Health Benefits Of Honeyberry

What is honeyberry?

Honeyberry (Lonicera caerulea L.) or honeysuckle berries are delicious, vibrant blue colored, juicy fruits with brilliant health benefits. Honeyberries.  Originally from Siberia and are also grown extensively in Hokkaido, Japan, and northern China. It is also called Haskappu berry in Japan.  In Japanese, this translates to a ‘little present on the end of the branch’. Hong Honeyberries are also commonly known as blue honeysuckle or edible honeysuckle. They are a unique early spring fruit that tastes like a mixture of berries and tastes from bitter to sour sweet. 

Honeyberries are elongated, cylindrically shaped and dark purple in colour with a waxy coating on their surface, weighing between 0.3 to 2.0 g and have a dimension of 2cm x 1cm.1 In Russia, a type of honeyberry called blue banana berry can be found, which are larger and deliciously sweet. They are found in mountainous and wet lower altitudes such as forests in Europe, North Asia, and North America.

Honeyberry plants can withstand cold climates as low as 40 degrees and their flowers can survive in -7 degrees temperature. They are resistant to the effects of changes in pH of soil, pests, or diseases.  Due to its climate preferences and health benefits, they have been extensively grown in Nova Scotia,  Canada since its introduction in 1755. Industries such as the Scotland Honeyberry Cooperation, along with the James Hutton Institute, have shown great interest in making honeyberries the next ‘superfruit’ because it’s agronomically beneficial.  Similarly, blue honeysuckles are grown in abundance in spring along with other berries in Southern Minnesota at the blue fruit farms

Honeyberries can be found in the market in the form of jams, candies, setting agents (gelatins), ice creams, yoghurts, fruit wine, cookies, and smoothies. The nutritious benefits of consuming honeyberries are attributed to its richness in ascorbic and phenolic acid, the biochemical compounds that provide antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties to this fruit. The content of these acids is more in wine, and smoothies compared to tea and juice made from honeyberries and the low sugar content makes it a great choice for diabetics. Dried haskap berries are available as supplements in the form of capsules or tablets.2

As you read further about the wonderful health benefits of honeyberries, it becomes evident why they are called the “berry of longevity”.

Health benefits of honeyberry

Haskap berries are an “elixir of life”. A traditional medicine used in Japan has exceptional antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, as well as cardio- and neuroprotective properties. 

Antioxidant effect

Anthocyanins are present in red and purple plant pigments and have a high content of a chemical compound called cyanidin-3-glucoside that gives antioxidant properties to honeyberries.3 As an antioxidant, honeyberries savage free radicals in the body that induce inflammation. A study by Rupasinghe et al. showed that the antioxidant content of honeyberries was far greater than that of strawberries or blueberries.4 Antioxidant property is attributed to the presence of Vitamin C and Polyphenols, especially anthocyanins in honeyberries. 

The antioxidant process counteracts the aging process by reducing the reactive oxygen species (molecules that harm the DNA) and protects the skin from harmful effects of UV radiation. Daily intake of honeysuckle berries reduces the risk of life-threatening conditions such as cancers, prevents insulin resistance, strengthens bone, and improves brain functions. They also reduce oxidation of low-density cholesterol, whereby risk of cardiovascular diseases reduces and helps in maintaining a healthy blood pressure.5

Anti inflammatory effect

Anti-inflammatory properties of polyphenols of honeyberries counteract metabolic diseases like obesity and diabetes. Anthocyanins in honeyberries have been shown to reduce inflammation in the eyes such as uveitis, rheumatoid arthritis, lichen planus and ulcer. Rinsing the throat and oral cavity with Haskap juice can prevent gum diseases (gingivitis) and tonsillitis. Phenolic extracts, frozen and dried berries can effectively prevent mouth and urinary infections by preventing it from attaching to the mucous membranes.

Neuroprotective effect

The neuroprotective nature of honeyberries has a great impact on memory. They improve visuospatial and episodic memory as well as age-related memory loss. The risk of dementia, neurodegenerative problems and stroke are minimized when taken daily. It also improves metabolic and vascular health, A study conducted by Bell and Williams showed that after consuming honeyberries, Physical and cognitive functions were enhanced due to increased blood flow and glucose in the brain.6

Antidiabetic effect

A diet high in fats shows increased insulin levels, blood glucose, BUN, and glycated haemoglobin. Anthocyanins in honeyberries help regulate increasing insulin and glucose sensitivity and regulate blood sugar levels.7

Other health benefits

Honeyberries have detoxifying properties; they reduce drugs and heavy metal toxicity. They also help in alleviating food allergies. Although honeyberries help in maintaining the gut bacteria and working as a probiotic, they have antibacterial action against bacteria such as Campylobacter jejuni, Bacillus subtilis and Kocuria rhizophila.

Honeyberries have shown that athletes had high endurance and improved performance after consuming honeyberries.  Research has shown that athletes were not tired as quickly as those who did not take honeyberries prior to the test. The anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties that improved vascular function and oxygen intake were thought to be a possible cause for their improved performance.8

Nutritional facts

Honeyberries are super berries. They have four times more antioxidants than blueberries and more Vitamin C than oranges. Although small, the potassium content of haskap is as much as found in a banana. A single cup of haskap berries would give you 4 grams of fibre, 24 % Ascorbic acid or Vitamin C, 25 % Manganese, and 36% Vitamin K, along with 15g of carbohydrates and 85 calories.

Acid and mineral contents 

Vitamin C or ascorbic content ranges from 17 mg-25 mg per 100g, while some cultivars have observed as high as 186 mg/100g of Vitamin C in blue honeysuckle. Honeyberries have organic acids such as Citric acid (62%), malic acid (30%), 6 % of quinic acid and 1 of tartaric acid, along with shikimic acid and fumaric acid. 

The sugar content of honeyberries is less than blueberries and contains Fructose (55%), glucose (43%) and sucrose (3%). The total sugar content of haskap ranges between 15mg/g and 28.85mg/g, whereas blueberry is 78.1mg/g, raspberry and mulberry are 45.5mg/g and 38.2 mg/g, respectively. Therefore, it is a fruit of choice for diabetics.1 

Like other berries, minerals such as potassium, calcium, phosphorus, and magnesium are also found in honeyberry. Potassium content is between 10–15 mg/kg and that of Magnesium is 79–163 mg/kg. The phosphorus content was observed to be as high as 2252 mg/kg, while another study suggested it to be 486mg/kg. Calcium in honeyberries was found to be approximately 1077 mg/kg and has 81.67mg/kg of sodium. However, in a different study the value showed some discrepancies, where calcium content of honeyberry was 442 mg/kg and for sodium was found to be14 mg/kg. The distribution in composition was observed due to environmental factors. The significance of these minerals in honeyberry makes it a food source for better nerve functions, increase vital hormone production, and regulates a normal heart rhythm.

Haskaps are also a great source of phytocompounds. Phenolic compounds are far greater than those found in bilberries. The impact of these compounds on health is the main reason why honeyberries have gained popularity in recent years. 51% of these phenolics are anthocyanins. Anthocyanins have the most antioxidant property compared to all plant flavonoids, more than vitamin e or beta-carotene.  Phenolic acids (24%) are the second most abundant phytocompound found in haskaps. Apart from its cardio and neuroprotective effect they are a preventive medicine for osteoporosis, lung problems, cancers, type 2 diabetes, and gastrointestinal conditions.1 

Have you wondered what compounds contribute to its taste? Tannins and iridoids are responsible for the astringent and bitter taste of the fruit. Tannins are also present in pomegranate peel and persimmon, whereas iridoids that are not commonly found in fruits possess anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties.8

Side effects and other concerns

There isn't enough evidence for the side effects of blue honeysuckle berries. However, one of the sources mentioned the following:

  • An allergic reaction could develop to any edible items. Therefore, always look for itchiness, hives or difficulty breathing that could suggest that you’re allergic to honeyberries
  • Consuming large amounts of honeyberry could cause diarrhoea and abdominal pain
  • They could react with medications such as blood thinners


Honeyberry or blue honeysuckle is a nutritious fruit with several health benefits. A traditional medicinal berry used earlier in Siberia and Japan has taken over the agricultural fields of Europe and Asia. The unique early spring berries has antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, cancer, cardio and neuroprotective properties. Professor Howatsons research on honeyberry has shown to increase performance and endurance in athletes. Honeyberry's nutritious value and health benefits has made it the next ‘super fruit’.  


  1. Gołba M, Sokół-Łętowska A, Kucharska AZ. Health properties and composition of honeysuckle berry lonicera caerulea l. An update on recent studies. Molecules [Internet]. 2020 Feb 9 [cited 2023 Aug 26];25(3):749. Available from:
  2. Liu M, Tan J, He Z, He X, Hou DX, He J, et al. Inhibitory effect of blue honeysuckle extract on high-fat-diet-induced fatty liver in mice. Anim Nutr [Internet]. 2018 Sep [cited 2023 Aug 26];4(3):288–93. Available from:
  3. Auzanneau N, Weber P, Kosińska-Cagnazzo A, Andlauer W. Bioactive compounds and antioxidant capacity of Lonicera caerulea berries: Comparison of seven cultivars over three harvesting years. Journal of Food Composition and Analysis [Internet]. 2018 Mar 1 [cited 2023 Aug 26];66:81–9. Available from:
  4. Rupasinghe HPV, Boehm MMA, Sekhon-Loodu S, Parmar I, Bors B, Jamieson AR. Anti-inflammatory activity of haskap cultivars is polyphenols-dependent. Biomolecules [Internet]. 2015 Jun 2 [cited 2023 Aug 26];5(2):1079–98. Available from:
  5. Jin XH, Ohgami K, Shiratori K, Suzuki Y, Koyama Y, Yoshida K, et al. Effects of blue honeysuckle (Lonicera caerulea L.) extract on lipopolysaccharide-induced inflammation in vitro and in vivo. Experimental Eye Research [Internet]. 2006 May 1 [cited 2023 Aug 26];82(5):860–7. Available from:
  6. Bell L, Williams CM. A pilot dose–response study of the acute effects of haskap berry extract (Lonicera caerulea L.) on cognition, mood, and blood pressure in older adults. Eur J Nutr [Internet]. 2019 Dec 1 [cited 2023 Aug 26];58(8):3325–34. Available from:
  7. Jurgoński A, Juśkiewicz J, Zduńczyk Z. An anthocyanin-rich extract from Kamchatka honeysuckle increases enzymatic activity within the gut and ameliorates abnormal lipid and glucose metabolism in rats. Nutrition [Internet]. 2013 Jun 1 [cited 2023 Aug 26];29(6):898–902. Available from:
  8. Kucharska AZ, Sokół-Łętowska A, Oszmiański J, Piórecki N, Fecka I. Iridoids, phenolic compounds and antioxidant activity of edible honeysuckle berries(Lonicera caerulea var. kamtschatica Sevast.). Molecules [Internet]. 2017 Mar [cited 2023 Aug 26];22(3):405. Available from:
This content is purely informational and isn’t medical guidance. It shouldn’t replace professional medical counsel. Always consult your physician regarding treatment risks and benefits. See our editorial standards for more details.

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Dr Sakina Rashid Khan

MSc Digital health System, Computer Science, University of Strathclyde

Dr Sakina Rashid Khan is a recent graduate of master’s in digital health systems. She has done her undergraduate in MBBS.

She has also completed 1 year foundation year training as a junior doctor.
She has immense interest in the emerging field of digital medicine and innovation in healthcare and has gained skills in designing and data analysis.

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