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Honeysuckle flowers (Lonicera japonica)Latin Name: Lonicera japonica
Common Names: Honeysuckle flowers
Lonicera japonica is the botanical name of a flower that, for all its usefulness as one of many wildcrafted herbs, is considered an invasive weed by many gardeners. Honeysuckle flowers come from over 180 different species, however, lonicera japonica, or “Japanese Honeysuckle” is one of the most common of these herbs. This particular species is native to Manchuria, Korea and Japan.
Despite the fact that it is an irritant to some gardeners, cut honeysuckle flowers are edible and tasty in a salad made from organic herbs and greens; by removing the blossom, one can extract a sweet-tasting nectar that is used to add flavor to wine, sugar syrups and even ice cream and sherbet.
In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), dried honeysuckle flowers are known as lin dong tang, which is Mandarin for “vine that lasts through the winter.” Such natural herbs are believed in TCM to have both anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial properties; TCM practitioners often combine it with forsythia and other bulk herbs in order to detoxify the body. TCM practitioners regard medicinal herbs like powder honeysuckle flowers as having a “yin” nature, and therefore advise that it be avoided by individuals who suffer from digestive disorders.
Although TCM is thousands of years old, the properties ascribed to lonicera japonica by TCM practitioners have not been proven by Western science and are not endorsed by the FDA. People considering the use of honeysuckle flowers or any other organic bulk herbs for therapeutic use should seek the advice and guidance of a licensed herbalist or qualified naturopath.
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