Honeysuckle (Jin Yin Hua)
Botanical Name: Western – Lonicera periclymenum, L. sempervirens, L. caerulea. Eastern – L. japonica.
Honeysuckle treats asthma and will keep witches from entering your house if you grow it at the entrance to your home. The Chinese also used it to treat snake bites. It is excellent for treating headaches, skin sores, and acute infectious diseases.
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Below is an overview of honeysuckle, combining the best of Western Science, Oriental Medicine, Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), Shamanism, Folklore, and a wide range of healing modalities. Gain a balanced and thorough understanding of the healing properties of honeysuckle.
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Western Name: Honeysuckle
Also Known As: Woodbine, Hall’s Honeysuckle, Lonicera, Goat’s Leaf, Fairy Trumpets
Organs/Systems: Lungs, Head, Bladder
Key Actions: Laxative, Anti-inflammatory, Antioxidant, Antibacterial, Antiviral, Astringent, Antiseptic, Depurative, Diuretic, Diaphoretic, Expectorant, Febrifuge
Medicinal Uses: Asthma, acute lung infections, colds and flu, skin sores, constipation, bladder infections, congestion, scabies, menses, cancer, headaches, diabetes, arthritis, constipation.
Pin Yin: Jin Yin Hua
Also Known As: Japanese Honeysuckle (L. japonica), Ren Dong Hua, Jin Hua, Er Hua, Shuang Hua
Meridians: Lung, Heart, Stomach
Key Actions: Moves Blood, Replenishes Qi, Clears Wind Heat, Relieves Toxicity
Medicinal Uses: Often used in pus-forming infections, skin sores, itchy skin, bloody dysentery, colds and flu, athma, acute infectious diseases of the lung, head, and digestive tracts, fevers and inflammation, encephalitis, swine flu, pneumonia, headaches, diabetes, arthritis, cancer, high blood pressure, anxiety, constipation, eczema, psoriasis, acne, rosacea, snake bites.
Basic Habitat / Botany:
Honeysuckle is in the Caprifoliaceae family. There are over 175 different species with L. periclymenu and L. japonica being used as medicines. Honeysuckle is a deciduous plant with climbing vines and yellow-orange or yellow-white tubular flowers. The leaves and stems are waxy, a common feature of all honeysuckle plants. L. japonica is a semi-evergreen plant. Both varieties have edible berries that appear after the flowers bloom.
Western L. periclymenu is native to Southern Europe. Japanese honeysuckle (L. japonica) is native to China and Japan. It grows all over China but is mainly cultivated in Shandong and Henan provinces. Coral or red honeysuckle (L. sempervirens) is native to North America.
Parts Most Frequently Used: Stem, Flower, Seed, Leaf, Berry
Flavors/Temps: Sweet, Cold
Caution: The flowers, stems, leaves, and nectar are considered safe. Do not use honeysuckle for chronic diarrhea caused by cancer treatment. The berries of Lonicera periclymenum and L. japonica are safe to eat. Do not eat the berries of the red honeysuckle (L. sempervirens) they are toxic. Overly large doses of honeysuckle can cause adverse effects such as dehydration and a feeling of sickness.
Key Constituents: Chlorogenic acids, Luteolin, Quercetin, Inositol, Tannins, Flavonoids, Essential Oils
History/Folklore: The Chinese use honeysuckle to treat a wide range of acute infectious diseases of the respiratory and digestive systems. They also use it for treating snakebites. In Western traditions honeysuckle is associated with love, because of the twining fragrant flowers wrapping around each other. The fragrance is said to induce dreams of passion and love. It is said that if a honeysuckle blossom is brought into the home there will be a wedding within the year.
Be careful not to confuse honeysuckle with other plants known as woodbine, such as American ivy (genus Hedera), gelsemium (Gelsemium sempervirens), and Clematis virginiana (genus Clematis). All honeysuckle plants are in the genus Lonicera.
Culpepper says, “I know [no] better cure for asthma than this and it takes away the evil of the spleen.” The flowers and leaves are gathered in the summer just before the flowers open. In Ancient Rome, Pliny recommended honeysuckle with wine for spleen disorders.
Honeysuckle is considered one of the 50 Fundamental Herbs in Chinese herbology. It is listed in the Tang Ben Cao, written in 659 CE, and remains one of the most important herbs in Chinese herbology for Clearing Wind Heat and poisons from the body. An intravenous preparation that includes honeysuckle has been used to safely treat children for up to 7 days.
The berries of honeysuckle (L. periclymenum), Japanese honeysuckle (L. japonica), and sweet berry honeysuckle (L. caerulea), are safe to eat. Not all varieties have edible berries. The North American red or coral honeysuckle (L. sempervirens), the dwarf honeysuckle (Diervilla lonicera), and Tartarian honeysuckle (Lonicera tatarica) are examples of honeysuckle plants with highly toxic berries. In Traditional Chinese Medicine the berries of L. japonica are known for their immune system supporting properties.
The Chinese also dried the flowers and smoked them to help fight respiratory infections, regulate immunity, and stimulate the central nervous system. Treating asthma, coughs, and congested lungs with this approach.
The Aztecs used their varietal to cure dysentery, scabies and reduce menstrual flow.
Honeysuckle stems are the part most commonly used for treating ailments, though the flowers and leaves are also sometimes used for some remedies as well. It is the stem that contains the main active ingredient, chlorogenic acid, that gives the plant its powerful antibacterial properties. Honeysuckle also contains abundant levels of isochlorogenic acid and luteolin that further support this plant’s healing properties.
It was believed in Scotland that if honeysuckle grew around the entrance of a house, witches would be prevented from entering. Bringing the flower into the home was said to bring prosperity and money. It has also been a symbol of fidelity and affection. In Victorian England, young girls were forbidden to bring honeysuckle into their homes for fear it would cause sexually suggestive dreams.
In the language of flowers, honeysuckle was taken to mean love and affection because of the plant’s tendency to cling to trees and lattices. This was felt to reflect the ardor of a weak and confiding woman.
Japanese honeysuckle was brought over to the United States as a decorative plant It was used to prevent erosion, and provide wildlife forage and cover. It is now found in many parts of the U.S., although it cannot survive extremely low temperatures and needs precipitation.
Coral or red honeysuckle (L. sempervirens) is native to the North America. Like the Chinese, Native Americans would dry and smoke the flowers to treat asthma. They would also chew the leaves and apply them to bee stings. The leaves were also used to make a tea for treating coughs and sore throats.
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Honeysuckle, also known as “woodbine,” is not to be confused with American Ivy, Gelsemium, or Clematis Virginiana, all also known as “woodbine.”
Puddings and Syrups
Honeysuckle leaves are a favorite food of goats, hence the Latin family name, Caprifolium, meaning goat’s leaf.
How to use Honeysuckle (Jin Yin Hua) and take FULL advantage of it's healing powers!
Find out how to safely use this powerful herb and get specific recipes you can make use of immediately. Dive deep into Eastern and Western perspectives about HOW and WHY this herb works. Includes uses, benefits, essential oils, gardening tips, and much, much more.
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