Common Names: Linden, Lime Tree, Basswood
Scientific Name: Tilia sp.
Varieties: 30 known (and 80 cultivated) species with varying medicinal qualities. The most well-known medicinally are: T. cordata, T. americana, T. platyphyllos
Taste: sweet, slightly bitter
Energetics: aromatic, cooling, soothing
Parts Used: young leaves, buds, and flowers. Bark, sap, and leaves have also been used as food (Forêt, 2015).
Actions: Anti-inflammatory, antispasmodic, anxiolytic, astringent, cardio-tonic, demulcent, diaphoretic, diuretic, hypotensive, nervine, stomachic, vasodilator
Constituents: Calming volatile oils, quercetin glycosides, kaempferol glycosides, mucilage (Tilgner, 1999)
,The sweet scent and delicious taste of Linden alone is enough to make anyone fall in love with this tasty tree... not to mention its long list of healing properties.
The genus Tilia includes 30 species with varying degrees of medicine. The most popular Tilia species, T. cordata or Littleaf Linden, lights up European streets with its lovely aroma. It has been used for centuries as a nervine; in fact, the oldest Tilia cordata is 2000 years old, residing in Gloucestershire, England and is still producing medicine today (Kleiman & Cavanaugh, 2018). Tilia americana, American Linden or Basswood, is native to the eastern United States. Basswood is a bit less medicinal than its European relative, although it is still an effective remedy for an overburdened nervous system.
Linden can grow over 130 feet and is resilient to environmental pollutants and temperature extremes. Linden’s solid, steady and strong nature indicate its ability to strengthen, protect, and help its users rise above the struggles of life.
As a gentle yet effective nervine, Linden is equally beneficial to the very young, very old and feeble, those on medication, and everyone in between. Tilia is specific for nervous tension held in the heart. Linden’s action in both the cardiovascular and nervous system illustrate how the body doesn’t ever operate in isolated systems. As a vasodilator and relaxant to heart musculature, Linden gives an oxygenated sense of relief, easing the mind and calming the heart at the same time. This complementary set of actions is why Linden is known as a prophylactic for arteriosclerosis and hypertension (Tilgner, 1999). But don’t start enjoying Linden’s benefit before it’s too late: according to famous French herbalist Maurice Mességué, “One cannot start taking [Linden] soon enough”.
Consider Linden for any dry, hot, inflamed, uncomfortable states. Dry throats and fussy fevers are soothed by its cooling, demulcent qualities. This demulcent has the duel benefit of being an astringent too, meaning it tones weepy, leaky tissue and ensuring that moisture is locked in (Forêt, 2015). The same goes for hot, irritated, upset stomachs. Linden after meals brings calm and easy digestion.
Use Linden for the breadth of anxiety disorders, from grief, fear, depression, insomnia, shock from trauma, and general nervous tension. Linden aids the adrenals, the tiny but powerful organs that pump out stress hormones. Linden has been shown to possess corticosteroid-sparing properties during high-stress situations. Linden can also shorten the duration of viral infections (Tilgner, 1999). Its cooling qualities can shorten a fever and improve a cranky, diarrhea-prone digestion.
Dosage & Preparation: Pour just boiled filtered water over 1-2 tsp of fresh or dried leaves. Steep for 10 min and drink 1-3 c/day. You can also make a cold infusion by pouring room temperature water over leaves/flowers and letting slow steep over night. Drink cool in the morning for a refreshing start to the day. As a fresh or dried tincture, take 1 dropperful 1-3 times a day. Young leaves in the spring can be enjoyed as a salad green.
Plays Well With:
Nervous system: Damiana, Lemon Balm, Oat, and Licorice (found in our Take it Easy Tea!)
Cardiovascular System: Hawthorne, Motherwort, Pomegranate
Digestion: Marshmallow, Tulsi, and Chamomile for hot, cranky digestion; Cardamom, Orange peel, Rose, and Licorice for after-dinner digestif
Throats and Colds: Marshmallow, Cherry bark, Licorice, and Elderberry
Kleiman, J., Cavanaugh, N. (2018). Open Up Your Heart and Let Linden Play! Railyard Apothecary
Tilgner, S. (1999). Herbal medicine from the heart of the earth. Creswell, OR: Wise Acres Press, Inc.
Keyes, J. Linden. Herbs for Mental Health. Retrieved 2019. https://herbsformentalhealth.com/linden/
Forêt, R. (2015). Linden Flower Tea Benefits. Herbs with Rosalee.
Flickr Creative Commons - Tilia pictures by Johannes Shwanbeck, Marco Verch, and Joshua Allen
Eileen Schaeffer & Amy Wright
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