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What are the Medical Uses of Japanese Honeysuckle?

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  • Written By: J.M. Densing
  • Edited By: R. Halprin
  • Last Modified Date: 05 December 2016
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Japanese Honeysuckle, scientific name Lonicera japonica, is a flowering vine that produces fragrant white blossoms and is reputed to have many medicinal uses. It is often used in traditional Chinese medicine as well as in alternative healing in other countries. It can be used alone or paired with other herbs in medicinal preparations like teas. It is said to have anti-inflammatory, anti-viral, anti-bacterial, and antipyretic properties.

Generally the flower buds from the Japanese honeysuckle alone are employed in traditional Chinese medicine, while other countries may use the flowers, stems, and leaves. For internal consumption, it can be made into an infusion, or a tea, by itself or with other useful herbs, and it can also be manufactured into a capsule form. It can also be utilized as a wash or made into a poultice for external application.

Due to its anti-inflammatory properties, Japanese honeysuckle is supposed to be useful in treating fevers, sore throats, headaches, skin irritations, and swellings. Often when the inflammation of the affected area is reduced, relief is felt quickly. The type of preparation is dependent on the ailment being treated; for example, a poultice would be used for skin irritations and an infusion would be given for a sore throat.

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There are also reputed anti-viral effects of Japanese honeysuckle. It has been used in the treatment of viral illnesses like mumps and hepatitis. Honeysuckle combined with chrysanthemum is supposed to be beneficial if taken at the first sign of a cold, and this combination is found in several traditional remedies.

Japanese honeysuckle is also purported to have powerful anti-bacterial effects. As an antibiotic in alternative medicine, it is supposed to be effective for the treatment of ailments caused by staphylococcal or streptococcal bacteria, also commonly known as staph and strep respectively. Some examples of these illnesses include upper respiratory infections, pneumonia, strep throat, and skin infections. It is also reputed to be effective against a wider spectrum of bacteria-induced illnesses such as tuberculosis, dysentery, and meningitis.

The antipyretic effect of Japanese honeysuckle means that it has cooling properties. It is supposed to increase perspiration, thus cooling the body. This could add to its perceived effectiveness against fever and the discomfort of certain skin irritations. It is also supposed to be able to remove toxins from the body by acting as a mild laxative and as a diuretic that increases urination. In this way, it assists in the body's natural cleansing process by removing built-up harmful substances.

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