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6 Science-backed Health Benefits Of Honeysuckle, Uses And Side Effects

Botanically termed as Lonicera, honeysuckle belongs to the Caprifoliaceae family. The plant produces white, yellow, orange or pink flowers and its cherry-looking berries are at times poisonous. Widely known for its medicinal properties, the leaves, seeds and flowers of the herb can benefit the human body in various ways.

Honeysuckle has a prominent place in Traditional Chinese Medicine, where it has been used for treating headache, fever, high blood sugar levels and so on [1] . The fragrant common garden plant is packed with phytochemicals, organic acids, flavonoids, and anthocyanins, as well as other antioxidant substances.

Let's get to know the different ways through which you can make use of this herb and how you can incorporate it into your routine.

Uses Of Honeysuckle

The herb is utilised for various purposes and they are as follows [2] :

  • Digestive disorders
  • Cancerous tumours
  • Constipation
  • Skin inflammation
  • Itching
  • Colds
  • Fever
  • Swelling
  • Boils
  • Sores
  • Bacterial or viral infections
  • Promoting sweating

Health Benefits Of Honeysuckle

From treating urinary disorders to managing diabetes, the health benefits possessed by the herb are many. Read on to know the way honeysuckle can benefit your body and mind [3] .

1. Boosts immunity

According to studies, the often toxic berries of the herb has proven to be beneficial in boosting your immunity. Acting as an immunomodulatory agent and also due to its anti-viral properties, honeysuckle berries aided in improving the immune system and protecting the body from infections and allergies [4] .

The herb contains powerful antioxidants, it's rich in Vitamin C and it's a great source of quercetin (an acid that fights free radicals) which contributes towards this benefit.

2. Improves oral health

The astringent and antibacterial properties possessed by the herb help improve your oral health by removing the bacteria that can cause oral problems like cavities, bad breath etc. Honeysuckle is a common ingredient in natural gargles and mouthwashes [5] .

3. Manages diabetes

According to studies, honeysuckle can help people with type 2 diabetes. The study revealed that the herb was able to decrease high levels of blood glucose levels and insulin resistance. The herb is shown to have anti-diabetic properties as well as anti-inflammatory abilities that can help to reduce the severity of diabetic nephropathy [6] .

4. Treats arthritis

The anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties possessed by honeysuckle can help individuals suffering from arthritis [7] . Studies reveal that the phenolic compounds found in the honeysuckle berries are responsible for suppressing the production of inflammatory enzymes in the spleen, thereby aiding individuals suffering from various types of arthritis, including rheumatoid arthritis and psoriatic arthritis [8] .

5. Promotes digestion

Honeysuckle extracts can help improve your digestive system and help get relief from digestion related problems such as nausea, indigestion, constipation, enteritis, and bloating [5] .

6. May prevent cancer

A great source of quercetin, an acid that fights free radicals, honeysuckle extracts are said to prevent the onset of cancer by killing off the free cancer-causing radical cells [9] . The extensive antioxidant and anti-inflammatory profile found in the flowers and berries of the plants are responsible for this benefit [10] .

Apart from these benefits, honeysuckle is also said to help eliminate inflammation in the respiratory tracts associated with bronchitis and sore throat, lower the pressure and normalize blood pressure, improve respiratory health, manage fever, flu and cold and treat skin inflammation and conditions, such as eczema, psoriasis, acne, and rosacea [11] .

Healing Honeysuckle Tea Recipe


  • 1 handful of honeysuckle flowers
  • 2 glasses of water
  • Ice for serving


  • Gently crush or bruise the honeysuckle flowers
  • Add honeysuckle flowers to a pitcher or cup
  • Add water and stir.
  • Cover it and keep it in the refrigerator overnight, or at least 6-8 hours up to 15 hours
  • Strain the flowers out
  • Add the ice cubes and enjoy!

Side Effects Of Honeysuckle

  • Individuals with bleeding disorders should not use honeysuckle as it can thin down blood.
  • The berries of most species are toxic and can cause serious gastrointestinal side effects [13] .
  • Pregnant women and lactating mothers should avoid using the herb.
View Article References
  1. [1] Wang, M. Y., Srinivasan, M., Dasari, S., Narvekar, P., Samy, A., Dontaraju, V., ... & Munirathinam, G. (2017). Antioxidant Activity of Yichun Blue Honeysuckle (YBHS) Berry Counteracts CCl4-Induced Toxicity in Liver Injury Model of Mice. Antioxidants, 6(3), 50.
  2. [2] Becker, R., & Szakiel, A. (2018). Phytochemical characteristics and potential therapeutic properties of blue honeysuckle Lonicera caerulea L.(Caprifoliaceae). Journal of Herbal Medicine.
  3. [3] Meng, X. L., Zhu, Z. X., Lu, R. H., Li, S., Hu, W. P., Qin, C. B., ... & Nie, G. X. (2019). Regulation of growth performance and lipid metabolism in juvenile grass carp (Ctenopharyngodon idella) with honeysuckle (Lonicera japonica) extract. Fish physiology and biochemistry, 1-11.
  4. [4] Oszmiański, J., & Kucharska, A. Z. (2018). Effect of pre-treatment of blue honeysuckle berries on bioactive iridoid content. Food chemistry, 240, 1087-1091.
  5. [5] Kucharska, A., Sokół-Łętowska, A., Oszmiański, J., Piórecki, N., & Fecka, I. (2017). Iridoids, phenolic compounds and antioxidant activity of edible honeysuckle berries (Lonicera caerulea var. kamtschatica Sevast.). Molecules, 22(3), 405.
  6. [6] Kucharska, A., Sokół-Łętowska, A., Oszmiański, J., Piórecki, N., & Fecka, I. (2017). Iridoids, phenolic compounds and antioxidant activity of edible honeysuckle berries (Lonicera caerulea var. kamtschatica Sevast.). Molecules, 22(3), 405.
  7. [7] Zhao, J., Lin, Y., Zhao, Y., Wang, Y., Ning, C., Ma, Y., & Meng, X. (2018). Polyphenol-rich blue honeysuckle extract alleviates silica particle-induced inflammatory responses and macrophage apoptosis via NRF2/HO-1 and MAPK signaling. Journal of functional foods, 46, 463-474.
  8. [8] Chmiel, T., Kusznierewicz, B., Namieśnik, J., Górecki, T., & Bartoszek-Pączkowska, A. (2015). Blue-berried honeysuckle a promising cancer preventing fruit; Polish genotypes as a source of bioactive phytochemicals. Acta Biochimica Polonica. Supplement, 62, 18-18.
  9. [9] Li, F., Zhao, H., Xu, R., Zhang, X., Zhang, W., Du, M., ... & Fan, L. (2019). Simultaneous optimization of the acidified water extraction for total anthocyanin content, total phenolic content, and antioxidant activity of blue honeysuckle berries (Lonicera caerulea L.) using response surface methodology. Food Science & Nutrition.
  10. [10] YU, J. X., & ZHENG, Y. Q. (2016). Study on Processing Technology of Fermented Blueberry and Honeysuckle Wine. Food Research and Development, (8), 31.
  11. [11] Oszmiański, J., Wojdyło, A., & Lachowicz, S. (2016). Effect of dried powder preparation process on polyphenolic content and antioxidant activity of blue honeysuckle berries (Lonicera caerulea L. var. kamtschatica). LWT-Food Science and Technology, 67, 214-222.
  12. [12] Park, S. I., Lee, Y. J., Choi, S. H., Park, S. J., Song, C. H., & Ku, S. K. (2016). Therapeutic effects of blue honeysuckle on lesions of hyperthyroidism in rats. The American journal of Chinese medicine, 44(07), 1441-1456.
  13. [13] Caprioli, G., Iannarelli, R., Innocenti, M., Bellumori, M., Fiorini, D., Sagratini, G., ... & Quassinti, L. (2016). Blue honeysuckle fruit (Lonicera caerulea L.) from eastern Russia: phenolic composition, nutritional value and biological activities of its polar extracts. Food & function, 7(4), 1892-1903.
Read more about: honeysuckle diabetes headache fever
Story first published: Wednesday, October 23, 2019, 19:00 [IST]
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