by Dr. Loreen Dawson, BSc, ND - Naturopathic Physician
Forsythia is in full bloom right now in gardens all over the Sunshine Coast. Although we generally think of forsythia as an ornamental or hedge plant, it is actually a useful medicinal plant as well. Forsythia seeds have the medicinal effect of “clearing heat”. This makes it a valuable component of herbal formulas used in viral or bacterial illnesses which have fever. In Chinese medicine, it is traditionally mixed with honeysuckle, balloon flower, mint and a few other herbs to make the well- known cold and flu remedy called Yin Chiao. By choosing wisely from locally available plants, we can make a similarly effective combination for the treatment of viral illness.
Forsythia has other important uses too. This effect of “clearing heat” means it is also valuable for red, inflamed skin conditions such as eczema, acne and boils.
Before I realized its potential, I had been trying to clear the forsythia from my front garden. I dug it up in one place and it showed up in 2 more. I tried to dig those up, and it just spread further. Now that I understand its potential, I am going to let it go to seed and collect some seeds for medicine.
Our gardens contain amazing plants with properties and potential that we sometimes don’t realize. A garden truly can be nature’s pharmacy.