Liánqiáo | Weeping Forsythia
COMMON NAME (Chinese Name)

Forsythia (Lián Qiáo)


Forsythia Suspensa


 Forsythia and derivatives are powerful dietary antioxidants, even despite their limited bioavailability. Notably, the GI protective effects of oral   forsythia supplementation (with appropriate decoctions) are better than those offered by vitamin C supplements often used for the same purposes. Likewise, forsythia fruit extracts offer better antimicrobial protections against E. coli infections than many other natural and synthetic supplements, as it is the only known natural source of some of the most effective antimicrobial compounds used in fighting off E. coli.

Neither the antimicrobial nor the antiviral properties of forsythia fruit and leaf extracts rely on absorption to take effect. Consequently, there is both anecdotal and empirical evidence to suggest that forsythia decoctions make effective treatments for GI infections like laryngitis, pharyngitis, tonsilitis, and more. Drinking forsythia decoctions may also help reduce inflammation in the throat and airways, as its anti-inflammatory properties are also effective on-contact with various tissues. What’s more, topical applications of these same extracts show promise for treating (helping reduce discomfort and speed healing) skin lesions caused by contact and atopic allergic reactions.

Forsythia bud is categorized in Chinese medicine as an herb that clears heat and resolves toxicity.  This means that it is considered good for lowering high fevers. It is classified as cooling, bitter and connected to the Heart, Gallbladder and Lung meridians. In TCM it’s often combined with Coptis and Baikal skullcap to treat serious infections.


Forsythia supplements make use of the flowers and fruits, most often in hot-water decoctions and infusions. Nevertheless, powdered and encapsulated forsythia derivatives are sometimes also available for easy use. That said, the effects of oral supplementation with forsythia derivatives is limited, as forsythia itself is not significantly bioavailable on its own to absorption during digestion. 


The limited bioavailability of forsythia supplements and derivatives during digestion has an insular effect, meaning that there is little to no risk of toxicity even at high doses. Nevertheless, these supplements may have some impact on insulin resistance and absorption, so people with insulin resistance and/or diabetes should exercise caution when taking forsythia.  Chinese medicine contraindicates forsythia for patients with ulcerated lesions and cold ulcers.  

You should consult with a certified herbalist, physician or other qualified healthcare professional before taking forsythia.



Chen, John, Chen, T &  Cramton, L. Chinese Medical Herbology and Pharmacology Art of Medicine Press, Inc. City of Industry, CA USA. 2003. 1327 pp ISBN: 0-9740635-0-9  http://aompress.com/herbology

Kuo, Ping-Chung, et al. “Chemical Constituents from the Fruits of Forsythia Suspensa and Their Antimicrobial Activity.” BioMed Research International, Hindawi Publishing Corporation, 2014, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3972829/.

Long, Shenfei & Liu, Li & Liu, Sujie & Mahfuz, Shad & Piao, Xiangshu. (2019). Effects of Forsythia Suspense Extract as an Antibiotics Substitute on Growth Performance, Nutrient Digestibility, Serum Antioxidant Capacity, Fecal Escherichia coli Concentration and Intestinal Morphology of Weaned Piglets. Animals. 9. 729. 10.3390/ani9100729.

Lu, T., et al. “Protective Effects of Forsythia Suspensa Extract against Oxidative Stress Induced by Diquat in Rats.” Food and Chemical Toxicology, Pergamon, 28 Dec. 2009, https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0278691509006000.

Sung, Yoon-Young, et al. “Forsythia Suspensa Suppresses House Dust Mite Extract-Induced Atopic Dermatitis in NC/Nga Mice.” Plos One, vol. 11, no. 12, Sept. 2016, doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0167687.

Wang, Zhaoyi, et al. “Phytochemistry, Pharmacology, Quality Control and Future Research of Forsythia Suspensa (Thunb.) Vahl: A Review.” Journal of Ethnopharmacology, Elsevier, 5 Sept. 2017, https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0378874117302222.

Xu, Xiaoqing, et al. “The Mechanism of Phillyrin from the Leaves of Forsythia Suspensa for Improving Insulin Resistance.” BioMed Research International, vol. 2019, Feb. 2019, pp. 1–7., doi:10.1155/2019/3176483.

Zhou, Wei, et al. “Improvement of Intestinal Absorption of Forsythoside A in Weeping Forsythia Extract by Various Absorption Enhancers Based on Tight Junctions.” Phytomedicine, Urban & Fischer, 22 Oct. 2012, https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0944711312003509.


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