Last Friday I was walking the property at Rippavilla with a group of ladies when one woman, new to middle Tennessee, asked if privet was honeysuckle. Bless her heart!
Both Privet and Honeysuckle smell heavenly, but honeysuckle has an added bonus.... it's delicious and good for you. Since I was a child, my friends in the neighborhood would ride our bikes to the antebellum stone walls lining Berry's Chapel Road that had honeysuckle growing on them. Simply pick a blossom and from the branch end, pull out the long, middle pistil. With it comes a drop of "honey."
Or, as I learned this week, you can pick the flowers to brew a tea.
Honeysuckle Tea can help as an anti-inflammatory, reducing fever, infections, and as a detox.
Honeysuckle Tea benefits….
– honeysuckle is used medicinally for treating inflammation in the body. Reducing inflammation helps:
· “hardening of the arteries” (atherosclerosis)
· high cholesterol
· heart disease and circulation problems
· insulin resistance and diabetes
· eye-related disorders, including cataracts
· allergies, asthma and hay fever
· stomach ulcers
· cognitive impairment
· viral infections
· inflammation of the prostate, bladder and ovaries
· chronic infections of the prostate
· skin disorders, including dermatitis and hives
– honeysuckle is used medicinally for relieving headaches and migraines.
– honeysuckle lowers inflammation and soothes the stomach.
– Chinese Medicine considers honeysuckle one of the best whole body detoxifiers, especially for the blood and liver.
– honeysuckle contains powerful antioxidants, it’s rich in Vitamin C and it’s a great source of Quercetin, which is an acid that fights free radicals in the body.
– not only is honeysuckle an expectorant, but it’s known as a natural antibiotic that protects against a broad spectrum of bacteria and viruses including strep, staph, salmonella, pneumonia, tuberculosis and more.
– Chinese Medicine uses honeysuckle to treat fevers.
And it is easy to make!
Gather a cup of fresh honeysuckle blossoms that are free from pesticides, herbicides, or any chemical residue. I gathered mine from my own yard. This is the white and butter-yellow variety, but the pink ones are good, too.
Press the petals to get more flowers in your cup.
Remove any leaves. I left a couple of flowers intact with a leaf for garnish.
Give them a rinse to remove any dust or stray ant that may be in your blossoms.
Depending on how strong you like your Honeysuckle Tea, you can use a 2:1 or 3:1 ratio of water to blossoms. Add a cloth napkin to the top of your pitcher and tie it on to keep little critters from spoiling you tea, and set it in the sun for 4-6 hours. If you prefer to pour warm water over the blossoms to steep, make sure it is not boiling. Boiling, even very hot, water will leach out bitterness in your blossoms. Sun brewing is best.
Once tea has steeped for 4-6 hours, remove blossoms and pour over ice. I add a squeeze of fresh lemon, a couple of mint leaves and a few drops of organic Stevia to enhance the flavor. What can I say, Southerners love their Sweet Tea!!
If all this is too complicated or if you don't have access to fresh honeysuckle vines, the dried variety is sold online and in health food stores.