Honeysuckle Tea: Best Traditional Chinese Anti-inflammatory Drink

HomeTea KnowledgeHoneysuckle Tea: Best Traditional Chinese Anti-inflammatory Drink

Last Updated on 10/26/2022 by Desmond

Last Friday I ate too many fried foods at dinner. As a result, when I woke up the following day, my throat felt burning, and several acne came to my face, even a slight headache. Then I realized I am in “heat“(inflammation.) My mum said, why not having some honeysuckle tea, and then she went to the pharmacy and purchased some honeysuckle herbs.

Things went out of my expectation. My mum didn’t make the honeysuckle tea in a brewing way but cooking, just like making Traditional Chinese Medicine(TCM) so that the taste was very strong and hard to accept. Still, I took one cup. 

In the next 3 days, I made the tea in a brewing way instead; 10g dried honeysuckle divide twice for consuming every day. The symptoms were relieved gradually and finally healed on Tuesday.

Honeysuckle is a traditional herb loved by lots of Chinese families
Honeysuckle is a traditional herb loved by lots of Chinese families

You may be wondering why I bore the symptoms and drank the bad-tasting herbal tea for few days, rather than take the anti-inflammatory drug to cure it quickly.

It’s not about the distrust of modern medicine or the deep superstition of traditional Chinese medicine. Although TCM looks ancient and the folk recipes seem hard to believe, honeysuckle tea is regarded as the best herb to diminish inflammation. It had been proved by many successful cases and application experiences.

What Is Honeysuckle tea? 

Honeysuckle, Latin name Lonicera japonica Thunb. is a herb commonly seen in China, Japan, and the Korean Peninsula.

In China, honeysuckle is also called Jin(gold) Yin(silver) Hua(flower.) Because when it just blooms, it’s white like silver, and after it matures, it becomes yellow like gold. Honeysuckle was first recorded in Compendium of Materia Medica, a famous work believed by all TCM practitioners. And it also means that honeysuckle has been applied several hundred years, even more.

Worthing to know, there are two common types of honeysuckle. The one which is taken as herbal tea is yellowish-white, and the one for ornamental is magenta.

Ornamental honeysuckle is magenta and yellow
Ornamental honeysuckle is magenta and yellow

Traditionally, the Chinese dried the honeysuckle flowers to make herbal tea for taking care of their health. Because in the TCM, there is a dualistic theory about “Yin” and “Yang,” which are two opposing principles in nature. Once the balance between them breaks, and people will get sick. Most foods can be classified into “Heat” and “Cold,” some are neutral. Fried foods can make the human body get overmuch “heat” and lead to sickness. Honeysuckle tea belongs to a “cold” beverage, which can make “Yin” and “Yang” return to a balanced and cure the “heat” disease.

Not just during diseases, many Chinese will make honeysuckle tea on ordinary days with other herbs like wolfberry and chrysanthemum for detox. In the past, honeysuckle infusions are also used externally to treat skin conditions such as eczema and acne.

Main Ingredients

TCM is a folk therapy. However, most theories can be explained by modern science. As a herbal medicine with a long history, many scientists analyzed honeysuckle’s main ingredients a long time ago. They try to figure out the principle of drug action to use it more safely.

According to the related studies, scientists isolated over 140 compounds from honeysuckle. The main ingredients are essential oils, organic acids, flavones, iridoids, saponins, etc. They all can provide excellent effects on anti-inflammatory, antibiosis, and antioxidant.

The more comprehensive study of honeysuckle making it possible to be applied widely. The familiar products are facial masks and toothpaste, which with honeysuckle extractive, and take anti-inflammation as their main selling point. On the therapy of common diseases like cold and sore throat, Chinese doctors are also like using the Chinese patent medicine with honeysuckle ingredients.

Related ReadingTry These 9 Best Herbal Tea For Sore Throat Relieve.

What Is Honeysuckle Tea Good For

Making honeysuckle tea in a simple brewing way can relieve the following symptoms effectively:

  • common cold
  • constipation
  • fever
  • toothache
  • ozostomia
  • sore throat
  • acne

Of course, the tea only works when the symptoms are slight. If getting seriously ill, the only thing you should do is go to your doctor.

Suppose you are a skincare lover and pursue the natural way, then you can put the honeysuckle tea in your DIY mask as an ingredient. It can help reduce facial inflammatory and bacterial infection, and the antioxidant benefit can also slow skin aging to a certain extent. In ancient China, this method is popularly used by imperial concubines.

Typically, people having honeysuckle tea is for curing a slight inflammation
Typically, people having honeysuckle tea is for curing a slight inflammation

Potential Side Effects

In TCM view, honeysuckle tea is a “cold” beverage. Drink it often will have a harmful effect on the kidney and liver. Having it much in a short time will lead to gastrointestinal discomfort and diarrhea. Females who during a period or pregnancy also should avoid having honeysuckle tea.

Is DIY Dried Honeysuckle a Good Idea?

Honeysuckle is an ordinary herb, and you can even found it in your garden or the roadside. So, can we pick them up and dry them for making herbal tea?

It’s not recommended to do this. Because their exact classification is hard to distinguish, and you can’t make sure whether pesticides had polluted them.

Suppose you want to try honeysuckle tea, experience its benefits and flavor. In that case, you can buy them in TCM pharmacies or online stores easily. 

But one thing you should pay attention to when you are buying online. There is a kind of green tea which also called honeysuckle tea. Because honeysuckle has a charming fresh fragrance, people usually process the green tea with it in a scenting way, like the jasmine green tea. The honeysuckle green tea benefits are not as significant. And due to green tea is a true tea that contains caffeine, which will lead to insomnia.

Dried honeysuckle sends out a fresh fragrance
Dried honeysuckle sends out a fresh fragrance

Honeysuckle Tea Flavor and How To Make It Tastes Better

Dried honeysuckle tea shows yellow-green, chubby strips, with a strange sweet cloying fragrance. The infusion after brewed shows soft yellow, clear and bright, the smell becomes not so much obvious.

Have a sip, it tastes weak, with a little imperceptible bitterness. What full your mouth is a stronger, ripe gain-like aroma, and that strange sweet cloying smell. Some people may love this flavor, but someone also thinks it’s revolting. Especially making the infusion as my mum did – in a cooking way, the color will show darker, and the flavor will become more robust and hard to accept.

Making honeysuckle infusion in a cooking way will get a very hard-accepted taste
Making honeysuckle infusion in a cooking way will get a very hard-accepted taste

Having it as tea but not TCM, a few grams of dried honeysuckle is all enough for a 300ml cup. The brewing water is best to be at 100℃ so that can let the effective ingredients release better. Another, due to it being a “cold” plant, it’s not suitable to make it into a cold drink; or it will increase the body’s burden in TCM view.

After having a cup of honeysuckle tea, a cool feeling will be left in the oral, and slight sweetness. If you got an oral inflammatory, you would feel much better after drinking it.

Most of the time, people get used to making honeysuckle tea with other herbs to increase the benefits and taste better. The common collocations are:

  • wolfberry
  • chrysanthemum
  • Radix Ophiopogonis
  • scaphium scaphigerum
  • dried rose
  • fructus crataegi
Making honeysuckle tea with other sweet herbs will taste much better
Making honeysuckle tea with other sweet herbs will taste much better

These herbs can provide a more pleasant sweetness and tart flavor, help remove the strange taste of honeysuckle and bring more health benefits. In TCM’s view, they can also neutralize the “cold” of honeysuckle. Some people may love to add sugar and honey for flavoring; that’s OK, but I thought the taste would become more strange.


Lonicera japonica Thunb.: Ethnopharmacology, phytochemistry and pharmacology of an important traditional Chinese medicine;

HONEYSUCKLE: Overview, Uses, Side Effects, Precautions, Interactions, Dosing and Reviews;

Just a tea lover. Like to try different types of tea. Do not matter if the brewing is perfect, only enjoy the various charming taste.


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