Forsythia is a plant. The flowers are produced in the early spring before the leaves, bright yellow with a deeply four-lobed flower, the petals joined only at the base. These become pendant in rainy weather thus shielding the reproductive parts. The fruit is used for medicine. The fruit is steamed, dried in the sun, and the seeds removed from the fruit before used in herbal remedies.
Forsythia fruit has been known since ancient times in China for its very powerful antiviral properties. It has been documented that the ancients in China ground up the fruit and gave it to the gravely ill to treat symptoms of fever and chest pain. Forsythia fruits are also reputedly used as a diuretic and cardiovascular tonic. The tea is most effective when taken at the first sign of a viral infection.
It is bitter in flavour and slightly cold in nature; it is related to the lung, heart and gall-bladder channels. The leaves are febrifuge and are also poultice onto ulcerated glands and haemorrhoids. A decoction of the leaves and twigs is used in the treatment of breast cancer. Extracts of forsythia fruit are now also used in numerous types of cosmetic products, including hair care (e.g., hair growth liniments and antidandruff shampoos), skin care (e.g., acne cream) and foot care (e.g., athletes’ foot) products for their antimicrobial and traditional detoxifying properties.
Mixed with honeysuckle flowers and ground into a powder, forsythia fruit can be used for what western medicine calls upper respiratory tract infections, acute bronchitis, acute endometriosis, measles, acute tonsillitis, encephalitis B, meningitis, and parotitis as well as the ever-present flu.
Always discuss the use of this or any remedy with a doctor or licensed practitioner. The Food and Drug Administration has not recognized forsythia’s medicinal value, and has not included the herb in its list of “generally regarded as safe” herbs.