Parts used medicinally: Flowers
Linden (also commonly known as Lime Flower) is a calming sedative and is commonly used to treat anxiety and nervousness. It's diaphoretic (sweat inducing) properties means it is often a part of fever remedies and its ability to relax blood vessels and cause them to widen make it useful in helping with hypertension.
One of the most intoxicating scents of the summer and when the linden trees are in full bloom they are literally vibrating with the buzzing of bees. The aroma is of the most delicious honey and for a few short weeks it permeates the air. It is no wonder that the flowers of this tree are most prized in herbal infusions and that their key gift is to relax us and lull us into a state of calm. In France, there is even a tradition of putting fractious children to sleep under the branches of the tree.
Linden or lime flower is not to be confused with the citrus lime which is in an entirely different plant family. These trees have long been prized both for the flowers and for the wood – also known as basswood that is pale in colour and can be very intricately carved. Many medieval churches have used basswood for decoration and as the name implies it can be used to make stringed instruments.
Did You Know?
- WWII soldiers drank the infusion to help keep them calm and doctors were using it as a tranquiliser at around the same time.
- Judicial meetings in Germany were held under a Linden tree in the Middle Ages. Verdicts often came back 'sub tilia' meaning 'under Linden'. It was a common belief that the tree helped unearth the truth. If you drive through Germany today you can often see pairs of Linden trees in the countryside that are preserved because of their historical importance.
- The flowers are listed in the German Pharmacopoeia (official list of medicines) and is approved in the German Commission E monographs for use in treating the common cold and coughs.
Linden & Me
- If you have a cold, try drinking a hot infusion of lime flowers while wrapped up warm (or even in a hot bath!). The lime flowers promote sweating which can help your body to fight off the virus.
- Lime flowers make a lovely infusion to help you get to sleep at night. Simply infuse a handful of the flowers in boiled water for at least 5 minutes or look out for a blend that includes lime flowers in the ingredients.
- If you are lucky enough to come upon a lime in flower with leaves close to the ground you can lick the sticky, sugary sap off the leaves.
If you are pregnant/breastfeeding or on drug medication, be sure to consult with a professional before trying these remedies.