Blue Honeysuckle – The latest craze?

February 8, 2009


The natural health world never stands still; in fact it is always out there searching for the next big craze. This time around it looks to be a Russian plant that was first reported on late last year in the journal Molecules, and in other research papers since. It’s remarkable because it produces blue honeysuckle berries that not only taste good but have a host of health benefits too, Gardeners might like to know it’s botanical name which is Lonicera caerulea, and the fruits tastes like a hybrid of blackberry and blueberry and are very high in vitamin C and bioactive flavonoids.

When analysed the berries were found to have antioxidant, anti-platelet, and wound healing abilities and several valuable flavonoids as well. Particularly important is epicatechin which has a role to play in the prevention of some of the largest causes of death, including cancer, strokes and heart failure. This is closely followed by rutin, which is valued for its ability to fight cancer, help keep skin younger and reduce inflammation.

Free radical damage is what the flavonoid quercetin is able to reduce and help to prevent damage to our cellular structure. This means it can keep our hearts healthy and help maintain the health of our lungs and respiratory system. Combats cancer, alleviates bruising and varicose veins, enhances cardiovascular health, prevents oxidation of cholesterol, and also can improve both lung health and respiration.

These are just some of the flavonoids that have been identified in blue honeysuckle and others have been shown by researchers to fight free radicals, have powerful antioxidant qualities, regularise blood pressure and support the nervous system. There is even more, as a recent study using the dried fruit was shown to be effective against intestinal parasites in conditions like E. Coli, Streptococcus and Candida.

All this, and they apparently taste good too. Sounds like a definite winner to add to your morning muesli or as a healthy snack. They are available in the USA, and the dried form can be bought online but I haven’t seen any of the actual fruits in the UK yet. Do let me know if you come across them because planting a bush and harvesting your own fruit will require some patience as it takes around four years.


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