Herb of the Day: Honeysuckle

( Lonicera japonica )

Parts used: Flowers
Aids with: chest colds, coughs, aches pain of flu

Medicinal uses go back in history to the first century. Plinky suggested steeping the flowers in oil, and applying the heated product to treat numbness. Gerard repeated the recipe in his Herbal of 1597. By then the honeysuckle had received its Latin name of Lonicera in honor of a German physician, Adam Lonicer 1528-86, The herbalist Culpeper described it as a hot plant and placed it under the astrological sign of cancer. He particularly recommended this for any one suffering from asthma. The flowers made a sweet tea, with along with honeysuckle syrup, treated lung complaints and asthma. Honeysuckle syrup remains a sweet tonic, but use only honeysuckle flowers from the L. periclymenum. The leaves were administered in, gargarisms, for sore throats. Both L. periclymenum and L. caprifolium contains salicylic acid, an ingredient found in the first aspirin. The seeds and flowers were prepared as a poultice to be applied as a contraceptive in folklore. Honeysuckle is not entirely a sweet and loving herb. The berries so eagerly eaten by blackbirds at the sign of autumn, are purgative in action and can be poisonous to small children. Recently, controlled does of the juice of the fruit ( a mild purgative ) have been the subject of research in treating colitis. Honeysuckle may live up to 50 years in good conditions with sandy or loamy soil. Even though honeysuckle perfume and essential oils are difficult to make, you still can enjoy their fragrance in potpourris. Before taking any herb you should seek advice .


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