English: Honeysuckle flowers

Chinese: 金银花

Parts used: Dried flower bud

TCM category: Herbs that clear Heat and relieve Toxicity

TCM nature: Cold

TCM taste(s): Sweet

Organ affinity: Heart Lung Stomach

Scientific name: Lonicera japonica

Other names: Golden-and-silver honeysuckle, Japanese honeysuckle

Use of Jin Yin Hua (honeysuckle flowers) in TCM

Please note that you should never self-prescribe TCM ingredients. A TCM ingredient is almost never eaten on its own but as part of a formula containing several ingredients that act together. Please consult a professional TCM practitioner, they will be best able to guide you.

Preparation: Dry flower buds immediately after harvest. The temperatures should be tightly controlled: first dry at 30 - 35 °C during 2 hours, then at 40 °C for 5 - 10 hours and finally at 45 - 50 °C during 10h. During drying the flower buds shouldn't be turned around otherwise they'll turn black.

Dosage: 10 - 20g

Main actions according to TCM*: Clears Heat and dispels toxicity. Dispels Wind-Heat derived from an External pathogen. Expels Damp-Heat from the Lower Burner. Relieves Carbuncles.

Primary conditions or symptoms for which Jin Yin Hua may be prescribed by TCM doctors*: Carbuncles Boils Erysipelas Dysentery Pharyngitis Acne Tonsillitis Laryngitis Sore throat

Contraindications*: This herb should not be used by those with Deficiency in the Spleen/Stomach when there is Cold or diarrhea. It should be used carefully when there is Qi or Yin Deficiency.

Common TCM formulas in which Jin Yin Hua is used*

Wu Wei Xiao Du Yin

Source date: 1742 AD

Number of ingredients: 5 herbs

Formula key actions: Clears Heat. Resolves Toxicity. Cools the Blood. Reduces swelling.

Conditions targeted*: Multiple furunclesCarbuncles and others

Jin Yin Hua is a king ingredient in Wu Wei Xiao Du Yin. Like the name indicates, it means it has more power than other ingredients in the formula.

In Wu Wei Xiao Du Yin, Jin Yin Hua clears Heat and resolves Toxicity from both the Qi and Blood levels. It also resolves swellings. It is sweet and thus has the particular advantage of not damaging the Stomach during the treatment. 

Read more about Wu Wei Xiao Du Yin

Yin Qiao San

Source date: 1798 AD

Number of ingredients: 10 herbs

Formula key actions: Disperses Wind Heat. Clears Heat. Resolves Toxicity.

Conditions targeted*: Common coldInfluenza and others

Jin Yin Hua is a king ingredient in Yin Qiao San. Like the name indicates, it means it has more power than other ingredients in the formula.

In Yin Qiao San, Jin Yin Hua acrid, cool, and fragrant. It releases the Exterior, clear Heat from
the Lungs and resolve Toxicity. 

Read more about Yin Qiao San

Qing Luo Yin

Source date: 1798

Number of ingredients: 6 herbs

Formula key actions: Resolves Summer-Heat. Clears the Lungs.

Conditions targeted*: HyperthermiaHeatstroke and others

Jin Yin Hua is a king ingredient in Qing Luo Yin. Like the name indicates, it means it has more power than other ingredients in the formula.

In Qing Luo Yin, Jin Yin Hua relieves Summer-Heat as well as clears Wind, Heat and Dampness, from the collaterals.

Read more about Qing Luo Yin

Ku Shen Tang

Source date: 1806 AD

Number of ingredients: 8 herbs

Formula key actions: Dispels Wind. Dries Dampness. Kills parasites. Relieves itching.

Conditions targeted*: Atopic dermatitisSeborrheic dermatitis and others

Jin Yin Hua is a deputy ingredient in Ku Shen Tang. This means it helps the king ingredient(s) treat the main pattern or it serves to treat a coexisting pattern.

In Ku Shen Tang, Jin Yin Hua clears Toxic-Heat

Read more about Ku Shen Tang

Qing Ying Tang

Source date: 1798 AD

Number of ingredients: 9 herbs

Formula key actions: Clears the Nutritive level Heat. Relieves Fire Toxin. Removes Heat. Nourishes Yin.

Conditions targeted*: Encephalitis BMeningitis and others

Jin Yin Hua is an assistant ingredient in Qing Ying Tang. This means that it either serves to reinforces the effect of other ingredients or it moderates their toxicity.

In Qing Ying Tang, Jin Yin Hua is fragrant, aromatic and light, like the other assistant ingredient of the formula Forsythia fruit. It clears Heat and removes Toxin by pushing pathogenic Heat outside.

The key and deputy herbs of the formula dissipates this Heat from nutritive level (more severe) to the Qi level (less severe). Then Honeysuckle flowers disperses the Heat from Qi level to outside the body. 

Read more about Qing Ying Tang

Gua Lou San

Source date: 1826 AD

Number of ingredients: 8 herbs

Formula key actions: Remove breast carbuncle (mastitis) after birth giving.

In Gua Lou San, Jin Yin Hua resolves Toxic Heat

Read more about Gua Lou San

Tuo Li Xiao Du San

Source date: 1548 AD

Number of ingredients: 11 herbs

Formula key actions: Draws out toxicity. Expels pus from the interior. Tonifies Qi and Blood.

In Tuo Li Xiao Du San, Jin Yin Hua resolves Toxin and expels pus

Read more about Tuo Li Xiao Du San

Key TCM concepts behind Jin Yin Hua's properties

In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), Jin Yin Hua belongs to the 'Herbs that clear Heat and relieve Toxicity' category. Herbs in this category are used to clear inflammatory and infectious conditions, referred to as 'Internal Heat' in TCM. This is why most of the herbs in this category will have both antibacterial and antiviral properties. In TCM one has too much 'Internal Heat' in their body as a result of a deficiency of 'Yin' (which is Cold in nature, see our explanation on Yin and Yang) or, more commonly, an Excess of Yang (Hot in nature). Herbs that clear Heat and relieve Toxicity treat the latter while, at the same time, removing infectious toxins from the body. As such they tend to be Cold or Neutral in nature.

As suggested by its category Jin Yin Hua is Cold in nature. This means that Jin Yin Hua typically helps people who have too much 'Heat' in their body. Balance between Yin and Yang is a key health concept in TCM. Those who have too much Heat in their body are said to either have a Yang Excess (because Yang is Hot in nature) or a Yin deficiency (Yin is Cold in Nature). Depending on your condition Jin Yin Hua can help restore a harmonious balance between Yin and Yang.

Jin Yin Hua also tastes Sweet. The so-called 'Five Phases' theory in Chinese Medicine states that the taste of TCM ingredients is a key determinant of their action in the body. Sweet ingredients like Jin Yin Hua tends to slow down acute reactions and detoxify the body. They also have a tonic effect because they replenish Qi and Blood.

The tastes of ingredients in TCM also determine what Organs and Meridians they target. As such Jin Yin Hua is thought to target the Heart, the Lung and the Stomach. In addition to regulating Blood flow, in TCM the Heart is believed to be the store of the 'Mind' which basically refers to someone's vitality. In addition to performing respiration, the Lungs are thought in TCM to be a key part of the production chain for Qi and the Body Fluids that nourish the body. The Stomach is responsible for receiving and ripening ingested food and fluids. It is also tasked with descending the digested elements downwards to the Small Intestine.

Research on Jin Yin Hua

Loniceroside C, a saponin from Japanese honeysuckle, showed in vivo anti-inflammatory activity against mouse ear edema1


1. Wie Jong Kwak, Chang Kyun Han, Hyeun Wook Chang, Hyun Pyo Kim, Sam Sik Kang, Kun Ho Son (2003) Loniceroside C, an Antiinflammatory Saponin from Lonicera japonica. Chemical and Pharmaceutical Bulletin. 51: No. 3 p. 333-335

Use of Jin Yin Hua as food

Jin Yin Hua is also eaten as food. It is used as an ingredient in dishes such as Honeysuckle Pound Cake or Honeysuckle syrup.