Linden: Herbal Monograph of the Week

Linden blossoms along the path in a state park

Native to Europe, where it is often called lime tree, linden is easy to grow and provides sweet-smelling blossoms perfect for tea. Commonly planted along the road and down neighborhood streets, I love watching them bloom by the Charles River in Massachusetts.

Linden blossoms and leaves are a favorite tea that always reminds me of one of my youngest cousins. He was prone to congestion and upper respiratory infections, so whenever we babysat him, I’d make him linden tea mixed with juice, which he would drink while we drove along the coast. More often than not, he would end up napping, but perhaps my driving played a role too!

Last week, I mentioned I’d share an herbal tea recipe today, but I realized I should share a little about linden since I often use it in my long infusion as well.

linden or lime blossom are sweet and bees love them
“Honey-bee on lime tree” by gabrielcenkei is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Profile

Tilia spp is part of the Tiliaceae family, and depending on the species can grow up to 130 feet tall. Robyn McKenize, on the Eclectic School of Herbal Medicine page, describes the deciduous tree as having “flowering clusters of fragrant, white or yellowish-green flowers in clustered cymes with veined leaf-like bracts” [1]McKenzie, R., 2020. Linden | Eclectic School Of Herbal Medicine. [online] Eclectic School of Herbal Medicine. Available at: <https://www.eclecticschoolofherbalmedicine.com/linden/>.

Actions/Constituents

Nervine, demulcent, anti-inflammatory, diaphoretic are just a few actions.

It contains volatile oils, flavonoids (including quercetin), mucilage, sedative, tannins, and more.

Uses and preparations of linden blossoms and leaves

Katja Swift and Ryn Midura describe linden as “a hug in a mug,” and this relaxing herb is often used to manage tension [2]Swift K, Midura R. Herbal Medicine For Beginners. Emeryville: Althea Press; 2018, p. 91. Safe for all ages, linden has an amazing history of usage, especially during World War II.

Recently, I’ve using it in a long infusion blend to explore its demulcent actions. When drinking anything with a high concentration of mucilage, it can affect medication efficacy, so it’s best to space them apart.

David Hoffman also suggests it may be useful for some type of headaches, works to prevent hypertension, and can be beneficial for colds and flu [3]Hoffman D. Medical Herbalism: The Science and Practice of Herbal Medicine. Simon and Schuster; 2003, p. 589.

Common Preparations

  • Teas (hot and cold)
  • Tinctures
  • Topical
Linden blossoms and leaves at the end of August

Where to buy dried linden blossoms and leaves

Check your local herb store. In Massachusetts, Cambridge Naturals usually have linden in stock, and they are currently offering curbside pickup. 

Don’t overlook the international section in the grocery store! I’ve been able to grab it there in a pinch. Whenever I look for large amounts, though, I buy linden online.

Recently, I’ve been buying dried herbs from Pacific Botanicals and Frontier Coop the most, but have always been happy with Mountain Rose Herbs. Keep in mind there has been a high demand for herbal ingredients during the pandemic, so the wait times may be much higher than usual. 

Culinary Recipes

I like looking for culinary ways to incorporate herbs into everyday life. Honestly, I am a terrible baker, so while I share these links, I make no claims to trying them myself!

Research 

I’m very interested in possible soothing effects on nerve pain, which Swift and Midura explain can encompass even systemic nerve pain [4]Swift K, Midura R. Herbal Medicine For Beginners. Emeryville: Althea Press; 2018, p. 90. I’ve made St. John’s Wort oil for nerve pain in the past and am curious if these two would blend well together. 

Next Friday, I’ll share my simple overnight infusion to soothe my sore throat from acid reflux.

Are you using linden or perhaps have a family story about it? 

References[+]

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