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Honeysuckles (Lonicera) are common garden plants widely known for their highly fragrant flowers. More importantly, their flowers, seeds and leaves also have many medicinal uses that are of particular interest for those experiencing fever, aches and pains, difficulty breathing, and/or coughing (the “Symptoms”). The information contained herein is not medical advice.  We encourage you to do your own research and consult with a duly qualified health practitioner before starting use of this remarkable plant.

Research shows that honeysuckle may provide benefits towards alleviating the Symptoms when experienced by patients.  Honeysuckle has potent anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, immune-boosting, anti-viral and anti-tumor abilities. Thus, it can be used for:

  • Upper respiratory tract infections as well as asthma, including colds, the flu and pneumonia
  • Other viral as well as bacterial infections
  • Digestive disorders, including pain and inflammation of the small intestine (enteritis)
  • Headaches and fever
  • Urinary disorders, diabetes and arthritis

Certain edible honeysuckle, such as Lonicera caerulea, are very high in disease-fighting antioxidants. This particular berry can adjust inflammation to appropriate levels which is beneficial given that the root of most diseases is inflammation. As honeysuckle inhibits the power of free radicals by reducing oxidative stress, it helps prevent cancer and other serious illnesses exacerbated by toxins in your body.

The Japanese honeysuckle (Lonicera japonica) is commonly used in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) has demonstrated ability to support the immune system. In fact, studies have shown that this variety increases the activity of white blood cells to kill off viruses and tumour cells. Furthermore, in TCM, the honeysuckle connects to the lung, stomach and large intestine meridians. According to acupuncture theory, meridians are any of the pathways along which the body’s energy flows.  The honeysuckle is also considered to have cold properties, such that it is a powerful natural remedy to remove heat from the body (such as fever) as well as toxins and inflammatory conditions. This is why practitioners of TCM commonly use Lonicera japonica for removal of heat and toxins from the body.

Interestingly, a popular patented formula known as Shuang Huang Lian and which is comprised primarily of Lonicerae Japonicae Flos (honeysuckle), Scutellariae Radix, (skullcap) and Fructus Forsythiae (forsythia) sold out across China within days as a treatment for coronavirus. At time of writing, the remedy had not undergone clinical trials but reportedly has an antimicrobial effect, while detoxifying and eliminating inflammation.

Furthermore, an instant traditional Chinese medicine in the form of granules that has proved effective in combating COVID-19 in Wuhan, Hubei province, is gaining popularity in Europe. The instant medicine includes TCM ingredients such as honeysuckle flower and Astragalus mongholicus.

One should be aware that the leaves and stems of honeysuckles contain saponins, which can be dangerous if ingested in large enough amounts. While there are several edible species of honeysuckles, one should also ensure that you are not consuming any of the poisonous types of honeysuckles, which can cause serious illness if consumed in large quantities. Symptoms of poisoning include stomach pain, diarrhea, irregular heartbeat and vomiting. Thus, it is advisable to check a plant guide to ensure any honeysuckle you are contemplating is safe for use.  Some edible varieties include Lonicera japonica, Lonicera periclymenum, Lonicera ciliosa, and Lonicera caerulea.

If you cannot access fresh honeysuckles, you can find dried varieties at some Asian markets or online herb suppliers. Health stores may also provide honeysuckle products such as powders, infusions and decoctions.

In general, you can make honeysuckle tea by pouring one cup of boiling water over one tablespoon of dried flowers. There are also recipes using honeysuckle for sorbet, salad dressings, jams and iced tea. The appropriate dosage of honeysuckle depends on several factors including a user’s health status.

Again, we recommend that you do your own research and consult with a duly qualified health practitioner before using honeysuckle. This is especially important if you’re on any medications, regardless of the condition you may be treating as it may complicate pre-existing conditions and create negative side effects.


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