Stopping an itch with Japanese honeysuckle Stopping an itch with Japanese honeysuckle – SOMETHING ABOUT SCIENCE

Stopping an itch with Japanese honeysuckle

Japanese honeysuckle (Lonicera japonica Thunb.). Photo credit: Kai Yan, Joseph Wong on Flickr

Flower buds of Japanese honeysuckle (Lonicera japonica Thunb.) contain potential anti-itching agents, according to a study published in Molecules this week.

The researchers screened natural products for anti-itching effects in hope of developing household detergents (such as cleaning products and shampoo) with reduced skin irritation. In the study, a crude water-based extracts from the aforementioned flower buds inhibited a protein involved in the production of histamine in outer skin cells that give rise to itching. The team isolated a major component in the plant, chlorogenic acid, but the chemical on its own had weaker inhibition, implying that other effective components in the buds are at play. The researchers comment, “…a further chemical study of [the flower bud] is now under investigation.” The study, which is freely accessible (open access), was conducted by collaboration between research laboratories belonging to two prominent companies in Japan: Hoyu Co. Ltd. and Kracie Pharma, Ltd.

Japanese honeysuckle, known as suikazura (忍冬) in Japanese, is a vine native to eastern Asia. Flowers of this plant are distinctive; they are double-tongued that fade to yellow from white, thus giving the name “gold-silver” flower, jinyinhua (金銀花), in Chinese. The plant is well known for its use in traditional Chinese medicine to treat fever, headache, sore throat, and inflammation. If you live in North America, South America, and the Pacific, chances are that you have also seen these flowers, as the plant is an invasive species and has spread widely.

Lynn Kimlicka

I am a scientist-turned writer and editor, who loves to read and write (more than doing experiments). I have a PhD in biochemistry and molecular biology, with a specialization in structural biology. My interests range widely, from life sciences to pop culture and arts to music. I am bilingual in English and Japanese.

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