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Using Honeysuckle for Food and Medicine

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Honeysuckle is a beautiful, edible, and healing flower. And one that is found in most corners of the world in some form or another.

It’s often one of the first wild edibles many of us learn to forage and eat as children. Thankfully, it’s useful in a number of different ways besides just sucking the nectar out of the fresh blossoms. 

3 images stacked in a single column. The top image is of yellow and white honeysuckle flowers on a bush. The middle image is a blue text box with the words edible & medicinal honeysuckle. The bottom image is orange honeysuckle flower hanging from a vine in the forest.

Proper Identification First

As with any foraging adventure, proper identification is key. Be 100% certain of the identification before ingesting.

Honeysuckle flowers are edible. Honeysuckle berries are often poisonous. The stems and vines may also be poisonous in some types.

When using honeysuckle stick to using the flower blossoms only and leave the rest of the plant behind. Most honeysuckle plants are edible and safe. 

Types of Honeysuckle

There are a number of different types of honeysuckle. Over 30 native varieties in the United States alone according to the Native Plant Database

Their flowers can all be used in the same way no matter the color.

Wild honeysuckle comes in a variety of colors varying between regions. Here are just a few to give you a sample:

Orange Honeysuckle (Lonicera ciliosa) is native to the western US and Canada. This is a vining plant sometimes reaching heights of 18 feet. . 

Orange honeysuckle blossoms in bloom on vines full of leaves in the forest.

Pink Honeysuckle (Lonicera hispidula) is native to the western United States and Canada. It often grows in a bush like formation but will also vine if given a support. 

Red Honeysuckle (Lonicera sempervirens) is native to much of the eastern and southern United States. It too grows on a vine. 

In the United States, many folks plant Japanese Honeysuckle (Lonicera japonica) for landscaping. This variety often grows in large bushes full of yellow and white flowers. It can be quite invasive in some locations, however; so be careful if you decide to plant this variety. 

When Does Honeysuckle Bloom?

In most cases honeysuckle blooms spring through summer depending on variety and location. 

Once you’ve identified your local honeysuckle, keep track of the bloom time and know that it will likely be the same year after year for your harvesting needs.

How to Harvest Honeysuckle

Simply cut the blossoms from the vine making sure to not cut off the end of the blossom. Try to keep the sweet nectar of the honeysuckle inside the flower.

Clusters of orange honeysuckle flowers blooming on the vine in a forest.

How to Dry Honeysuckle Flowers

Want to make honeysuckle tea in the winter? Dehydrate the flowers in season to use later.

Simply place the flowers onto wire trays and let sit out of direct sunlight until dry and brittle. This will likely take a few days, depending on humidity and warmth.

Once dry, place into airtight containers and store in a cool, dry place

Honeysuckle Benefits

Tasty as it is, honeysuckle also has some medicinal properties. 

Honeysuckle often has a cooling effect on the body making it great for hot flashes, fevers, and sunstroke. Make a simple honeysuckle tea to take advantage of these benefits.

Honeysuckle flowers submerged in vegetable glycerin in a jar.

Make a honeysuckle glycerite to soothe sore throats during cold and flu season. 

How to Eat Honeysuckle

Honeysuckle is naturally sweet and full of amazing floral flavor making it a perfect flower to bring into the kitchen. 

A teacup full of honeysuckle tea with orange blossoms floating on top, sitting on a saucer, fresh honeysuckle blossoms sitting to the right of the saucer, and a teapot behind.

Give it a try in these recipes:

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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Marva green

Monday 23rd of May 2022

I have an enormous amount how do I preserve it if I go ahead and pick it while the blooms are beautiful other than dehydrating

Kathie Lapcevic

Thursday 26th of May 2022

You can always make jelly.

Vanessa Diaz

Saturday 7th of May 2022

I purchased land about 4 years ago we're just making our entrance to a part of a land that we haven't touched. After the trees have been cleared off the land by the landowner before we purchase the land. We are now noticing a lot of medicine and herbal medicine out here. I'm in agricultural one land but this stuff grows wildly on my property. I guess I have the Japanese honeysuckle. Is growing in a big bush. I've never seen it before and two today. I'm going to harvest it and see how it goes.

Kathie Lapcevic

Wednesday 11th of May 2022

Enjoy all that!

Susan Slaughter

Thursday 22nd of July 2021

Very interesting!

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.