This article is all about linden flower tea benefits and linden tea benefits.
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.
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.
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
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.
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
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.
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
As a mild astringent linden can be used for diarrhea, especially diarrhea accompanied by cramping and other painful digestive symptoms.
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.
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.
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.
Not too much modern research has been done on linden, but at Greenmedinfo.com I found studies showing it inhibits proliferation of lymphoma cell lines, it is able to reduce pain and, when used as a relaxing nervine, it does not affect motor function.
I’ve never eaten linden myself but in researching for this article I ran across several references using linden as food.
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.
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.
Linden makes a wonderfully refreshing linden flower tea. You can simply steep one teaspoon of the leaves and flowers in a mug for 15 minutes. Be sure to cover it while steeping. This is a pleasant and slightly mucilaginous tea.
can also make it into a nourishing herbal infusion by steeping one
ounce of the leaves and flowers in a quart of water for four hours or
overnight. This will have a stronger therapeutic action than the
tea. Some people prefer to only use the flowers for teas and infusions.
Linden can be eaten; both the young leaves and flowers are great on salads.
The flowers can be infused into honey for a tasty and soothing treat. You can see an article I wrote on linden honey here.
For external purposes you could make a poultice or fomentation from the leaves and flowers.
You could also infuse it into oil to use in salves or creams or even try it as a bath herb.
Linden can also be used as an alcohol extract or tincture. The tannin content indicates it would be a good choice for a glycerin extraction and you might even try it in vinegar.
Hopefully you have a linden tree growing near you. If not check with your local herbal apothecary.
In Europe they commonly use Tilia cordata. In North America we have Tilia americana. As far as I know all species of Tilia can be used interchangeably.
Linden trees grow to be a tall stately deciduous tree, up to 130 feet in height.
species are native to practically all northern latitudes and they are
often frequently planted as ornamentals. Here is the range map for Tilia species.
The leaves are shaped like a heart and have serrated edges. They form an alternate leaf pattern.
Linden flowers are white to yellowish and they grow in cymes or clusters. When in bloom you can smell their delicious scent from far away.
Linden is a delicious herb that can be enjoyed as a simple after-dinner tea. It can also be used for improving heart health, supporting nervous system health, and for a variety of symptoms related to upper respiratory viruses.
If you ever get a chance to visit a linden tree while blooming in the summer, do! The bees devour these trees, creating a very soothing buzz that surrounds the blooming tree.
Rosalee is an herbalist and author of the bestselling book Alchemy of Herbs: Transform Everyday Ingredients Into Foods & Remedies That Heal. She's a registered herbalist with the American Herbalist Guild and the Education Director for LearningHerbs. Read about how Rosalee went from having a terminal illness to being a bestselling author in her full story here.