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What is Honeysuckle? Benefits, Uses and Possible Risks

Lonicera or honeysuckle is the name given to a genus of plants with more than 500 species. In general, they are characterized by being climbing shrubs with flowers with a sweet aroma, similar to a perfume.

Among the best-known species is the Japanese honeysuckle (Lonicera japonica), used in traditional Chinese and Japanese medicine for centuries. The flowers and extracts of this species are often ingested or applied to the skin to reduce inflammation. However, this is an untested use.

Benefits and Uses of Honeysuckle

In the kitchen, these plants have also earned a place. Especially in the production of teas and syrups. Likewise, they are a good substitute for sugar. We show you in detail its uses and benefits.

1. Natural antioxidant

First of all, it is necessary to clarify that not all Lonicera berries are suitable for human consumption. However, there is scientific evidence that blue honeysuckle berries (Lonicera caerulea) can be consumed and are rich in antioxidants.

2. Anti-inflammatory properties

According to research published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, blue honeysuckle berries contain polyphenols, compounds that can enhance the inflammatory response and reduce the development of diseases associated with chronic inflammation.

3. Strengthens the immune system

There is scientific evidence that Japanese honeysuckle berries can improve immune system function. In the study, they acted as immunomodulators and stimulated the activity of killer cells, also called NK or natural killers. They are responsible for destroying viruses and tumor cells.

4. Contributes to the treatment of type 2 diabetes

In a study in rodents with type 2 diabetes, 100 milligrams of Lonicera japonica were administered per kilogram of weight for 4 weeks. This lowered blood sugar levels as well as insulin resistance. However, human research is needed to certify these effects.

5. Could be a natural remedy for arthritis

A study published in Journal of Functional Foods found that administering blue honeysuckle extract rodents with induced arthritis stops the production of inflammatory enzymes. Likewise, higher amounts of enzymes with an antioxidant effect that are beneficial were observed.

Finally, liver enzymes known as transaminases, which are usually elevated in patients with different types of arthritis, were suppressed. Among them, the rheumatoid and psoriatic variants.

Other uses and possible benefits of honeysuckle

In addition to the above, plants of the genus Lonicera could also be used for the following:

  • Create a homemade mouthwash: This genus is attributed astringent and antibacterial properties. Therefore, it is usually an ingredient in natural mouthwashes. If you want to create your own, boil 2 cups of water with 1/2 cup of fresh leaves. Then cook over low heat for 5 minutes and, when it has cooled, proceed to gargle.
  • You could use it as perfume: although it is difficult to find pure essential oil of honeysuckle, if you manage to do it you can use it to perfume yourself or scent areas of the home.

Risks and recommendations for use

Although they are considered safe, you must remember that some species of honeysuckle are poisonous and their excessive consumption can trigger serious diseases.

On the other hand, keep in mind that some species of these plants come from other continents. And in some places they are seen as invasive, since they displace other plants. An example of this is the Lonicera japonica, which grows and squeezes the trunk of the trees until it causes death.

Honeysuckle: a varied and beneficial genus for health

Species of this genus of plants are noted for their contributions to health. From acting as natural antioxidants and anti-inflammatories to strengthening the immune system and tackling type 2 diabetes. However, consider that not all are edible; some are poisonous and in excess can have serious consequences.

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