This is a blog about the pursuits of Naturalist Alan Russo to incorporate all things Natural, especially Plants, into his daily life. Living close to Nature has always been a passion of mine and I try, with natures help, to live a Healthy lifestyle for myself and for the Earth.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Japanese Honeysuckle

Japanese Honeysuckle
Bottom of Flower
Green base separated with Pistil still attached.

Drop of Sweet Nectar!
Brewing a flower tincture
  One of the best smells on the planet is the sweet seductive smell of the Japanese Honeysuckle Flower. It is one of my favorite smells in Nature. This time of year, as I wonder through Nature, I often get stopped in my tracks as the breeze blows the nectar in my direction. I stop close my eyes and take deep breaths till the wind shifts direction and releases me from my rapture. I had always dreamed of having my house surrounded by Honeysuckle vines so when I opened the windows my home would be inundated with the sweet aroma. 
  Well, that hasn't happened (yet), but I do have a nice vine I planted to climb on the fence of the chicken coop. All the leaves and flowers on the bottom of the vine, to the height the Chickens can jump, is completely bare. They love the taste of Honeysuckle Vine! Above that is a profuse flowering vine.
  Most people have heard you can suckle the "Honey" of the flower but I often run into people on my herb walks that have never tried it or have tried it but were not successful. It's alot easier to explain while watching someone do it but I will give a basic rundown of the steps and with the help of the photos above you can give it a try.
 Pull a flower from the vine, at the base you will usually find a green 'nub'. Grab the nub with your thumb and pointer finger and with the nail of your thumb, gently cut into the flower just above the green. Don't press so hard that you will cut all the way through the flower, you only want to cut down to the Pistil. With slight pressure pull the two apart till it looks like the third photo. Now gently pull the two apart till the pistil pulls the nectar out of the bottom of the flower, as seen in the next photo. Place nectar on tongue and suck on the end of the flower as not to miss any remaining inside. Close your eyes and be transported to Heaven! I have often thought how cool it would be to sit there for hours collecting nectar in a jar, drop by drop, till I had enough to drink!
  Most people don't know this, but, in many parts of the world, Honeysuckle Flowers are known as a powerful anti-biotic/microbial. Every year I make enough tincture to last till the next years flowering just to have on hand in case I need it. Simply add as many flowers you can to a jar, than fill the jar with vodka till the flowers are covered and allow to sit for a couple of days. The vodka will turn a yellowish brown color, being infused with the medicinal qualities of the flowers. Strain out the flowers, which have turned brown by now, and replace with new flowers and let sit for a couple of weeks. I am no herbalist, so I recommend you do some research as to dosage etc.
  I know the saying is "Stop and smell the Roses" but, as much as I love Roses, I'll take the smell of Honeysuckle over Roses any day of the week!

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