Honeysuckle Flower & Licorice Root – Cleansing Drink


  • 1 handful of ‘Jin Yin Hua’ honeysuckle flowers (Flos Lonicere)
  • 1/2 handful of ‘Gan Cao’ Licorice root (Radix Glycyrrhizae)

‘Jin Yin Hua’ Honeysuckle

Put the above herbs into non-metal pan, add 5 cups of water and soak 10-15 minutes to soften the herbs and prepare them to release their medicine. Bring to a boil. Then, turn flame to low and simmer for 35 minutes. Strain the tea and drink 1 cup (1/2 c/ for children) twice daily. Drink tea warm. Herbs can be used again.

This is a good summer time drink.  Both Licorice and honeysuckle are sweet in taste.

Medicinal Properties:

Honeysuckle Flower

In addition to being sweet, honeysuckle flower is cold in nature and is useful in treating all types of heat.  It can treat ‘summerheat’ symptoms (thirst, headache, sweating, heat stroke, etc.).  Honeysuckle works like a natural, herbal antibiotic to fight infection.  This flower also can detoxify and reduce inflammation.  Honeysuckle has antimicrobial effects against many pathogenic bacteria including Salmonella, Staphylococcus, Streptococcus and  Pseudomonas.  Honeysuckle is also antiviral and has been show to deactivate the PR8 strain of the influenza virus.  This flower is useful in cases of:

  • infection (common colds, bronchitis, pneumonia, etc.)
  • fever
  • skin conditions (hot & painful sores with or without pus, swellings, pimples, carbuncles, mastitis)
  • sore throat
  • food poisoning
  • dysentery
  • urinary tract infections

Licorice Root

Licorice is sweet and neutral in temperature.  It is quite good at detoxifying and cleaning the body in a wide variety of situations,

‘Gan Cao’ Licorice Root


  • sorethroat
  • skin sores
  • burns
  • food poisoning
  • mild infections
  • toxicity

Licorice helps the body detoxify from pesticides taken in through non-organic foods and other types of environmental toxins (heavy metals, herbicides, drugs).  Licorice also works on the channels of the Lungs (Metal element) and Spleen (Earth element).  It can calm the lungs and stop coughing & wheezing, and it can mildly strengthen the digestive energy (loose stools, palpitations and fatigue).  Since the earth element controls the muscles, Licorice root has an analgesic pain-relieving effect upon muscles. It is combined with peony root ‘Shao Yao’ to treat musculoskeletal pain, spasms & cramps (leg pain, etc.) or pain & cramping of smooth muscles (abdominal, epigastric pains, etc.).


A caution is not to use high doses of licorice of cases of:

  • high blood pressure
  • kidney disorders
  • edema
  • congestive heart failure
  • hypokalemia (low potassium electrolytes)

In such cases, licorice root should not be used regularly or long term (more than a week) because it can cause a little water retention which can increase the imbalance of these conditions.


Honeysuckle and licorice are both important, common herbs with cleaning and clearing properties.  I have them in jars as part of my home pharmacy and use them regularly – either internally (as steeping tea or with decoctions) or externally (compresses, soaks, steams).  I often combine Honeysuckle ‘Jin Yin Hua’ with chrysanthemum ‘Ju Hua’, which is another flower that has antibiotic properties.  The two flowers together are usually my first choice in home antibiotic care for mild situations.  Often I will prepare the two as an external soak for an injured finger or other infected area.

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  1. Would this drink be ok for someone who is prone to spleen deficiency but with heat signs?

    Comment by Melissa Kordea — March 20, 2013 @ 8:13 pm

  2. Melissa: The licorice will protect the belly, so if the heat signs match honeysuckle then yes, you could. Probably best to keep the dose of Jin Yin Hua low and the dose of Gan Cao higher at first to see how that goes.

    Comment by Lana — March 21, 2013 @ 9:21 am

  3. This makes me excited to bring in the Springtime Detox made with Lu Dou (instead of Jin Yin Hua) and Gan Cao.

    Comment by Diana Rogers — April 7, 2013 @ 10:07 am

  4. When you say don’t use high doses of Gan Cao (licorice root) in cases of kidney disorders do you just mean Western kidney disorders, or are you also referring to TCM Kidney disorders such as Kidney Yin Deficiency?

    Comment by Cynthia Lester — April 9, 2013 @ 10:56 pm

  5. Licorice bad for people with High high blood pressure . The night my mother had a stroke , she also had a large amount of licorice roots with some other herbs . . Be aware .

    Comment by Sai Houston — May 31, 2013 @ 1:27 pm

  6. My weakness is ice cream, and I recently found a recipe for honeysuckle sorbet. It calls for 5 2/3 cups of cool water, 4 cups of honeysuckle blossoms, 2 cups of sugar (which i assume can be substituted), 1 2/3 cups of water, a few drops of lemon juice and a dusting of cinnamon. It sounds delicious, but I wonder if it may be too cooling in this form?

    Comment by Kim O'Berry — August 7, 2013 @ 4:44 pm

  7. Honeysuckle is energetically cooling and would be also be thermally cold when made frozen. Using ‘Vietnamese’ cinnamon in the recipe would help to balance out the cold temperature, and protect the spleen which likes warmth to digest well.

    Comment by Lana — August 8, 2013 @ 3:29 pm

  8. I used Jin Yin Hua for an eye infection this year as a poultice. It felt really nice and cooling to the eye which was quite stressed with heat and irritation. Great to have remedies found just outside.

    Comment by Katherine Williamson — August 9, 2013 @ 9:54 am

  9. I was so amazed by Sai’s pictures of using honeysuckle on her infection on her face…..have to learn more about it.

    Comment by Jodi Host — October 29, 2013 @ 10:36 pm

  10. I just picked up some jin yin hua on our field trip, my first time in Chinatown. Excited to start using it!

    Comment by Kim O'Berry — December 6, 2013 @ 4:09 pm

  11. I love the honeysuckle, such a cooling and calming herb. Much tastier than cranberry concentrate for UTIs!

    Comment by binyamina — December 14, 2015 @ 1:58 pm

  12. I like to mix tea leaves with ju hua (1:1) to cut the caffeine and be happy. -) Mixing the tea leaves with Jin Yin Hua and Gan Cao sounds like a nice alternative!

    Comment by Cali James — April 13, 2017 @ 8:04 am

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