HONEYSUCKLE (jin yin hua)
A climbing plant growing to 12 ft (4 m) that is deciduous (honeysuckle, L. caprifolium) or semi evergreen (jin yin hua, L. japonica). Has paired oval leaves, yellow-orange (honeysuckle) or yellow-white (jin yin hua) tubular flowers, and red (honeysuckle) or black (jin yin hua) berries.
Woodbine or European honeysuckle (L. periclymenum) was once widely used for asthma, urinary complaints, and in childbirth. Pliny recommended it to be taken in wine for spleen disorders. Today, Chinese honeysuckle (L. japonica, or jin yin) is more likely to be used medicinally. This was first listed in the Tang Ben Cao, written in A.D. 659, and is one of the most important Chinese herbs for clearing heat and poisons from the body.
In Europe, honeysuckle has traditionally been used as a treatment for asthma and other chest conditions. Honeysuckle is one of the Bach Flower Remedies, and in this system of herbal cures it is believed to counter feelings of nostalgia and homesickness.
Honeysuckle is rarely used in contemporary Western herbal medicine. Traditional usage indicates that different parts of honeysuckle have very different therapeutic benefits. The bark is diuretic and may be taken to relieve gout, kidney stones, and liver problems. The leaves are astringent and make a good gargle and mouthwash for sore throats and canker sores. The flowers, which relieve coughs and are antispasmodic, are traditionally taken as a treatment for asthma. Jin yin hua is prescribed for an entirely different range of diseases in Chinese herbal medicine. Jin yin hua is principally employed to counter "hot" infectious disorders such as abscesses, sores, inflammation of the breasts, and dysentery. Jin yin hua is also taken to bring down fever.