I walked outside today and smelled Nature’s perfume, honeysuckle. Something so sweet invites you to see if it tastes as good as it smells. When I was a kid, we used to suck the nectar out of the flowers. If it was good enough for bees, hey, it’s good enough for us.
But there is more to honeysuckle than an inviting, calming aroma and sweet tastes. It’s actually medicinal! Yes, the flowers, stems, and leaves have a variety of benefits. Honeysuckle has anti inflammatory properties. It can be used as an antiviral and antioxidant immune booster. Some use it for stomach issues, headache, arthritis pain, urinary issues as well as respiratory issues. So, it’s as useful as it is fragrant.
Honeysuckle also has magical properties. Like with other herbs or crystals, experiment to see what energies and benefits you can discover. Most say that honeysuckle is good for attracting money and offering protection from evil spirits or witches. For this reason, some cultures planted honeysuckle by their front doors.
Honeysuckle can also be used in rituals to enhance fidelity and affection. The twists and turns of the vines symbolize the entwining of lovers. So heady is its fragrance and energy that in Victorian times, young women were forbidden from receiving it as it was thought to inspire dreams that no respectable young woman ought to have!
There are many stories and myths about honeysuckle as it grows around the world. It’s easy to understand why most of them are romantic in nature. One such story is the Greek tale of Daphnis and Chloe. Both were (separately) abandoned by their parents as children. They were found and fostered by shepherds on the island of Lesbos. They met and fell in love, but because of the distance, they could only see each other while the honeysuckle blossomed. Daphnis appealed to Eros (god of love) to extend the flowering season for honeysuckle so that he could spend more time with Chloe. This Eros did. And this is why honeysuckle blossoms as long as it is warm.
If this sparks your curiosity about the natural world, explore some more! Spring is bringing us many lovely things. I am in constant delight as I walk around and see many old friends who are returning to life. If you want to get to know Honeysuckle, here is a meditation you can try.
Pick a honeysuckle plant that appears friendly to you. Ask for permission to take a stem with flowers. Sit beneath the plant and hold the flowers to your nose. Inhale the fragrance. Allow your mind to go blank and open your senses to what Honeysuckle has to tell you. Perhaps you will get a story made of pictures. Maybe you will hear music. Or you could get a sense of something. Trust your impressions. This can help you to deepen your knowledge of the medicinal and magical properties as well as how this plant works within the web of life.
Note: Some varieties contain glycocides which are mildly toxic and should not be ingested. They are: Japanese honeysuckle (Lonicera japonica), trumpet honeysuckle (Lonicera sempervirens), Amur honeysuckle (Lonicera maackii), morrow honeysuckle (Lonicera morrowii), tatarian honeysuckle (Lonicera tatarica), European mound (Lonicera xylosteum).