What is Wang Lao Ji made from? – Part 5 of 7 Japanese Honeysuckle

Red can of Wang Lao Ji

Wang lao ji (???) or wong lo kat in Cantonese is one of China’s most popular herbal teas. Wang lao ji is said to be a product that was commercialized and sold by Wang Zebang (???) (nicknamed Wang Ji ??) from Heshan in Guangdong province (????) in 1828.

Currently sold as a herbal beverage, with the ingredients being, seven different kinds of Chinese herbal plants: “Water, white sugar, mesona, dan hua, Bu Zha ye (Microcos paniculata Linn), Chrysanthemum flowers, jin yin hua (Lonicera japonica Thunb.), Prunella vulgaris, and licorice. “?????????????????????????????” (The “Dan hua” does not refer to as eggs, but refers to the Apocynaceae species).

This will be a part five of a seven part series exploring the contents of Wang Lao Ji seven herbal tea drink. Today we will talk about ??? (jin yin hua).

Suikazura - Lonicera japonica Thunb. (Japanese honeysuckle)

??? (jin yin hua), Lonicera japonica Thunb. -  Japanese honeysuckle or suikazura in Japanese is a honeysuckle species native to eastern Asia including Japan, Korea, northern and eastern China, and Taiwan. It is a vine that has become naturalized in Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Mexico, New Zealand and much of the United States, including Hawaii, as well as a number of Pacific and Caribbean islands. In part of the United States it is classified as a noxious weed and has been banned. It is often sold in some nurseries as ‘Hall’s Prolific’ (Lonicera Japonica var. Halliana). It is an effective groundcover, and has pleasant, strong-smelling flowers as well as food source for deer, rabbits, hummingbirds and other wildlife.

Jin Yin Hua (Japanese Honeysuckle, Flos Lonicerae Japonicae) is commonly used in Chinese traditional medicine and is effective for fever, headache, cough, thirst, and sore throat.

In Chinese medicine, Jin Yin Hua is classified with a cold temperature property. The cold designation specifically refers to, the antitoxin, anti-bacterial, antipyretic, and anti-inflammatory properties of Jin Yin Hua. Also, according to traditional Chinese medicine, Jin Yin Hua is contraindicated for patients with medical conditions that are diagnosed as deficient and cold in nature unless combined with other herbs to balance the temperature nature of Jin Yin Hua. In other words, Jin Yin Hua is used in Chinese medicine to address what are called excess heat conditions such as fevers, skin rashes, and sore throat. Excess heat conditions are inflammatory processes involving heat, redness, pain, and swelling often due to external pathogenic factors such as bacteria and viruses. The cold nature of Jin Yin Hua is considered to cool the heat nature of the heat related conditions. For example, Jin Yin Hua’s antibacterial properties can help to cool a fever. In this case, the cold herb treats the heat condition. However, should a patient present with what is termed as a cold condition such as aversion to cold with cold limbs, cold and pain in the abdomen, and abdominal pain relieved by warmth, then Jin Yin Hua’s cold nature is said to be contraindicated for treating the pre-existing cold condition. Should an herbalist choose to use Jin Yin Hua in an herbal formula for a patient with a cold condition, they would then choose to balance the temperature of Jin Yin Hua with another herb that is warming.


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