Botanical Name: Lonicera japonica Thunb.
Species: L. japonica
Other names: Japanese honeysuckle, madreselva, Chin Yin Hua, Chin Yin T’Eng, Honeysuckle, Jen Tung, Jen Tung Chiu, Jen Tung Kao, Sui-Kazura, Yin Hua, Hall’s Honeysuckle, White honeysuckle, Chinese honeysuckle, Halliana
The Japanese Honeysuckle (Lonicera japonica; Suikazura in Japanese) is a species of honeysuckle native to eastern Asia including Japan, Korea, northern and eastern China, and Taiwan, which is a major invasive species in North America. In USA it is distributed from Pennsylvania and West Virginia west to Missouri, Kansas, and Oklahoma. Widespread in the eastern and southern United States. Japanese honeysuckle is an important white-tailed deer food and is often invasive.
It is a twining vine able to climb up to 10 m high or more in trees, with opposite, simple oval leaves 3–8 cm long and 2–3 cm broad. The flowers are double-tongued, opening white and fading to yellow, and sweetly scented. The fruit is a globose dark blue berry 5–8 mm diameter containing numerous seeds. The extremely fragrant, two-lipped flowers are borne in pairs in the axils of young branches and are produced throughout the summer. Flowers range from 1 to 2 inches in length and are white with a slight purple or pink tinge when young, changing to white or yellow with age, they are edible. The fruit is a black, berrylike drupe with three to five one-seeded stones.
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Japanese honeysuckle is primarily a weed of fence rows, landscapes, nurseries, and container ornamentals. This weed is now distributed throughout the United States, but is primarily a problem in the southeastern states.
Japanese honeysuckle is separated easily from the native honeysuckle vines by its leaves. Leaves near tips of the vines of Japanese honeysuckle are opposite and not united, while leaves of native honeysuckles (3 species) are united at the base, forming a single leaf surrounding the stem. Japanese honeysuckle should be accurately identified before attempting any control measures. If identification of the species is in doubt, the plant‘s identity should be confirmed by a knowledgeable individual and/or by consulting appropriate books.
Cultivation and uses:-
Prefers partial shade to full sun and moist soil. Prune back hard in winter to prevent the build-up of woody growth, provide a trellis.This species is sold by American nurseries, often as the cultivar ‘Hall’s Prolific’ (Lonicera Japonica var. Halliana). It is an effective groundcover, and has pleasant, strong-smelling flowers. It can be cultivated by seed, cuttings, or layering. In addition, it will spread itself via shoots if given enough space to grow.
Japanese Honeysuckle has become naturalized in Argentina, Brazil, Mexico, New Zealand and much of the United States, including Hawaii, as well as a number of Pacific and Caribbean islands.
Japanese Honeysuckle is classified as a noxious weed in Illinois and Virginia. It can be controlled by cutting or burning the plant to root level and repeating at two-week intervals until nutrient reserves in the roots are depleted. It can also be controlled through annual applications of glyphosate, or through grubbing if high labor and soil destruction are not of concern. Cutting the Honeysuckle to within 5–10 cm of the ground and then applying glyphosate has proved to be doubly effective, provided that the mixture is rather concentrated (20–25%) and is applied immediately after making the cut
Japanese honeysuckle is edible and medicinal. High in Calcium, Magnesium, and Potassium, the leaves can be parboiled and eaten as a vegetable. The edible buds and flowers, made into a syrup or puddings. The entire plant has been used as an alternative medicine for thousands of years in Asia. The active constituents include calcium, elaidic-acid, hcn, inositol, linoleic-acid, lonicerin, luteolin, magnesium, myristic-acid, potassium, tannin, and zink. It is alterative, antibacterial, antiinflammatory, antispasmodic, depurative, diuretic, febrifuge, and is also used to reduce blood pressure. The stems are used internally in the treatment of acute rheumatoid arthritis, mumps and hepatitis. The stems are harvested in the autumn and winter, and are dried for later herb use. The stems and flowers are used together a medicinal infusion in the treatment of upper respiratory tract infections (including pneumonia) and dysentery. An infusion of the flower buds is used in the treatment of a wide range of ailments including syphillitic skin diseases and tumors, bacterial dysentery, colds, and enteritis. Experimentally, the flower extracts have been shown to lower blood cholesterol levels and are antibacterial, antiviral and tuberculostatic. Externally, the flowers are applied as a medicinal wash to skin inflammations, infectious rashes and sores. The flowers are harvested in early morning before they open and are dried for later herb use. This plant has become a serious weed in many areas of N. America, it might have the potential to be utilized for proven medicinal purposes. Other uses include; Ground cover, Insecticide, Basketry, vines used to make baskets. The white-flowers of cultivar ‘Halliana’ has a pronounced lemon-like perfume.
The Japanese Honeysuckle flower is of high medicinal value in traditional Chinese medicine, where it is called r?n d?ng téng ( literally “winter enduring vine”) or j?n yín hu? ( literally “gold silver flower”). Alternate Chinese names include Er Hua and Shuang Hua. It has antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties, and is used (often in combination with Forsythia suspensa) to dispel heat and remove toxins, including carbuncles, fevers, influenza and ulcers. In Korean, it is called geumeunhwa. The dried leaves are also used in traditional Chinese medicine.
Jin Yin Hua (Japanese Honeysuckle, Flos Lonicerae Japonicae) is notable for its inclusion in the traditional Chinese medicine herbal formula Honeysuckle and Forsythia Powder. In pinyin, this formula is called Yin Qiao San. Traditional indications for use of this formula include fever, headache, cough, thirst, and sore throat. For indications such as this, it is common to find Japanese Honeysuckle paired in Chinese medicine herbal formulations with Forsythia (Lian Qiao, Fructus Forsythiae Suspensae). According to Chinese medicine, these herbs, when combined, have a synergistic medicinal effect to address indications such as fever with headache and sore throat. This is why these two herbs are considered “paired herbs.”
In Chinese medicine, Jin Yin Hua is classfied with a temperature property of cold. The cold designation specifically refers to, in this case, to Jin Yin Hua’s anti-toxin, anti-bacterial, anti-pyretic, and anti-inflammatory properties. Also, according to traditional Chinese medicine, Jin Yin Hua is contraindicated for patients with medical conditions that are diagnosed as deficient and cold in nature unless combined with other herbs to balance the temperature nature of Jin Yin Hua. In layperson terms, Jin Yin Hua is used in Chinese medicine to address what are called excess heat conditions such as fevers, skin rashes, and sore throat. Excess heat conditions are essentially inflammatory processes involving heat, redness, pain, and swelling often due to external pathogenic factors such as bacteria and viruses. The cold nature of Jin Yin Hua is considered to cool the heat nature of the heat related conditions. For example, Jin Yin Hua’s antibacterial properties can help to cool a fever. In this case, the cold herb treats the heat condition. However, should a patient present with what is termed as a cold condition such as aversion to cold with cold limbs, cold and pain in the abdomen, and abdominal pain relieved by warmth, then Jin Yin Hua’s cold nature is said to be contraindicated for treating the pre-existing cold condition. Should an herbalist choose to use Jin Yin Hua in an herbal formula for a patient with a cold condition, he/she would then choose to balance the temperature of Jin Yin Hua with another herb that is warming in nature.
Disclaimer:The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplements, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.