Other names: Dutch Honeysuckle, Goats’ Leaf,
Habitat: Europe, including Britain, from Scandanavia south and east to N. Africa and Greece. Woods, hedgerows, scrub and shady places, avoiding calcareous soils.
There are over a hundred different varieties of Honeysuckle and though it was once widely used as a medicinal herb it has fallen from use. It was once used to treat disorders of the liver and spleen although it is better known to day as a remedy against colds and bronchial conditions which are accompanied by fever. Honeysuckle is used by herbalists to clear away toxic substances, also to kill or inhibit the action of germs. It is used to cool & reduce fever and heat. It reduces ulcers, sore throat, skin infections and clears the lungs & strengthens general health. Because it is a natural antibiotic, honeysuckle can also be used for infections caused by staph or strep bacteria. Honeysuckle should be used for acute illnesses. It is not meant to be used in the treatment of chronic conditions. There has been a great deal of interest in the Polish and Russian varieties which have had a lot of research done on them as they may be beneficial in the treatment of cancer, diabetes mellitus, tumour growth or cardiovascular and neurodegenerative diseases due to their antioxidant qualities.
Description of Honeysuckle:
Lonicera periclymenum; Honeysuckle is a deciduous Climber growing to 4.5 m (14ft 9in) at a medium rate.
It is hardy to zone 4 and is not frost tender. It is in flower from Jun to August, and the seeds ripen from Jul to October. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Bees, lepidoptera, self.The plant is self-fertile.
It is noted for attracting wildlife.
Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils. Suitable pH: acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils and can grow in very acid and very alkaline soils.
It can grow in full shade (deep woodland) semi-shade (light woodland) or no shade. It prefers moist soil and can tolerate drought.
Cultivation of Honeysuckle:
Succeeds in most soils from acid to base-rich. Prefers its roots in the shade with its shoots climbing up into the sun. Plants succeed even in quite deep shade. Established plants are fairly drought tolerant. Plants are hardy to about -20°c. A very ornamental plant, there are a number of named varieties. The flowers are very fragrant, especially in the evening when it attracts pollinating moths. New leaves often start to open in January with well-grown leaves in April. The leaves fall in November. Twining plants, they can bind themselves so tightly round young trees that they can prevent the trunk from being able to expand. A very good moth and butterfly plant, it is also an important food for many caterpillars including the larvae of the rare white admiral butterfly. The dense growth of the plant offers good nesting possibilities for birds.
Propagation of Honeysuckle:
Seed – best sown as soon as it is ripe in a cold frame. Stored seed requires 2 months cold stratification and should be sown as soon as possible in a cold frame. When they are large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and grow them on in the greenhouse for their first winter. Plant them out into their permanent positions in late spring or early summer, after the last expected frosts. Cuttings of half-ripe wood, 7 – 10cm with or without a heel, July/August in a frame. Good percentage. Cuttings of mature wood of the current season’s growth, 15 – 20cm with or without a heel, November in a cold frame. Good percentage. Layering in autumn.
Culinary uses of Honeysuckle:
Edible Parts: Nectar
Children (of all ages) suck the base of the flowers to extract the nectar.
Antispasmodic, Astringent, Cathartic, Depurative, Diaphoretic, Diuretic, Emetic, Expectorant, Febrifuge, Laxative, Mouthwash, Skin, Vulnerary
Part used: Flowers, leaves and bark
This medicinal herb has expectorant and laxative properties it was once widely used but it has fallen from favour. A syrup made from the flowers has been used in the treatment of respiratory diseases whilst a decoction of the leaves is considered beneficial in treating diseases of the liver and spleen. It is used as a mouthwash for ulcers and is considered to be a good ingredient in gargles. The flowers are antispasmodic, astringent, diuretic, expectorant, febrifuge and sudorific. The fruit is emetic and cathartic. The herbage is used as a cutaneous and mucous tonic and as a vulnerary. It is also diaphoretic. The leaves are laxative and slightly astringent. The seed is diuretic. The bark is anticatarrhal, depurative, diuretic and sudorific. It makes an excellent part of a cough remedy syrup. Because it is a natural antibiotic, honeysuckle can also be used for infections caused by staph or strep bacteria. Honeysuckle should be used for acute illnesses. It is not meant to be used in the treatment of chronic conditions
- Waller says: ‘The leaves and flowers of Honeysuckle are possessed of diuretic and sudorific properties,’ and adds:’a decoction of the flowers has been celebrated as an excellent antispasmodic and recommended in asthma of the nervous kind. An elegant water may be distilled from these flowers, which has been recommended for nervous headache.’
- Gerard says: ‘The Honeysuckle is “neither cold nor binding, but hot and attenuating or making thin.” ‘ He quotes Dioscorides as saying that:
- ‘the ripe seed gathered and dried in the shadow and drunk for four days together, doth waste and consume away the hardness of the spleen and removeth wearisomeness, helpeth the shortness and difficulty of breathing, cureth the hicket (hiccough), etc.A syrup made of the flowers is good to be drunk against diseases of the lungs and spleen.’
- Dosage and Preparation of Honeysuckle:
- 10-15ml of dried herb covered in boiling water and left for 10-15 mins this tea to be drunk three times a day.
- Combinations: The flowers can be infused to create a hot tea that can be used as an expectorant. Honeysuckle is often combined with other herbs (including cowslip & mulberry) to create a tea that is used to treat coughs & mild symptoms of asthma.
Other uses of Honeysuckle:
A climbing plant, it can be allowed to scramble on the ground where it makes a good ground cover. Plants should be spaced about 1.2 metres apart each way.
Esoteric uses of Honeysuckle:
Draws money, success, and quick abundance; Aids persuasiveness and confidence, sharpens intuition. Ring green candles with honeysuckle flowers or use honeysuckle in charms & sachets to attract money. Crush the flowers and rub into the forehead to enhance psychic powers.
The major classes of phenolic compounds in the blue berried honeysuckle are flavonols (quercetin, rutin, quercitrin) and flavanes (proanthocyanidins, catechins) and anthocyanins. Cyanidin-3-glucoside and cyanidin-3-rutinoside are considered as major anthocyanidins in edible honeysuckle berries. Such a high level of antioxidant activity in the berries of different species of the genus Lonicera is especially due to the high level of polyphenolic compounds, especially anthocyanins. These berries seem to be prospective sources of health-supporting phytochemicals that exhibit beneficial anti-adherence and chemo-protective activities, thus they may provide protection against a number of chronic conditions, e.g., cancer, diabetes mellitus, tumour growth or cardiovascular and neurodegenerative diseases. (taken from pub med PMID: 22269864 )