Flos Lonicerae Japonicae

Flos Lonicerae japonicae is the dried flower bud or opening flower of Lonicera japonica Thunb., which is a species of honeysuckle native to eastern Asia, including China, Japan and Korea. It offers latent-heat-clearing, detoxicant, antipyretic and anti-inflammatory actions and is widely used to treat carbuncles, acute dysentery, pharyngitis and upper respiratory illness caused by virus or bacterial infection. In addition, it is prescribed as the main ingredient in many traditional herb formulas for anti-bacterial, anti-inflammatory and anti-virus, such as H1N1 flu virus. For example, it is the main ingredient of Shuanhuanglian (SHL) formula, which is a traditional and reputable formula to treat upper respiratory tract infection, acute bronchitis and light pneumonia [1]. Furthermore, Flos Lonicerae Japonicae is extensively added to food, beverages and other relative products. As a result, Flos Lonicerae japonicae has received widespread attention and intense market demand.

As a consequence of the great demand for honeysuckle flower products, many adulterated products are found within the market. Among them is Flos Lonicerae (Shanyinhua), the main fraudulent herb which comes from some different species. Flos Lonicerae are the dried flower bud or opening flowers of Lonicera hypoglauca Miq., Lonicera confuse DC., or Lonicera macranthoides Hand.-Mazz.. These species not only have the different appearances and chemical constituents, but also different properties and indications. Flos Lonicerae (Shanyinhua) contains no less than 2 per cent of chlorogenic acid and 5 per cent of macranthoidin B and dipsacoside B [2]. Lonicerae japonicae Flos, which also consists of chlorogenic acid, contains no less than 0.05 per cent of luteolin-7-O-glucoside [1].

Chlorogenic acid (3-O-caffeoylquinic acid) is the predominant compound in the Lonicerae Japonicae Flos raw herb and detected as the important marker compound. A large number of studies revealed that chlorogenic acid has potential anti-inflammatory, analgesic, antipyretic, antimutagenic and anticarcinogenic activities.

CPC has successfully developed a rapid and effective method to evaluate the potency of the Flos Lonicerae japonicae extract using the RRLC method conducted within five minutes. Our research showed that the chromatographic profile of the Lonicerae japonicae Flos P.E. is typical and stable with the proportion of chlorogenic acid and isochlorogenic acid, while 5-O-caffeoylquinic acid only exists a small amount, while 4-O-caffeoylquinic acid could not be detected at all [3] (Fig.2). However, most commercial Flos Lonicerae Japonicae P.E. on the market is isomerized with a lower amount of chlorogenic acid and subsequently increased portions of 5-O-caffeoylquinic acid and 4-O-caffeoylquinic acid isomer (Fig.3). Meanwhile, CPC has also developed the RRLC method to simultaneously identify more compounds and quantitatively determine the concentration of constituents for commercial polyherbal formulated products with Lonicerae japonicae [3, 4].

By strictly controlling the processing methods i.e. temperature, solvent and extraction time, our Canphy® brand Lonicerae Japonicae Flos P.E. provides consistent profile of chlorogenic acid free of isomerisation, matching the HPLC profile with the original raw herb. And our products are standardized at 5% chlorogenic acid, 7% chlorogenic acid, 10% chlorogenic acid.


[1] The State Commission of Chinese Pharmacopoeia of People’s Republic of China (Chinese version), Volume Ⅰ, Chemical Industry Press, Beijing, 2010, PP. 205-206.

[2] The State Commission of Chinese Pharmacopoeia of People’s Republic of China (Chinese version), Volume Ⅰ, Chemical Industry Press, Beijing, 2010, PP. 28-29.

[3] Yuan-chun Ma, Xiao-Qiang Wang, Feifei Hou, Jie Ma, et al. Rapid resolution liquid chromatography (RRLC) analysis and studies on the stability of Shuang-Huang-Lian preparations. Journal of Pharmaceutical and Biomedical Analysis (2011) 54(2): 265-272.

[4] Jie Ma, Yuan-Chun Ma, Carina Cai, Daniel Wang, et al. Simultaneous Quantification of Echinacea Species, Flos Lonicerae, Radix Scutellaria and Fructus Forsythiae Combinations by Rapid Resolution Liquid Chromatography. Natural Product Communications (2011) 6(5): 639-643.

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