Lonicera japonica, commonly known as honeysuckle, has been a valued herb in traditional Chinese medicine for many centuries and is used in other counties as a natural remedy as well. Although it is native to Korea, Japan, and China, this perennial, which can be either a vine or a shrub, has become naturalized in other countries, including Great Britain and the United States. Every part of this plant can be used medicinally: leaves, stems, bark, and flowers. It is used to treat diseases of the joints, dysentery, skin conditions, colds, bronchitis, and other afflictions.
Honeysuckle can be made into an infusion and drunk as tea, concentrated into an extract, made into syrup, or swallowed in capsules. It can also be used in a wash to treat skin conditions such as poison ivy, poison oak, infections, sores, and inflammation. An extract from the flowers of lonicera japonica has been proven to be an effective remedy for bronchial congestion, and honeysuckle flower tea is used to ease the symptoms of colds, pneumonia, and other upper respiratory infections. When taken internally, the stems are an effective remedy for mumps, hepatitis, and arthritis.
Sometimes, honeysuckle is combined with other herbs. A mixture of forsythia and lonicera japonica is used to treat a number of respiratory ailments, and when combined with lemon balm can ease the symptoms of influenza as well. Lonicera japonica is often used in combination with chrysanthemum to treat fevers and viruses. Compounded with mint, it is used as a wash for rashes, and when mixed with scutellaria and used as a wash it may shrink boils. Honeysuckle is an expectorant, and a tea made from honeysuckle, cowslip, and mulberry will control coughs and the symptoms of asthma.
Lonicera japonica flowers help detoxify the body, and the flower buds are sometimes stir-fried to reduce the symptoms of diarrhea. The stems are sometimes used in conjunction with acupuncture. Some believe that taking the stems internally will increase a person’s level of chi or energy.
According to Chinese medicine, lonicera japonica has a cooling effect on the body. It is believed that conditions of heat in the body are responsible for disease, and that cooling herbal medicines will provide symptomatic relief. The various parts of lonicera japonica contain many healing properties that make it diuretic, anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, and febrifuge, which means able to bring down fever. Honeysuckle has also been proven to reduce blood pressure.