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Using Honeysuckle for Food and Medicine

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Honeysuckle is a beautiful, edible, and healing wildflower. For many of us, honeysuckle may be one of the first foraged foods if only as drinking the nectar.

Honeysuckle flowers and leaves growing from a branch with text overlay.

These beautiful blossoms contain tasty culinary uses and also contain powerful medicinal. Bring some of those flowers inside and begin using honeysuckle for food and medicine with these easy ideas. 

Proper Identification First

As with any foraging adventure, proper identification is key. Most honeysuckle plants are edible and safe. However, the berries, stems, and vines of some types are toxic. Be 100% certain of the identification before ingesting.

Dehydrate Honeysuckle Blossoms

Lay the flowers out onto screens or trays and allow to dry until completely crisp. Store these dried blossoms in an airtight jar and use for tea or cooking all year long.

Honeysuckle’s Medicinal Uses

Tasty as it is, honeysuckle also has some medicinal properties. Many traditional herbalists prefer the Japanese Honeysuckle (Lonicera japonica) for medicinal purposes. In the book, Backyard Medicine, the authors suggest using Woodbine Honeysuckle (Lonicera periclymenum).

Locally, I have Orange Honeysuckle (Lonicera ciliosa). I want to use native and locally available plants whenever possible and because I knew that my local honeysuckle was edible, I decided to begin trying it out on myself for medicinal uses. I found that a glycerite made from the flowers works wonderfully as sore throat remedy.

Honeysuckle flowers submerged in vegetable glycerin in a jar.

Different types of honeysuckle have been used for everything from poultices for bruises, leaves for contraception, bark for hair growth and more

If in doubt about your locally available honeysuckle and you’re in the United States or Canada check out the Native American Ethnobotany database. It will list traditional uses and give you a way to try it out in your own home. You may find that not only are the flowers useful but so is the bark and other parts of this beautiful vine. 

Honeysuckle as Food

Honeysuckle is naturally sweet and full of amazing floral flavor making it a perfect flower to bring into the kitchen. Give it a try in these recipes:

honeysuckle vines and buds in the forest.
  • It’s never a bad idea to home brew those wildflowers into some tasty wine
  • Save the bounty of summer for winter, while also making some beautiful gifts with Honeysuckle jelly
  • Baking with flowers has become a favorite thing of mine which means this Honeysuckle & Lemon Pound Cake will be given a try very soon. 
  • Use that honeysuckle and fresh mint together in a vinaigrette dressing for those homegrown salads.
  • Cool off on a hot day with a naturally sweet iced tea by using the honeysuckle blossoms as a delightful herbal tea.

This summer admire those honeysuckle blossoms by bringing them into the kitchen. Leave some for the bees and other pollinators but do get creative by using honeysuckle for food and medicine. 

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Yuri Koudriavtsev

Sunday 20th of December 2020

Hej do you use open flowers or the buds?

Kathie Lapcevic

Sunday 20th of December 2020

You can use both.

Cat

Wednesday 10th of June 2020

Howdy!! Can i dry honeysuckle leaves for later use? Thanks😊

Kathie Lapcevic

Thursday 11th of June 2020

The leaves aren't traditionally used - just the flowers / blossoms.

Erica

Monday 4th of May 2020

Hi I was wondering what uses there are for Japanese Honeysuckle? I’m in eastern North Carolina and it is everywhere haha. I’ve dried the flowers before for loose incense mixes but never used them any other way. I know the vines where used to make baskets by the Cherokee tribes.

Kathie Lapcevic

Tuesday 5th of May 2020

You can use Japanese Honeysuckle in the same way as those mentioned here - in fact, it may be slightly more healing than my orange honeysuckle.

Brooke

Tuesday 18th of February 2020

Hi, I’m making honeysuckle syrup with dried honeysuckle. I basically take 1 part water, add honeysuckle and steep as if it were tea, and then add my sugar. What I don’t know is, how much honeysuckle should I use to really feel like I’m tapping into the health benefits. 1 teaspoon per 8 ounces hardly feels like enough since it will be consumed minimally as it is used as a sweetener. Basically- how much honeysuckle do I need to use for the potential health benefits?

Kathie Lapcevic

Wednesday 19th of February 2020

What health benefits are you seeking from honeysuckle? Let's start there - what are you using it to treat or address? Also, I'm not a doctor and everyone should truly seek trained medical advice for specific conditions.

Jacob Petersén

Monday 27th of January 2020

Hello from Sweden!

Hope all well!

Is there a specific type / spicies of honeysuckle you would recommend for edible usage? Considering flavor, fragrance and sweetness.

Very much appreciated reeding!

Best,

Jacob

Kathie Lapcevic

Tuesday 28th of January 2020

I would ask local nurseries / greenhouses for what would work best in your climate / area. There are a number of different kinds and some can be quite invasive so check with local experts.

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