.

    4. Honeysuckle flowers are used for Hot conditions: flu, fever, sore throat, dysentery, urinary tract infections, conjunctivitis, or abscesses.

    5. Jin yin hua infusion may be used topically for inflammatory skin disorders including rashes, poison oak and suppurating sores.

  • Desiree
    Desiree Posts: 255 ✭✭✭

    Is all honeysuckle medicinal or is it only this species?

  • Torey
    Torey Posts: 5,520 admin

    @desireet02 Haskap (Lonicera cerulea) is an edible species. Delicious, spicy, oblong blue berries; a bit like elongated blueberries. Other species, with the exception of Western Trumpet (L. ciliosa) and Red Twinberry (L. utahensis) should not be considered edible. There are some Traditional First Nations uses of the native species in my area which include the two above as well as Black Twinberry (L. involucrata), but I haven't been able to find much in the way of scientific research to confirm these uses. Honeysuckle (L. caprifolium) is one of the original 38 Bach flower essences, used for homesickness or for individuals who may be "stuck in the past". Annie's Remedies lists another Honeysuckle species L. periclymenum, that has astringent, depurative, diuretic and expectorant properties but also says it is not for long-term use. 

  • Melinda
    Melinda Posts: 123 ✭✭✭

    My husband wanted to cut ours down last fall. I’m so glad I talked him out of it. Now to get some cuttings and propagate even more of it around our fence line. Thank ya’ll so much for the info!!

  • Acequiamadre
    Acequiamadre Posts: 269 ✭✭✭

    I discovered this plant today and wondered if there were medicinal uses--Black Twinberry (L. involucrata). Are the properties of this plant similar to other honeysuckles?

  • Torey
    Torey Posts: 5,520 admin
    edited June 2020

    @Acequiamadre There isn't much in Western Herbal literature about this plant, mostly because it hasn't been studied. Traditional First Nations uses include as an eye wash and an external wash for skin conditions and infections. Mostly it was used as an emetic. So I wouldn't consider this edible but Red Twinberry (Lonicera utahensis) has edible fruit. Black Twinberry was also widely used as a dye plant and for basket weaving due to the pliable stems.

  • AngelaOston
    AngelaOston Posts: 247 ✭✭✭

    It makes the best tea - fragrant like flowere