Japanese Honeysuckle (Lonicera japonica) is a valued medicinal plant in Japan, but is considered a serious weed in America, especially in the south, all the way up to Indiana and Massachusetts. The white sweetly scented flowers start blooming in April and finishing around July. To see what this plant looks like, click on the link at the end of this post.
In Japan, the leaves and flowers are used as a beverage tea. Floating a few honeysuckle flowers in your iced tea will boost its summertime cooling powers. Honeysuckle is known by Japanese healers for lowering body temperature. Now that's good news for a hot day!
They use dried or fresh honeysuckle flowers in tea for fevers, flu, bacterial dysentery, enteritis, and laryngitis. It is also regarded by natural healers to be an antiviral, antibacterial and a tuberculostatic, with cholesterol lowering properties.
Externally, the leaves and flowers are traditionally used as a wash for swellings, rheumatism, sores, scabies and infected boils, insect bites and stings.
FOR BUG BITES AND STINGS
For those who are new at this tincturing thing, almost all herbal tinctures are made for internal use, but PLEASE NOTE: This recipe is a rubbing alcohol preparation...it's for external use only!
Harvest a bunch of leaves, flowers and a few new green growth shoots. The best time is in mid-morning, after the dew dries and before the day heats up. Although the leaves can be harvested anytime, they reach their peak medicinal potency just before, or at the very beginning of the flowering stage.
Chop everything, and put into a blender. Add barely just enough rubbing alcohol to cover. Whiz-pulse in blender for a couple of minutes. Pour alcohol and whacked up honeysuckle into jars. Cover and keep away from light. Shake once or twice daily for two weeks or longer. Strain and pour into clean jars.
For ease of application, I like to store some of it in empty rubbing alcohol bottles, and empty well-cleaned hot sauce flip-top shaker type bottles. For longer term storage, my tincture goes into glass canning jars. Warning: this tincture will stain your clothes a lovely shade of green.
This year I'm going to "test drive" a few batches using a vinegar tincture.
For identifying photos and many other uses of Honeysuckle, see http://altnature.com/gallery/Japanese_Honeysuckle.htm
Go and be amazed.
This article and recipe is an excerpt from Mrs. Tightwad's Handbook #2: HOW TO MAKE HOME REMEDIES THAT REALLY WORK. For more information, see the left sidebar on this site: http://purecajunsunshine.blogspot.com/