Botanical: Lonicera japonica (Japanese)
Family: Caprifoliaceae (honeysuckle)
Other common names: Japanese Honeysuckle, Woodbine, Hall's Honeysuckle, Goat's Leaf,
Honeysuckle has been used to purify the system and stimulate the efficient removal of waste products from the body. As such, it helps to cleanse toxins from the blood, intestinal system, liver and urinary tract. Often used in Traditional Chinese Medicine, Honeysuckle has been known to fight infection, lower fevers, as well as enhance the immune system. Important recent research shows promise in the fight against malignant diseases, HIV and other viruses.
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Honeysuckle is a trailing evergreen or partial evergreen, depending upon its range; in its southern ranges, it is totally evergreen, and in the more northerly climes, it tends to produce partial evergreen leaves and fragrant white flowers that yellow with age. This trailing vine bears hollow stems with long, light green, ovate leaves, growing vigorously through canopy trees, reaching a height of twenty feet and ultimately killing the host tree. However, it may also be found growing in fields, disturbed woods, flood plains, urban areas and on forest edges. In other words, it is a very hardy perennial that is even considered an invasive, noxious weed in many states, and its range is constantly expanding farther north, because it is so easily adaptable. Japanese Honeysuckle is an Asian native, originating in Japan and Korea, and has been introduced to the United States and other parts of the world, where there is wide distribution throughout Europe, South America, Hong Kong and where hundreds of other Honeysuckle species grow (including Lonicera caprifolium in Italy and the Netherlands). If you have ever seen children suck the sweet nectar from Honeysuckle flowers, it will be easy to understand how the plant's English name arose. The botanical family, Caprifoliaceae, is derived from two Latin words that mean "goats' leaves," reflecting the fact that this plant was a favorite food of goats and giving rise to one of Honeysuckle's common names, Goat's Leaf. The plant's botanical genus, Lonicera, was given to it by the eminent Swedish botanist, Carolus Linnaeus (1707-1778), in honor of Adam Lonicer, a physician, author and naturalist born in 1528. Honeysuckle has been used for centuries in herbal medicine to treat a wide variety of ailments, mostly to cool and cleanse the body of impurities in the blood, bowel and urinary system, and it is often used in combination with other herbs in order to enhance the efficacy of both. Modern research shows promise in the areas of antiviral treatment, immune enhancement and pain relief. Some of the constituents in Honeysuckle include tannins, essential oils, monoterpenoids, sesquiterpenoids, saponins, salicylic acid, linalool, geraniol, eugenol, iridoid glycosides and ochnaflavone.
Honeysuckle has been used for centuries as an "alterative," or substance that cleanses the system and stimulates the efficient removal of waste products from the body. As such, it cleanses toxins from the blood, intestinal system and liver. It is considered a mild laxative that gently stimulates bowel movement (removing waste), as well as a diuretic that promotes urine flow (further removing impurities and toxins through the urinary tract). Both of these actions continue to support Honeysuckle's purifying applications.
As an antipyretic and diaphoretic, Honeysuckle has been used in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) as a bittersweet herb that clears heat and poisons from the system. By promoting perspiration, the herb cools the body, reduces fevers and yet again clears toxins from the body through the skin.
Honeysuckle contains a recently isolated constituent called ochnaflavone, and in laboratory tests, this substance has demonstrated excellent antiviral properties, which have been effective in treating viral myocarditis (in conjunction with other herbs), Coxsakie B-3 virus and have also been shown to inhibit HIV in mice. Hopefully, these studies will produce positive future results for general use.
One of Honeysuckle's constituents, salicylic acid, is the natural forerunner of aspirin and has, therefore, made the herb useful in easing painful headaches and the inflammation and pain of aching joints.
Recent studies have also shown a favorable outlook with respect to Honeysuckle's ability to strengthen the immune system. In tests, it appears that the herb promotes the production of natural interferon, which is thought to increase the function of natural killer cells (NKs), which regulate immunity. This may be of great value in future treatment against certain malignant diseases.
Honeysuckle is considered an antibiotic that combats infection both internally and externally, and has been used to combat tuberculosis, ease sore throat, skin rashes and blemishes.
Pregnant and nursing women should not use Honeysuckle Herbal Supplement.