What is Honeysuckle Flower?
Honeysuckle Flower (shan yin hua, 山银花) is a representative Heat-clearing herb that has been widely used to dispel “Inner Heat”. This herb refers to the dried buds or early blooms of Lonicera Macranthoides, Lonicera Hypoglauca, Lonicera Confusa and Lonicera Fulvotomentosa. Honeysuckle Flower grows along river banks, among shrubs, and in the wilderness.
Honeysuckle Flower and Japanese Honeysuckle Flower used to be grouped together as the same herb, but were later re-classified in The Pharmacopoeia of the People’s Republic of China or the Chinese Pharmacopoeia (2010 Edition). However, the book used the exact same words to describe the benefits of both herbs — “Sweet, cold in nature, targets the Lungs, Heart and stomach. Clears Heat and toxicity, dispels Wind-Heat. Used for painful swells, hard furuncles, throat discomfort, Erysipelas, symptoms caused by Heat pathogens, dysentery and colds with fever.”
This suggests that despite the separation of the two closely related herbs under different names, Honeysuckle Flower and Japanese Honeysuckle Flower still offer similar benefits.
In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), Honeysuckle Flower falls under the category of ‘Herbs that clear Heat and relieve Toxicity’. Such herbs can clear inflammatory and infectious conditions, which are caused by ‘Internal Heat’. Hence, most herbs in this category have both antibacterial and antiviral properties. Cold in nature, these dried Honeysuckle Flowers can thus be used to restore the yin-yang balance in individuals who have Yin Deficiency or Yang Excess. The sweet taste of the flower also suggests that it can slow down acute reactions, detoxify the body, and has a tonic effect by replenishing qi and blood. In particular, Honeysuckle Flower is thought to target the Heart, the Lungs and the stomach.
Functions and Benefits of Honeysuckle Flower
Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) shows that Honeysuckle Flower has 3 main functions:
Firstly, Honeysuckle Flower can clear heat and dispel toxicity. It is used to treat ailments such as fever, rashes, ulcers, inflammation, hot boils, sores or swellings, especially in the breast, eyes and throat. For example, it can be used to treat swollen lymph nodes and eye problems caused by Heat such as swollen and red eyes. The herb can also help to take care of our vocal cords.
Secondly, Honeysuckle Flower can dispel Wind-Heat derived from External pathogens out of one’s Lungs and defence system. It is thus effective in treating common colds that come with fever, sore throat, headaches and Summer-Heat symptoms.
Thirdly, Honeysuckle Flower can expel Damp Heat from the lower burner. This helps to tackle symptoms such as diarrhoea, dysentery, intestinal abscesses and painful urination.
Other than the above benefits of Honeysuckle Flower, modern research also found that there are numerous Honeysuckle benefits for skin and for natural healing, such as reducing inflammation and acne, managing blood sugar levels, and treating nausea symptoms, among others.
For example, the herb can help to reduce the risk of chronic diseases by soothing inflammation in our body. It can clear up skin inflammation conditions such as eczema, psoriasis, acne and rosacea. It can eliminate inflammation in our respiratory tracts associated with bronchitis and sore throat. It can also help to improve our body’s immune response to reduce infection and vulnerability to disease. Not only that, it can also manage our blood sugar levels to lower our risk of developing diabetes.
In aromatherapy, it is also found that Honeysuckle Flower can aid in relaxation and the relief of sinus pressure.
How to Use Honeysuckle Flower
There are countless ways for us to use Honeysuckle Flower to improve our health as it can either be consumed or be applied to skin.
The plant is commonly made into tinctures, infusions and teas. In particular, many use Honeysuckle Flower Tea as a quick remedy for cold and flu symptoms. You can mix 6g of Chrysanthemum and 6g of Honeysuckle Flower into a cup, brew it into tea and enjoy its fat-reducing, stress-relieving and blood-pressure-lowering effects.
The herb can also be used externally. For example, one can add Honeysuckle Flowers to one’s bath, apply its cream on one’s skin, or even its liquid as an acne face mask to reduce skin redness and swelling.
The typical dose of Honeysuckle Flower is between 6 – 15g when used for oral administration. Larger doses may be used when the herb is applied to the skin.
Cautions and Side Effects of Honeysuckle Flower
Individuals who are experiencing Spleen Deficiency or stomach Deficiency while having a cold or diarrhoea should avoid consuming Honeysuckle Flower. Also, it should be used with caution when one has Qi or Yin Deficiency.
Do note that skin contact with Honeysuckle Flower might cause rashes for people with existing allergies. Also, it may cause gastrointestinal side effects.
We recommend that pregnant and breastfeeding ladies should refrain from using the herb as there are many active compounds in it.
It was also discovered that this herb may slow blood clotting, so there are concerns that it may increase the risk of extra bleeding during and post-surgery. Hence, do avoid using this herb 2 weeks before a scheduled surgery.
Speak to your healthcare provider before adding Honeysuckle Flower to your health regimen!
Here is a summary for Hawthorn Fruit:
- Herb name (Chinese): 山银花
- Herb name (Pin Yin): shān yín huā
- Herb name (English): Honeysuckle Flower
- Herb name (Botanical): Flos Lonicerae
- Origin of species: Lonicera hypoglauca Miq.; Lonicera confusa DC.; Lonicera macranthoides Hand. – Mazz; Lonicera fulvoto-mentosa Hsu et S. C. Cheng
- Part(s) of herb used: Flower bud or opening flower
- Geo-specific habitat(s): Sichuan, Guangdong, Guangxi, Hunan, Guizhou, Yunnan, Anhui, Zhejiang
- Taste(s) & Properties: Sweet; Cold; Administrates the Lung, Heart and Stomach meridians
- Actions: For easing inflammations (external use); Eases early symptoms of influenza such as fever and coughs with yellow oral discharge.
Li, Y., Li, W., Fu, C., Song, Y., & Fu, Q. (2020). Lonicerae japonicae flos and Lonicerae flos: a systematic review of ethnopharmacology, phytochemistry and pharmacology. Phytochemistry Reviews, 19(1), 1-61.[Accessed on 31st October 2022]
Yan-Ran, T. A. N. G., Ting, Z. E. N. G., Han-Wen, Y. U. A. N., Bin, L. I., Cai-Yun, P. E. N. G., Si-Cheng, W. A. N. G., … & Wei, W. A. N. G. (2018). Lonicerae Flos: a review of chemical constituents and biological activities. Digital Chinese Medicine, 1(2), 173-188.[Accessed on 31st October 2022]
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