Honeysuckle

Honeysuckle

lonicera japonica

  • Plant type: Perennial
  • Other names:
  • Medicinal: No
  • Culinary: No
  • Ceremonial: No
  • Parts Used:
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About Honeysuckle

Honeysuckle is one of the most versatile ornamental vines. This evergreen, woody plant resides in the Caprifoliaceae family. It is known to produce heavenly vanilla-scented flowers that are initially but fade to yellow in spring. Its leaves are oval-shaped and are arranged in the opposite fashion.

The twining vine of honeysuckle is further divided into three subspecies on the basis of their distribution, a number of chromosomes, and color of the corolla.

  • 1.     Lonicera japonica var. chinensis
  • 2.     Lonicera japonica var. japonica
  • 3.     Lonicera japonica var. miyagusukiana

Honeysuckle vine can climb more than 30 ft. The honeysuckle berries are employed medicinally to support the treatment of respiratory tract infections (cold, cough, influenza, pneumonia, and swine flu), digestive tract disorders (gastroenteritis, diarrhea, and dysentery), fever, bacterial infections, viral infections, encephalitis, and boils.

The honeysuckle berries can sometimes prove to be toxic but not fatal. They might give a kid a slight stomach ache or diarrhea. However, consuming the honeysuckle berries in extremely large amounts can subject the consumer to respiratory failure, convulsions, and ultimately coma.

Honeysuckle is full of flavonoids, organic acids, saponins, and volatile oils. These biologically active ingredients are held responsible for the medicinal activity of honeysuckle.

Growing

Honeysuckle is advised to be started in early spring when all the dangers of frost have surpassed. A well-drained, rich soil and moist soil with a sunny location is the perfect recipe for a booming growth of the honeysuckle plant. It can be grown indoors too but the location provided to the pot must be sunny.

Soil pH which ranges from 5.5 to 8.0 suits perfectly for the growth of vine. It is preferred to install some support or plant the vine against some wall to help it climb up and flourish.

Honeysuckle vine grows at a fast pace. It germinates within 15 to 21 days and the seeds soon become seedlings. The vine climbs up and flourishes but it enters the optimal blooming phase in its third year.

With the advent of fortunate spring comes the blooming phase of honeysuckle as it gives out beautiful white flowers that fill the air with a warm vanilla scent. The trumpet-shaped flowers attract hummingbirds and butterflies for pollination in return for nectar.

The pollination is followed by the fertilization and formation of berries during fall. These berries bear seeds that further get dispersed by animals to carry on with the lifecycle of honeysuckle.

Harvesting

Honeysuckle flower buds and young flowers are harvested in the early morning .i.e. when they are about to open. The honeysuckle berries are ready to be picked in fall. The flesh of the berry is checked. It must be purplish-red as green ones are quite sour and under-ripe.

The flowers, leaves, and berries of honeysuckle vines are harvested either by hand or by using gardening shears.

Honeysuckle blossoms can be dehydrated or dried in the air until they are crispy and stored in an airtight container for later use. The berries are eaten fresh but they are usually prohibited because of their toxic nature.

Usage

Honeysuckle blossoms are used fervently in making medicinal preparations.

  • Tincture - Infuse freshly chopped honeysuckle flowers in grain alcohol for 4 to 6 weeks. Strain the liquid and place it in a dark and dry place.
  • Tea - Fresh or dried honeysuckle blossoms are soaked in water with some honey for 20 minutes and ingested.
  • Decoction - Dried honeysuckle blossoms with stems are decocted in 1-quart water until half of the volume reduces.
  • Salve - Honeysuckle blossom infused oil is combined with rose oil and beeswax pellets to make a salve.
  • Syrup - Honeysuckle blossoms are simmered in sugar solution for half an hour, strained, and transferred to a glass bottle.
  • Infused oil - A handful of honeysuckle flowers are topped with heated olive oil for 6 to 8 weeks. After the completion of time period, the oil is strained and bottled up.