We have a few Forsythia bushes around our property and in the spring – their pops of yellow are one of the first things to bring color to the yard!
Such a pleasure to look at when their branches fill with lots of yellow flowers – and the smell is amazing! I think they smell like honey. Or is it – that honey smells like Forsythia flowers? Hmm, is this one of those: what came first? kind-of queries? Or… no?
Well, whatever was first… they are both amazing in their own right!
Forsythias are a genus of deciduous flowering shrubs that belong to the olive family; low-maintenance and fast-growing. This bush/shrub has a few hidden gems of healing properties that are probably not commonly known even though it has been utilized for thousands of years in traditional Chinese herbal medicine.
The flowers come out first, then it will produce its leaves. The window for collecting the flowers will vary and I wait until there is a nice abundance of these little beauties before harvesting a few. A few for me… and leave the rest for the bees! This is easy to do – as there are hundreds of flowers going on here! I don’t need that many flowers. 🙂
Besides being a knock-out to look at and smell all spring – the flowers, it’s seeds and the leaves are used for: making a cup of tea – to – infusing (an oil for example) for using ‘now’ or later (such as – making into a salve or balm). The seeds are what is made into tincture form.
Forsythia flowers have been shown to help reduce stress and anxiety and boost energy levels; I can see why – once again: nice to look at and the flowers smell lovely!
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I decided to: infuse some witch hazel. These two are actually a great combo for their healing-work they can offer. I already like utilizing witch hazel for my skin; so – let’s amp it up and add the healing properties of the forsythia flower too! 🙂
*First up: picking/harvesting some forsythia flowers! For tea/water making purposes: I gave the flowers being used – a quick rinse. Then proceeding with the project at hand.
For the drying of the flowers – no rinsing. Just spread them out on some paper towels (or a towel) and let them air dry for… as long as they need (a couple of days). You could utilize a dehydrator, low-low-oven, or the sunshine if you are in a bit of a hurry. 🙂 My preferred method is: air dry and time!
*Project 1: Flowers went into a glass jar; covered them with witch hazel; infused overnight. I strained this after about 20/24 hours. Then poured the new infusion back into a bottle, ready for (topical) use.
*Project 2: Making the flower tea so I could make a forsythia flower infused simple syrup.
Put about 1 cup of flower into a glass jar/container and then pour one cup of hot water over the flowers (into the jar). (*In the pics below – I roughly doubled this recipe). Let this steep overnight (for at least 8 hours). I gave mine about 12 hours. Strained the liquid; or ‘tea water’. This liquid went into a saucepan, along with some honey, where I brought it up to a low/medium heat, not boiling. Just warm enough to dissolve the honey into the tea-water. Then poured this into a mason jar/glass jar and will store it in the fridge (good for 3 or 4 weeks).
The amount of/kind of sweetener you choose is up to you. Most methods call for a half-cup; if this is too sweet – adjust it. I made two ‘flavor’ profiles (in the pic below) – the small jar is just straight, with honey. The larger, darker, jar is made with honey as well but added vanilla/vanilla bean.
*I know that taking honey past that 104 zone can destroy the beneficial-goodness… but this simple syrup wasn’t really about maintaining all the enzymes, etc. I just prefer honey over granulated sugar. And there are many times/recipes where I basically cook-the-heck out of it. 🙂 LOL
*Project 3: Letting the rest of the flowers dry – storing for later! (Which I discussed above).
There are many other things you could do; for example – infuse some oil, maybe make a balm or a salve with it for topical use. Experiment! Have Fun!
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A few bullet-points of what forsythia can do for you and what you can do with it!
Scientific name: Forsythia suspensa
Internal: examples: tea, infusion, simple syrup, tincture:
*Tea of young (tender) leaves may help with the symptoms of cold/flu and sore throat.
*High in oleanolic acid – can help maintain healthy blood pressure; help aid cardiovascular functions.
*Anti-microbial and anti-inflammatory properties – for chills, fevers (relieve colds, fever and cough/sore throat); headaches, muscle soreness. Also has antioxidant properties.
*Can aid in the detoxification of the body; anti-parasitic and diuretic.
*Enhancing moods and reducing anxiety.
External: examples: skin care products, skin tonic; topical.
*Infused oil (can make balms/salves)
*Infused witch hazel and/or water
*Can help healing/repairing – Burns, cuts, scrapes, infections, and rashes
*Known to help improve skin quality, and offer relief from eczema and other skin conditions and also help out with hair growth or some scalp issues.
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***As always, use your discernment when utilizing any plant for assisting you on your healing journey. Not all plants are for everybody. I am not a doctor, just sharing info.
P.S. Also know what you are gathering/harvesting if this plant is new to you. I’m an advocate for people to do deeper learning, reading, research on plants (and all things really)! If this plant is resonating and speaking to you – take some time to develop the relationship and communication that is there/wanting to be there; it is part of the healing journey… for you and for nature/the plant/Gaia.
Be aware of the area of which the plant is growing – avoiding polluted areas, traffic/roads, etc.