Friday, February 12, 2010

Honeysuckle extract!

Honeysuckle extract (INCI: Lonicera japonica extract) is a powdered or liquid extract from the Japanese honeysuckle, not the red clover honeysuckle we see in North America. (I could never eat honeysuckle as a child as I was always convinced that dogs peed on it. Now, as a proud dog owner, I know it is true!)

Use the powdered extract at 0.5% in your cool down phase after dissolving or add the liquid extract at 2 to 10% (or the suggested suppliers' usage rate) in the cool down phase. (The liquid extract appears to be a hydrosol mixed with the extract, but check your supplier for information).

Honeysuckle extract is reported to have all kinds of wonderful properties - anti-oxidant, anti-fungal, anti-viral, anti-oxidant, anti-irritant, and anti-bacterial. It can help exfoliate your skin, and may help with eczema and psoriasis. How does it do all these wonderful things? Why with vitamins, polyphenols, catechins, tannins, and glycosides!

Considered to have some of the highest levels of polyphenols in all the extracts, honeysuckle is considered an excellent anti-irritant and anti-inflammatory, up there with green tea extract, aloe vera, and chamomile. It contains a lot of Vitamin C, always a welcome addition to any creation as it is a good anti-oxidant and chelating ingredient, as well as a possible stimulator of the synthesis of collagen in our skin.

Honeysuckle contains quercetin, a great anti-oxidant, anti-inflammatory, and anti-viral ingredient, and rutin, a better anti-oxidant, that works well for UV protection and circulation. Caffeic acid is a very good anti-oxidant, anti-inflammatory, and anti-fungal ingredient, that may protect skin after sun exposure.

Where honeysuckle shines is with the chlorogenic acid - up to 10% of the powdered honeysuckle extract can be composed of this polyphenol - which offers anti-bacterial, anti-viral, and anti-fungal properties, as well as acting as a good anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory.

Honeysuckle contains epigallocatechingallate, which you might remember from green tea extract. EGCg seems to be a wonder ingredient. It is an anti-inflammatory that provides protection from photo-damage. One study showed it could inhibit an essential bacterial enzyme by binding to it, thereby behaving as an anti-bacterial. Another, albeit small, study showed EGCg s effective against tooth decay! It is a very powerful anti-oxidant, up to 200 times more powerful than Vitamin E in in vitro studies.

Apigenin is another fantastic feature of honeysuckle extract. It is a very very powerful anti-oxidant that offers anti-inflammatory and exfoliating features to our products.

Take a second to compare these two molecules. The only difference is the extra -OH on the top right molecule. Just one little -OH can make all the difference!

Luteolin is another great component of this extract. It is considering a very soothing ingredient, a very powerful anti-inflammatory on par with some good pharmaceutical anti-inflammatories. It is also an anti-oxidant and free radical scavenger.

To sum up - honeysuckle extract is a great anti-inflammatory ingredient, one of the best, with great free radical scavenging and chelating abilities. It offers good during and after sun exposure qualities and anti-bacterial, anti-fungal, and anti-viral properties. In short, if you've got reddened or irritated skin, honeysuckle may be the extract for you!

As with all botanical extracts, try it before using it in everything you make as some people can be sensitive to it.

Join me tomorrow for fun formulating with honeysuckle!


madpiano said...


Japanese Honeysuckle is also a natural paraben. You cannot (or should not) call your products paraben free, if you use this.

By the way, it smells quite nice too, my parents have it in their garden.

p said...

Thank you for your AMAZING blog! I'm really interested in formulating body care products using natural ingredients, and I'm a scientist by training and at heart, so I truly appreciate your thorough, careful posts - so very informative. You rock! Do you have any recommendations for books on the cosmetic chemistry of natural ingredients, stuff like that? Any favorite sources?

Really enjoying your discussion of extracts! Maybe you mentioned this earlier, but is there a standard definition of what an extract is? Are they typically water-extracts by infusion (hot water or cold?), then dehydrated into a powder (uner low pressure so no heat applied?)? Or similar with alcohol instead of water? Or are they dehydrated hydrosols? So many ways to get the goodies out of plants and then remove the solvent!

Is green tea extract, in particular, just powdered green tea, i.e. matcha? So not really an extract at all? So confused!

Thanks for all your awesome work... I'm going to donate my next couple of sales to your youth programs! :)

Susan Barclay-Nichols said...

Hi madpiano! Good information! Thanks so much for sharing that.

Hi p! As for textbooks, I have a few I really like - the Handbook of Cosmetic Science and Technology is awesome, as is Surfactants in Personal Care and Decorative Cosmetics. I would love to own others, but at $200 to $300 each, it's simply not possible!

As for the definition of an extract...there's an idea for a post! You can find it here!

And any donations are incredibly appreciated by our groups!

p said...

Thanks so much for the response, Susan! Now I have two books to add to my wishlist! :)


Nedeia said...

I'd LOVe to get my hands on this ingredient... Anyone living in Europe, are there any sellers that would sell it online?

Monique said...


Can you use this to preserve fresh puree fruits in sugar scrubs?

Susan Barclay-Nichols said...

Hi Monique. I've answered your question in more detail in today's Weekend Wonderings, but the short answer is no, you can't use this extract as a preservative and you shouldn't be putting fresh fruit puree into a sugar scrub.

Lane L said...

Hi Susan! I've been going crazy trying to find a supplier for honeysuckle extract (specifically Loniceira Japonica) and I just can't find any!

I know Makingcosmetics sells it in bulk but I can't order that much since I'm new to formulating and I'd like to start small... and I think they used to sell it at the Herbarie but it's out of stock and I tried contacting them but I've never gotten a response...

so basically, do you know anyone who sells it? (I love your blog btw! I've been lurking around here for almost a year now but I didn't have the guts to make any comments till now ha)

Susan Barclay-Nichols said...

Hi Lane! There's a supplier FAQ for your part of the world - sorry, not sure where you're from - and you might have to do some searching to find it! I'm afraid I don't know anywhere off the top of my head. I know Lotioncrafter carries a preservative with honeysuckle extract in it - Natapres - that might work for you?

I'm glad you're commenting! Please comment more! We have a more awesome, more vibrant community when we all say something! There are no stupid things to say and no stupid answers! As long as we're respecting each other as people, we'll be good!