June 01, 2010

Monthly Essentials: June

Honeysuckle is one of the oldest medicinal herbs in known history. Sometimes referred to as woodbine, European honeysuckle was once used widely to treat urinary complaints, asthma, and during childbirth. However, in traditional Chinese medicine, honeysuckle has been used medicinally for thousands of years. The first known reference to the honeysuckle plant as a medicinal plant is in the Tan Ben Cao that was written in A.D. 659. In traditional Chinese medicine, honeysuckle is considered one of the most important herbs for releasing poisons from the body and clearing heat from the body.

There are three main parts of the honeysuckle plant that are used medicinally:
the flowers, the flower buds, and the stems. The flowers are traditionally used to make syrup that has been used as an expectorant for bad coughs, asthma, and as a diuretic. The syrup from honeysuckle flowers is still used to make medicinal syrup. The flowers of the honeysuckle plant should be harvested in the summer time.

The flower buds of the honeysuckle plant are also used to make herbal remedies. In traditional Chinese medicine, the flower buds are very important. They are called jin yin hua and are used widely to treat feverish conditions. They are especially used to treat conditions that are thought to be caused by the summer heat. They are also thought to clear toxins from the body, and the "fire poisons" that may linger in the body. In traditional Chinese medicine, fire poisons are thought to be responsible for many conditions, including boils and dysentery. Honeysuckle flower buds are also thought to help alleviate the symptoms of some kinds of diarrhea. In traditional Chinese medicine, the honeysuckle flower buds are warmed and slightly stir-fried to treat diarrhea. Flower buds should also be harvested in the summer.

The stems of the honeysuckle plant are also used, especially in traditional Chinese medicine. These are alternately called jin yin teng and ren dong teng (stems and branches) and they are especially used in acupuncture medicine. They are thought to be able to remove heat from certain acupuncture meridians by stimulating the flow of energy, or qi. The stems and branches are also used in Chinese medicine to treat feverish colds and dysentery. They are also used to treat rheumatoid arthritis, and are often combined with other herbs to create a cooling remedy.

There are several applications that are created by using the honeysuckle plant. The flowers can be infused to create a hot tea that can operate as an expectorant. Honeysuckle is often combined with other herbs, including cowslip and mulberry to create a healing tea that is used to treat coughs and mild symptoms of asthma. Again, honeysuckle flowers can be made into a syrup that can be used to treat coughs. The honeysuckle flower buds can be made into a decoction that is used to treat feverish colds and sore throats. Honeysuckle flower buds can be used to make a tincture that is used by herbalists to treat gastroenteritis and diarrhea.

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