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The forsythia fruit has a good reputation among herbalists. It’s beautiful yellow flowers attract the eyes but its efficacy against a wide variety of common diseases attests to the fact that many plants have more uses than meets the eye.
Origin and History
In ancient China, the forsythia fruit was known as Lian Qiao. In modern times, scientists have discovered two distinct species of the plant.
First, the Forsythia suspense was first observed in greater detail by Thunberg, a Western botanist, in a Japanese garden although it must be noted that he erroneously classified the forsythia plant as a lilac. Through the international company for which Thunberg worked for, he was able to bring the forsythia plant to Holland in 1833. But even when it was grown by the Veitch Nurseries in Exeter, the forsythia plant was still considered rare in the mid-century.
Second, the Forsythia viridissma's introduction to European gardens is attributed to Robert Fortune, a Scottish plant researcher. He first saw the specie in Chinese gardens located in the coastal Zhoushan province while his further investigation revealed the plant's abundance in the mountains.
During the First World War, more species were discovered by plant researchers. Today, the forsythia fruit is as much a staple of Eastern traditional medicine as it is with Western folk medicine.
The forsythia fruit occupies a very important position in traditional Chinese medicine. It was known for its potent antiviral properties, which explains its use as a first line of defense against Colds and flu. The ancient Chinese also used the forsythia fruit to alleviate the symptoms of fever, Coughs and chest pain.
In Western medicine, the first recorded use of the forsythia fruit was in an herbal book dated 1789. Although little scientific study has been done on the health benefits of the forsythia fruits, the anecdotal evidence stretching back to thousands of years continues to provide a strong foundation for the medicinal properties of the plant in modern times.
Whatever scientific study conducted on the forsythia fruit nonetheless have reinforced the ancient uses of the plant. It has been proven to possess moderate to potent antimicrobial, antiviral and anti-parasitic properties in addition to its use to counteract nausea.
Dr. James A. Duke, a noted herbalist, recommends preparing a forsythia tea mixed with honeysuckle and lemon as an effective drink against colds and flu. At the first sign of a viral infection, this tea can be taken to lessen the severity and duration of the attack.
In 1993, Chinese researchers discovered that the forsythia fruit is also effective in the treatment of lung diseases such as bronchitis. Patients who were treated exclusively with forsythia recovered faster than the patients who only received antibiotics for the lung infection. For purposes of safety, however, physicians strongly recommend taking forsythia as a tea instead of intravenous administration.
Earaches caused by infections can also be relieved by taking the forsythia tea. Children may not take the tea but an alternative is also available - just sprinkle the powdered fruit on applesauce and let the young patient eat the mixture.
Yet another possible use for the forsythia plant was discovered in a small Korean study. It appears that the plant enhanced the levels of good cholesterol in the body while also helping in lowering the bad cholesterol.
As of this writing, there are no known side effects for the intake of forsythia. But to be on the safe side, pregnant and lactating mothers are well advised to avoid taking any of the products related to it. Patients who are undergoing medical treatments for underlying health conditions must also see their physicians before taking in any herbs.