Japanese Honeysuckle

Lonicera japonica - Thunb.

Edible Uses

Edible Parts: Flowers; Leaves.

Edible Uses: Tea.

Leaves - cooked. The parboiled leaves are used as a vegetable. Some caution is advised, see notes above on toxicity. Flowers - sucked for their sweet nectar, used as a vegetable or made into a syrup and puddings. A tea is made from the leaves, buds and flowers.

Medicinal Uses

Antibacterial; Antiinflammatory; Antispasmodic; Antiviral; Depurative; Diuretic; Febrifuge; Skin; TB; VD.

The stems and flower buds are alterative, antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, antispasmodic, depurative, diuretic, febrifuge. The plant 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 use. The stems and flowers are used together as an 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 syphilitic skin diseases and tumours, bacterial dysentery, colds, enteritis, pain, swellings etc. 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 wash to skin inflammations, infectious rashes and sores. The flowers are harvested in early morning before they open and are dried for later use. The plant has a similar action to Forsythia suspensa and is usually used in combination with that species to achieve a stronger action.

Other Uses

Basketry; Ground cover; Insecticide.

A very vigorous climbing plant, it makes a good dense ground cover plant where it has the space to run over the ground but it will swamp smaller plants. The sub-species L. japonica repens is especially used for this purpose on the continent. The cultivar 'Halliana' has also been recommended. This cultivar should be clipped back severely in the spring if it gets untidy, it responds well to such conditions. Plants should be spaced about 1 metre apart each way. The plant is said to be insecticidal. The stems have been used in making baskets.