I recently spent a month in France to visit my husband’s family. Like most herbalists on vacation I viewed this trip as a great opportunity to see lots of different plants! We traveled all over France, staying with different friends and family, and everyone very generously took us to medieval herb gardens and other botanical sanctuaries.
One “herb” we didn’t have to go searching for was linden. These incredibly beautiful and aromatic trees are EVERYWHERE in France. They line the streets of Paris, drape across the boardwalks at lakes in the alps, and shade the castles in the south.
Walking through the villages of France I quickly learned that you can often smell the sweet scent of a linden tree before you find it with your eyes. More than once my nose caught the perfume of linden and we were off to find the culprit.
[Linden] is one of the ingredients of my own special ‘tea of happiness’ that will bring you peaceful nights, joyful awakenings and happy days, if you will take it regularly. – Maurice Mességué, Health Secrets of Plants and Herbs
The above quote comes to us from the infamous French herbalist, Maurice Mességué. Linden flower tea may be the most popular herbal tea in France. Linden’s lovely tasting flowers and leaves are frequently used for teas and many lotions also include this wonderful herb.
Linden is one of those sterling examples of a plant that has it all. It is delicious, it is gentle enough for children and the elderly, yet it has also been employed for serious acute problems.
Linden Flower Tea Benefits for the Heart
These days I most often hear people speak of linden flower tea as a remedy for the heart, especially for hypertension. One way to understand how this works is by thinking of it as a relaxing nervine. Linden relaxes tense musculature, bringing relief and calmness. We know how it feels to walk around with our shoulders tense to our ears, jumpy and on edge. That alone can raise blood pressure! Perhaps because it is a relaxing nervine, or maybe because of more specific actions, linden is also a vasodilator, something that dilates blood vessels. This in itself can lower blood pressure.
[Linden] also cleans the blood and makes it more fluid. This means that it is a valuable defense against arteriosclerosis, phlebitis, angina and heart attacks. Naturally one must not expect much from it after these troubles have already occurred: I am recommending [it] as a preventative, and as this you cannot start taking it soon enough.
– Maurice Mességué, Health Secrets of Plants and Herbs
Linden Flower Tea Benefits for the Nervous System
As a relaxing nervine, linden flower tea soothes and calms the nervous system. It can be specific for anxiety that is accompanied by tension: tense shoulders, muscle cramping, tension headaches, painful menstrual cramps, etc. Also think of it for difficulty sleeping due to excessive tension.
Have a restless child who isn’t interested in bedtime? Take David Hoffman’s advice for a bedtime bath:
Herbs such as Tilia [Linden] and Trifolium [Red Clover] added to a bath as an infusion will have a calming effect and will prove useful before bedtime. – David Hoffman, Medical Herbalism
Historically, linden is listed for use during mild hysteria and even for epilepsy and convulsions. I don’t know of any herbalists currently using it in this way but looking at historical references can give us new resources and ideas to use herbs in ways that may have been lost to us.
Linden Flower Tea Benefits for Dryness
Linden flower tea is both demulcent and astringent, making it a perfect remedy for excessive dryness. The demulcent qualities add moisture to the body, while the astringent qualities tighten and tone tissues, helping to keep moisture in.
Think of linden flower tea for dry and irritated rashes. Besides taking it internally as a tea it can also be applied externally as a poultice or used as a bath herb. Messegue recommends it for any type of skin inflammation such as burns, boils and abscesses.
Linden flower tea is one of my favorite summertime drinks. It is cooling and moistening, quenching thirst while tasting aromatically heavenly.
Linden Flower Tea Benefits for Digestion
As an aromatic herb that is also anti-spasmodic linden can be used for indigestion or even stagnant digestion. It is especially useful for those high strung, type A people with a red face, hot skin and a boisterous demeanor who have trouble digesting foods due to excitement or stress.
As a mild astringent linden can be used for diarrhea, especially diarrhea accompanied by cramping and other painful digestive symptoms.
Linden Flower Tea Benefits for Colds and the Flu
Another common use for linden flower tea is during colds and flus. As a relaxing nervine and vasodilator it both releases tension in the musculature and aids circulation to the skin, helping to move heat out of the body. It’s specific for a higher fever accompanied by tension and restlessness.
It’s also used as a pectoral herb for use in catarrhal symptoms such as bronchitis, coughing, congestion, etc. Think of its soothing mucilaginous textures for sore and irritated throats. Some herbals refer to linden being used for people with asthma.
Dr. Sharol Tilgner reports its use has been shown to shorten the duration of infectious viral conditions such as cold sores and other herpes virus outbreaks.
Uses for Linden Bark
In France the bark was commonly sold as a gentle laxative. My friend and colleague Christophe Bernard regularly uses linden bark as a depurative herb for the liver.
Linden as a Food
I’ve never eaten linden myself but in researching for this article I ran across several references using linden as food.
The leaves and flowers can be pounded into a flour that can then be mixed with other flours such as wheat to make baked goods. This was commonly done in Europe during WWII when food was scarce.
The young linden leaves can be eaten when fresh. I’ve seen recipes that called for linden leaves as salad greens as well as sandwich toppings. The inner bark is also edible and the sap can be boiled down into a syrup.
Herbalist Ananda Wilson tells me the green fruits can be eaten as well.
Other Uses for Linden
Linden trees have been an important source for workable wood. It boasts a light soft wood that lends itself to carving.
The inner bark can be used to make various fibrous tools such as baskets, ropes, mats, paper and cloth.
Read more related articles about linden tea http://www.lindentea.net/
http://www.lindentea.net/Linden-Tea-Benefits/ linden tea health benefits
http://www.lindentea.net/Organic/ how to make organic linden tea