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How to Grow Honeysuckle

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Honeysuckle (Lonicera, in the family Caprifoliaceae) is commonly found growing along roadsides or creeping up fences as ornamental plants. But these colorful and delightfully scented plants are more than just pretty decorations — they have medicinal uses as well, exhibiting powerful antiviral activity.1,2

Depending on the variety, the plants will grow as shrubs or crawling vines, and can be either deciduous or evergreen, especially those growing in warmer regions. The climbing varieties flower in the summer, while shrubby varieties flower in late winter, spring and/or summer.3

Native to temperate zones of both hemispheres, honeysuckle thrives in most U.S. states and can also be found growing in southern Asia, the Himalayas and even North Africa.4

Honeysuckle flowers, which are yellow to bright red, are known for their lovely fragrance and sweet nectar. The plants are heat-tolerant, rarely prone to pests and diseases, and known for their versatility and abundance, which makes growing and caring for them easy.5

It’s important to note, however, that climbing honeysuckle varieties can produce red berries that are loved by birds but toxic to humans. If ingested, you may experience side effects such as stomach upset, vomiting, diarrhea and nausea.6,7

Popular Varieties

Two popular subspecies of honeysuckle are American honeysuckle and Japanese honeysuckle. The American native trumpet honeysuckle (Lonicera sempervirens) is a well-behaved, noninvasive plant in many U.S. areas.8 In contrast, many states like Florida and Connecticut consider Japanese honeysuckle (Lonicera japonica) to be an invasive species.9

Mexican honeysuckle (Justicia spicigera), also known as desert honeysuckle, is not a real honeysuckle10 but rather a relative of the shrimp plant, another bloom popular in Central Texas.11 While both shrubs and climbing varieties are easy to cultivate, they have different requirements in terms of soil, pruning and training:12

Climbing varieties such as L. henryi, Halliana, Graham Thomas and L. sempervirens require fertile, well-drained soil rich in humus. Full sun will encourage greater profusion of flowers, but aphid attacks are discouraged if grown in partial shade. So, you may want to weigh out the pros and cons before planting.

Japanese honeysuckle does not require regular pruning, but you may want to control growth by cutting back shoots in spring and thinning out congested growth.

Common honeysuckle (Lonicera periclymenum) should be pruned back one-third in late summer, once it has flowered. All climbing varieties can be renovated by hard pruning to about 2 feet from the ground in early spring. Also remember that climbers need support, especially when they’re young, so secure them with galvanized wire to a fence or trellis.

Shrubby varieties such as Baggesen’s Gold, L. pileata, L. fragrantissima and Winter Beauty will thrive in just about any soil type, provided it drains well, and can be planted in either full sun or partial shade.

Deciduous shrubs, such as Lonicera tatarica, should be pruned in late spring or summer, after flowering. To stimulate growth, remove old, weak stems and cut back one-third of the older branches. Make the cuts next to a new, upright shoot.

Evergreen shrubs such as Lonicera nitida or “Baggesen’s Gold,” which makes a nice hedge, should be pruned three times between spring and fall. Both types can be renovated in early spring by hard pruning.

Regardless of the type, adding organic compost and mulch around the base will reduce water stress, discourage powdery mildew and help the plant thrive. To encourage flowering, add a top dressing such as fish blood and bone in the spring.

Propagating Honeysuckle

Honeysuckle can be propagated either by seed, layering, softwood, hardwood or leaf bud cuttings:

Seed — Seeds can be sown in a cold frame in the fall. An alternative is to refrigerate the seeds with a small amount of moist compost for four to 12 weeks, then germinate the seeds at a temperature of 55 to 64 degrees Fahrenheit (13 to 18 degrees Celsius).

Softwood cuttings13 — Cut a 2- to 3-inch (5- to 7.5-centimeter) long piece from the mother plant in late spring or summer. Pinch leaves off the lower half of the cutting and remove any flowers. Make a cut just below a leaf node and dip the base in a root-promoter before planting.

Hardwood cuttings — Evergreen shrubs can be propagated by taking an 8- to 12-inch (20- to 30-cm) hardwood cutting between fall and midwinter.

Layering14 — Layering is commonly used to propagate honeysuckle vines. In early spring, when shoots are flexible and dormant, simply bend a 1-year-old stem to the ground and pin the shoot 6 to 9 inches from the tip, forming a U. Cover the base of the U with soil, making sure the tip is still above ground.

Leaf bud cuttings15 — Another simple way to propagate honeysuckle vine is to cut a small section, making the first cut just above a pair of leaves and the second cut halfway between two leaf joints. Growth regulator can be used to promote roots but is not required.

Place the cutting, leaf end up, in a small pot. Keep the soil moist but well-drained in a warm, sunny area. Placing a clear plastic bag over the pot to create a mini hot-house will encourage heat and moisture retention. Once the risk for frost has passed, allow the plant to acclimate to the outdoors, then plant it in the ground.

How to Dry and Store Honeysuckle

The honeysuckle blossoms can be used for tea either fresh or dry. To dry them:16

  1. Harvest the flowers in the morning, selecting fully formed blossoms that are about to open. They should be elongated, not the trumpet shape of mature blooms. Old, fully opened flowers may not have as many active chemical compounds as immature ones. Small, tightly closed buds will work, too.
  2. Spread the flowers out on a tray and avoid crowding; cover them with layers of cheesecloth.
  3. Put the tray in a place with low humidity and good air circulation for a few days to a week. Dry the flowers until they are brittle and break apart easily.

Once dried, store the flowers in an opaque, airtight container kept in a cool, dry place. Keep them out of direct light to avoid damaging the chemical compounds and essential oils. Honeysuckle tea is the easiest way to take advantage of the medicinal qualities of this fragrant plant. Simply add a handful of fresh or dried honeysuckle flowers to 4 cups of hot water. Steep for a few minutes, then drain to remove the flowers.

Honeysuckle Is a Powerful Antiviral Remedy

Honeysuckle is used in Traditional Chinese medicine (TCM),17 where it’s known as Jin Yin Hua. Raw honeysuckle, honeysuckle tea and honeysuckle oil are all known for their medicinal benefits. In TCM, the honeysuckle flower is commonly used to help ease the flu, colds and sore throat.

Research18 shows it has the ability to prevent the influenza virus from replicating. The study,19 published in the journal Cell Research, found a plant microRNA called MIR2911 in honeysuckle effectively suppressed both swine flu and bird flu viruses. Importantly, the antiviral properties of MIR2911 remain after boiling, suggesting honeysuckle tea may offer effective antiviral benefits. According to the authors:20

“We suggest that as the first natural product to directly target influenza A viruses, MIR2911 is the ‘virological penicillin’ that serves as a novel therapeutic and preventive agent against not only influenza A, but potentially also other types of viruses.”

Xiao Er Ke Chuan Ling Oral Liquid (KCL), an herbal preparation that uses honeysuckle and nine other plants, has antiviral, antibacterial and potent pharmacological actions and has been shown to help treat acute bronchitis in children.21

Honeysuckle has also been shown to have wound-healing properties.22 Aside from showing antimicrobial activity against Escherichia coli, Staphylococcus epidermidis, Staphylococcus aureus, Candida albicans and Candida tropicalis, an ointment prepared with honeysuckle extract “exhibited potent wound healing capacity as evidenced by the wound contraction in the excision wound model.”

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Post-vaccine surge? Michigan’s spring coronavirus case spike close to previous year’s autumn high

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(Natural News) The spike in new Wuhan coronavirus infections recorded in Michigan over the spring is similar to a spike seen during the 2020 fall season. According to a Wall Street Journal analysis, the state’s daily coronavirus case count averaged more than 7,000 for almost two weeks – before taking a slight dip to 6,891 on April 20. This echoed similar figures back in November and December 2020, which saw sharp rises in infections for those two months before plunging.

Back in autumn of last year, Michigan averaged more than 7,000 cases per day for a span of 10 days. New infections dropped slightly, then briefly spiked as the December holidays approached. It then fell to the low 1,000s for the succeeding two months – until ascending again in March.

According to University of Michigan internal medicine professor Dr. Vikas Parekh, the sudden increase in new infections could be attributed to several factors. Among the factors he cited was re-openings, which increased people’s interactions and mobility. Parekh said the loosened restrictions contributed to the spread of the highly contagious U.K. B117 variant.

“As the B117 variant spreads nationally, we will likely see other stats [with] their own surges – although I hope none are as bad as Michigan,” the professor remarked. He continued: “The milestone just tells us we are not yet in the clear, especially as we still have large portions of our population who are not vaccinated yet.”

Parekh also expressed optimism over the lower daily caseloads the Great Lakes State reported. He said he believes both cases and hospitalizations have plateaued and will likely decline soon. The professor commented: “[COVID-19] positivity has been declining now for one week, which is usually a leading indicator of case decline.”

Meanwhile, the state cited younger populations and youth sports, such as basketball, wrestling and hockey, to increase new COVID-19 infections. Because of this, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer called to suspend youth sports and indoor dining in the state. She also exhorted high schools to conduct remote class sessions for two weeks to curb the spread of the pathogen.

Michigan still experienced the spike in cases despite having one of the highest vaccination rates in the country

During the opening stages of the U.S.’s immunization drive against COVID-19, Michigan boasted of having one of the highest vaccination rates nationwide. A report by Bridge Michigan even noted the initial “frenzy for vaccines” that “far exceeded the state’s limited supply.” But things have appeared to turn around for Michigan, as it now struggles to reach the 70 percent vaccination rate needed for herd immunity.

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Scottish mom’s legs turn into a pair of “giant blisters” after first dose of AstraZeneca’s coronavirus vaccine

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(Natural News) Sarah Beuckmann of Glasgow, Scotland, felt a tingling sensation in her legs and noticed a rash flaring up around her ankles a week after getting her first dose of AstraZeneca’s coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccine on March 18.

She also had flu-like symptoms right after the vaccination.

Beuckmann called her doctor to arrange an appointment the morning she noticed the rash, but by the afternoon her skin was already breaking out into blood-filled blisters. Blisters also appeared on her legs, hands, face, arms and bottom.

“I ended up asking my husband to take me to A&E,” said Beuckmann, referring to “accident and emergency,” the equivalent of an emergency room (ER). “When I got there, my heart rate was sitting at 160bpm, which they were very concerned about. I got put on an ECG machine.”

Doctors determine AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine triggers the rash

Medics carried out tests for HIV, herpes and other skin conditions to work out what triggered the rash, but all results came back negative. Doctors finally determined that the vaccine caused her rare reaction after carrying out two biopsies.

“Once they found that it was a reaction to the vaccine, they put me on steroids and that really seems to be helping my progress,” said Beuckmann. She had been advised by her doctor not to get the second dose of AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine because of her reaction.

Beuckmann spent 16 days at Queen Elizabeth University Hospital. She was discharged to recover at home. The 34-year-old mother of one is currently wheelchair-bound due to the bandages on her legs and blisters on the soles of her feet. She may need physiotherapy to help strengthen her leg muscles.

“They are starting to heal and they’re looking a lot better than they were but as the blisters started to get worse, they all sort of merged together,” she said. “I didn’t know what was going on.”

With the blisters merging, her legs have looked like a pair of “giant blisters.” Beuckmann admitted that at one point she feared her legs might have to be amputated.

Dermatologist agrees COVID-19 vaccine causes the blisters

Dr. Emma Wedgeworth, a consultant dermatologist and spokeswoman at the British Skin Foundation, agreed that Beuckmann had likely suffered a reaction to the vaccine.

“Vaccines are designed to activate the immune system. Occasionally people will have quite dramatic activation of their immune systems which, as happened in this case, can manifest in their skin” Wedgeworth told MailOnline. “This poor lady had a very severe reaction, which thankfully is extremely rare.”

It is not clear why Beuckmann, who works in retail, was invited for a vaccine. Scotland’s vaccine rollout was focused on people over the age of 50 when she got vaccinated, although vaccines are available to those who are considered at risk from the virus, or live with someone considered vulnerable.

At least 20 million Briton have had AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine, which drug regulators say causes a rash in one percent of cases. They say rashes caused by the jab tend to go away within a week.

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Trojan labs? Chinese biotech company offers to build COVID testing labs in six states

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In 2012, BGI acquired Complete Genomics, a DNA sequencing company and equipment maker. The funds for the $117.6 million purchase were raised from Chinese venture capitals. The company has expanded its footprint globally. According to its website, BGI conducts business in more than 100 countries and areas and has 11 offices and labs in the U.S.

People are concerned about China’s access to American DNA data

Some said that with Complete Genomics providing an American base, BGI would have access to more DNA samples from Americans, helping it compile a huge database of genetic information. Some also worried about the protection of the genetic information’s privacy.

According to a 2019 report from the U.S.–China Economic and Security Review Commission (USCC), BGI “has formed numerous partnerships with U.S. healthcare providers and research organizations to provide large-scale genetic sequencing to support medical research efforts,”

There are three main reasons why many people in the biotech community and government have expressed concerns about China’s access to American DNA data.

In the “60 Minutes” interview, Evanina discussed the very likely scenario in which Chinese companies would be able to micro-target American individuals and offer customized preventative solutions based on their DNA.

Evanina asked: “Do we want to have another nation systematically eliminate our healthcare services? Are we okay with that as a nation?”

The second concern is that China may use DNA to track and attack American individuals. As the USCC report states: “China could target vulnerabilities in specific individuals brought to light by genomic data or health records. Individuals targeted in such attacks would likely be strategically identified persons, such as diplomats, politicians, high-ranking federal officials or military leadership.”

The third concern is that China may devise bioweapons to target non-Asians. Steven Mosher, president of the Population Research Institute, discussed it in his article “What Will China Do With Your DNA?” published by The Epoch Times in March 2019.

He wrote: “We know that the Asian genome is genetically distinct from the Caucasian and African in many ways. … Would it be possible to bioengineer a very virulent version of, say, smallpox, that was easily transmitted, fatal to other races, but to which the Chinese enjoyed a natural immunity? … Given our present ability to manipulate genomes, if such a bio-weapon can be imagined, it can probably – given enough time and resources – be realized.”

An article from Technocracy said: “China’s aggressive collection of American DNA should be doubly alarming because it can only spell one ultimate outcome: biowarfare. That is, genetically engineering viruses or other diseases that will be selectively harmful to U.S. populations.”

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