enchanting honeysuckle, stormy spring

sun sets on today's honeysuckle harvest

i have found myself just a bit obsessed with honeysuckle-lonicera japonica. it is a viney shrub in the caprifoliacae family which also includes two big favorites viburnum (black haw! crampbark!) and sambucus (elder!)

the flower has a smell which could only be described as intoxicating, somewhat like jasmine but more subtle and it really gets you when you are surrounded by a sea of the short-lived flowers just literally buzzing with honeybees dripping with pollen, a warm breezy spring air inducing  “forager’s drunkenness”….

honeysuckle before the big storm

i collect the flowers and dry them or tincture them for use in treating  flus, colds, fevers. i feel they are similar to elder flowers. there is not much information on the medicnal use of honeysuckle. the peterson guide by steven foster and james duke says:

“widely used in prescriptions and patent medicines in tcm to treat colds and flu.”

“flowers contain at least a dozen antiviral compounds.”

they suggest use in antibiotic-resistant “superbugs”.

the wonderful american extra pharmacoepia by david winston lists honeysuckle flower as:

“bitter/sweet, cold/dry”

and under uses: “antibacterial, enteritis, anti-inflammaory, antipyretic, pneumonia, acute mastitis”

i have yet to use the bark or leaf. i would be comletely delighted to see how others are using this abundant plant sometimes called “noxious weed” by those who believe in noxiousness.

i also have infused the flower in raw honey and some in oil to try medicinal honeys, massage oils and salves.

please do share your experiences with this exciting and i think misunderstood plant!

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