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Honeysuckle

Honeysuckle

Description

Honeysuckle is a large, volubilate shrub of the genus Lonicera. There are over 300 species of honeysuckle in the Caprifoliaceae family, found from Asia to North America. The shrub reaches heights of 2030 ft (69 m), with thin, hairy branches. It has ovoid leaves that range 1.23.2 in (38 cm) long by 0.61.6 in (1.54.0 cm) wide. The plant flowers in late spring or early summer, depending on the species. Japanese honeysuckle (Lonicera japonica ) blooms in the spring from April to May, with fragrant white flowers touched with a shade of purple that fade to yellow as they mature. The species of honeysuckle that is found in North America, the United Kingdom, and western Asia, Lonicera caprifolium, flowers in June. Generally, honeysuckle flowers are 1.21.6 in (34) cm long, with an inner tube of approximately the same length. All varieties of honeysuckle are famous for this tube, which is extracted and sucked for its sweet nectar. The shrub also produces a black berry. Despite the sweetness of its fragrance and nectar, the medicinal parts of the plant are bitter, due to the saponin in its stem, the 8% tannin in the leaves and the 1% insitol in its flowers.

General use

Japanese honeysuckle (L. japonica, also called Japanese jin yin hua, which means gold and silver flower) and common honeysuckle (L. caprifolium, also called Italian honeysuckle, Dutch honeysuckle, and woodbine) are both widely used for their medicinal qualities. Although the Chinese most commonly use the bud of the flower in their medical practice, in other countries it is mostly the flowers and leaves that are used for their healing properties. Japanese honeysuckle works well as a detoxifier, and is best used for acute infections and inflammations. As an alterative, which cleanses and purifies the blood, and an antipyretic, which reduces fever with its cooling properties, Japanese honeysuckle is best used for such ailments as sore throats, swollen eyes, headaches, etc.

Acute infections and inflammations

Japanese honeysuckle is most useful in treating acute illnesses, infections and inflammations. At the onset of a cold, honeysuckle should be taken in combination with chrysanthemum flowers. Several popular Chinese formulas, such as yin chaio and ganmaoling, contain this herbal combination. Because it is a natural antibiotic, honeysuckle can also be used to treat infections caused by staphylococcal or streptococcal bacteria. Honeysuckle should be used for acute conditions, and is not meant to be used in the treatment of chronic illnesses.

Skin infections

Honeysuckle works well against internal infections, and it can also be used externally for skin irritation and infections. Honeysuckle has been found useful in alleviating rashes ranging from skin diseases to poison oak . For these types of skin ailments, honeysuckle is best used as a poultice. For cuts and abrasions that may become infected, a honeysuckle infusion can be applied externally. It is in treating skin infections that the stems of honeysuckle are used.

Circulatory system

John Gerard, a master herbalist of the sixteenth century, said that honeysuckle's "floures, be steeped in oile,

and set in the Sun, are good to annoint the body that is bennumed, and growne very cold." Indeed, L. caprifolium as a fixed oil is good for the circulatory system. When it is heated and smoothed onto the skin, it has been shown to have a vasodilatory effect, causing the blood to flow into the dermis, which is the thick layer of skin beneath the epidermis.

Asthma and coughs

L. caprifolium can be used for asthma on account of its antispasmodic properties. An herbal infusion of the leaves is the best method for treating asthma. A decoction of honeysuckle flowers can be used for coughs.

Other uses

The seeds of L. caprifolium can be used as a diuretic. L. villosa, also known as American honeysuckle, has been used as a kidney stimulant. L. japonica has been used to treat dysentery, and diarrhea .

Preparations

Three teaspoons of the leaf infusion can be taken three times a day. For skin irritation, honeysuckle should be made into an infusion or poultice and applied externally to the skin. When honeysuckle is compounded in capsule form, 1017 g can be taken daily.

Precautions

Although honeysuckle poultices are used for skin irritations, there have been cases of contact dermititis reported from pulling up Japanese honeysuckle. A patient that had come into contact with L. japonica reported developing a line of itchy blisters . People often taste honeysuckle tubes for their nectar; however, several cases of plant poisoning have been reported in children. The symptoms include gastrointestinal discomfort and muscle cramps.

Side effects

There are no known side effects from using honeysuckle.

Interactions

No known adverse drug interactions have been reported with honeysuckle.

Resources

BOOKS

Hallowell, Michael. Herbal Healing. Vonore, TN: Avery Publishing Group, 1994.

Mabey, Richard. The New Age Herbalist. London: Gaia Books, 1988.

Ritchason, Jack. The Little Herb Encyclopedia. Pleasant Grove, UT: Woodland Health Books, 1995.

Katherine Y. Kim

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honeysuckle

honeysuckle, common name for some members of the Caprifoliaceae, a family comprised mostly of vines and shrubs of the Northern Hemisphere, especially abundant in E Asia and E North America. The family includes the elders, viburnums, weigelas, and snowberries as well as the honeysuckles; many are hardy plants that are sometimes cultivated as ornamentals. One of the best-known North American species of the true honeysuckles (genus Lonicera) is the trumpet honeysuckle (L. sempervirens), an evergreen plant with fragrant, trumpet-shaped scarlet blossoms. The Japanese honeysuckle (L. japonica), with small white to yellow flowers, is naturalized in the United States and has become a ubiquitous and noxious weed, strangling the living plants on which it climbs. Woodbine, a name for several European vines, is most often L. periclymenum, also called eglantine. Bush honeysuckles are of the genus Diervilla. Some plants of other families are also called honeysuckle, e.g., the swamp and purple honeysuckles of the heath family. Sambucus (elder or elderberry) and Viburnum are shrubs and trees usually having showy flat-topped clusters of white flowers. The fruits of some species are edible, e.g., those of the common North American elder (S. canadensis), used in preserves, pies, and wine. The European elder (S. nigra) and the "Spirit of the Elder" have figured prominently in folklore of N Europe. Among the better known viburnums (also having edible berries) are the black haw, or stagbush (V. prunifolium), of E North America; the straggling-branched hobblebush, or wayfaring tree (V. alnifolium in America, V. lantana in the Old World); and the high-bush cranberry, or cranberry tree (V. opulus; the American plants are sometimes designated as V. trilobum). The snowball, or guelder-rose, is a cultivated variety of the cranberry tree in which the rounded blossom–clusters are composed of large sterile flowers. Arrowwood (V. dentatum and similar species) was formerly used for making arrows. The waxy-fruited snowberries are species of the genus Symphoricarpos. Weigela (or weigelia), shrubs of the E Asian genus Weigela, are sometimes cultivated elsewhere for their funnel-shaped blossoms. Twinflower (Linnaea borealis), unusual for this family in that it is herbaceous, was the favorite flower of Linnaeus. Honeysuckle is classified in the division Magnoliophyta, class Magnoliopsida, order Dipsacales, family Caprifoliaceae.

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honeysuckle

hon·ey·suck·le / ˈhənēˌsəkəl/ • n. a widely distributed climbing shrub (genera Lonicera and Diervilla) with tubular flowers that are typically fragrant and of two colors or shades, opening in the evening for pollination by moths. The honeysuckle family (Caprifoliaceae) also includes such berry-bearing shrubs as guelder rose, elder, and snowberry.

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honeysuckle

honeysuckle Woody twining or shrubby plant that grows in temperate regions worldwide. It has oval leaves and tubular flowers. A common species in Eurasia, Lonicera periclymenum, climbs to 6m (20ft). Family Caprifoliaceae.

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honeysuckle

honeysuckle. Common Greek enrichment resembling a honeysuckle flower, and called anthemion or palmette.

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honeysuckle

honeysuckle (Lonicera) See CAPRIFOLIACEAE.

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honeysuckle

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