Health benefits of Linden (Lime Flower)

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Health benefits of Lime Flower

Linden (Lime Flower) Quick Facts
Name: Linden (Lime Flower)
Scientific Name: Tilia cordata
Origin Europe from Britain, through central Scandinavia, to central Russia, and south to central Spain, Italy, Greece, Bulgaria, Romania, Turkey, the Caucasus, and western Asia
Shapes Dry nut-like drupe 6–7 mm long by 4 mm broad
Health benefits Improves Digestion and Reduces Cold and Flu
Tilia cordata, commonly called littleleaf linden, Lime Flower, Small-leaved Lime, Small-leaved Linden is a deciduous tree native to Europe from Britain, through central Scandinavia, to central Russia, and south to central Spain, Italy, Greece, Bulgaria, Romania, Turkey, the Caucasus, and western Asia. It has been widely planted in the U.S. as an ornamental shade tree because of its attractive foliage, dense, low-branched, and pyramidal to ovate form and tolerance for urban conditions. Genus name comes from the Latin name for the linden or lime tree, known in southern Sweden as linn and the origin of the name Linnaeus. Linden trees belong to the genus “Tilia”. Members of this genus have also been referred to as basswood or lime.

Linden flowers have been used as an herbal remedy for centuries in Europe. The Romans placed linden trees in the center of their towns, in the belief they induced a calming effect. The infusion was often referred to as the “nectar of kings “because of its powerful health benefits.

Plant Description

Lime flower is a deciduous tree that grows about 20–40 m (60-80 feet) tall, diameter 1/3 to 1/2 the height and trunk is up to 1 m diameter. The plant is found growing in woods on most fertile soils, especially limestone; it is commonly found on wooded limestone cliffs. It prefers moist, well-drained soil, but can survive flooding; it is not highly drought tolerant. It does not do well in soils with high salinity. The plant has brown-red twigs in the shade, but become shiny in sunlight. Barks are smooth and grayish when young, firm with vertical ridges and horizontal fissures when older. Crown is rounded in a formal oval shape to pyramidal.

Leaf

Leaves are alternately arranged, rounded to triangular-ovate, 3–8 cm long and broad, mostly hairless except for small tufts of brown hair in the leaf vein axils – the leaves are distinctively heart-shaped.

Flower & Fruit

The plant consists of small yellow-green hermaphrodite flowers that are produced in clusters of five to eleven in early summer with a leafy yellow-green subtending bract and have a rich, heavy scent. Flowering usually takes place during Jun to July. When a tree is in full bloom, bees often visit in such abundant numbers that humming can be heard many feet from the tree. Flowers give way to dry nut-like drupe 6–7 mm long by 4 mm broad containing one, or sometimes two, brown seeds (infertile fruits are globose), downy at first becoming smooth at maturity, and not ribbed.

Health Benefits of Linden

Linden has been used to induce sweating for feverish colds and infections, reduce nasal congestion, and relieve throat irritation and cough. Linden has sedative effects and has been used to treat nervous palpitations and high blood pressure. It has also been used in lotions for itchy skin. However, there is limited clinical information. Let’s take a slightly closer look at the many health benefits of linden.

1. Prevents Cancer

Linden consists of impressive amount of antioxidants which is actually a certain options for preventing and treating various forms of cancer. Those antioxidant compounds, like quercetin and coumarin, helps to prevent free radicals from causing apoptosis or mutation in healthy cells, which often lead to cancer.(1)

2. Prevents Chronic Diseases

Linden consists of antioxidant compounds like quercetin and kaempferol both act as free radical scavengers, helping to eliminate these harmful byproducts of cellular respiration from your system and improving your overall health by preventing chronic disease. These are particularly effective for protecting the skin against signs of aging and exposure to the sun as you age.(2)

3. Improves Digestion

Linden tea is one of the best options if you’re suffering from an upset stomach, bloating, constipation, or cramping.  Just sip on a cup of linden tea and relax your stomach in no time. The mixture of compounds and chemicals found in linden helps to reduce gastrointestinal discomfort and stimulate the proper digestion and excretion of food.(3)

4. Reduces Cold and Flu

Apart from stimulating sweating to break a fever, linden also contributes to other symptoms of cold and flu, like inflamed or swollen membranes throughout the mouth and respiratory tracts. This can help to reduce coughing and irritation, so linden is often trusted to soothe sore throats and calm coughing. Linden tea can also help to eliminate congestion, making it a true triple-threat to colds, and represents a major immune system booster.(4)

5. Relieves Anxiety

Linden tea is often used to cure an anxiety problem, as its soothing properties have been known to reduce mental stress and anxiety. If you suffer from mood swings or unexplained chronic stress, a cup of linden tea can be a very wise addition to your health regimen. It has a minor effect on your hormone levels, inducing a state of relaxation for the body and mind.(5)

6. Removes Inflammation

Linden tea is equally beneficial for those who suffer from tension headaches and other inflammatory conditions, including arthritis and gout. Linden tea is useful in eliminating those painful symptoms. Just as it reduces the inflammation in the respiratory tracts, it also helps to lower blood pressure and remove inflammation in the blood vessels, thus preventing the small capillary back-ups that so commonly lead to headaches, as well as the swollen tissue of arthritis sufferers.(6)

7. Detoxifies the Body

P-coumaric acid is another very beneficial organic compounds found in linden that can be found in linden tea. This is known as a diaphoretic, which means that it encourages sweating, which is a very effective way of releasing toxins from the body, along with excess salts, fat, water, and foreign substances. This quality also makes linden valuable for people suffering from fevers, as inducing sweating can help lower a fever faster and prevent permanent damage to organ systems.(7)

Traditional uses and benefits of Linden

  • Lime flowers are a popular domestic remedy for a number of ailments, mainly in the treatment of colds and other ailments where sweating is desirable.
  • Tea made from the fresh or dried flowers is antispasmodic, diaphoretic, expectorant, hypotensive, laxative and sedative.
  • Lime flower tea is also used internally in the treatment of indigestion, hypertension, hardening of the arteries, hysteria, nervous vomiting or palpitation.
  • Charcoal made from the wood is used in the treatment of gastric or dyspeptic disturbances.
  • It is also made into a powder then applied to burns or sore places.
  • It protects the skin from aging and sun exposure.
  • It prevents the growth and development of cancerous cells in the body. It prevents body from various cancer forms.
  • Tea reduces the pain related with Arthritis, Gout, headache and other inflammatory conditions.
  • Tea reduces gastrointestinal discomfort. It stimulates proper digestion and excretion of food.
  • Migraines and cardiovascular complaints can be relieved with tea made from linden flower.
  • Sap and the flower are also used in ointments for itchy skin.
  • Bark is used as a poultice for different injuries including bruises, boils and carbuncles.
  • Dried flowers can be added to a bath as well which helps control hysteria, vomiting and most anxiety related disorders.
  • Leaves help reduce fevers.
  • Wood from the tree can be used for liver and gallbladder problems along with tackling cellulite.
  • Flower tea mixed with sodium bicarbonate can be a good wash for an irritated throat or for inflamed tonsils.
  • Lime flower tea compression with cornstarch with cold water can help dark rings around the eyes.
  • The oil from linden flowers is also used extensively in aromatherapy.
  • The essential oil is useful for relaxation, thinning the blood, reducing fever, decrease night sweats and get rid of phlegm.

Culinary Uses

  • Monofloral honey is produced by bees using the trees and is considered highly valuable.
  • Young leaves raw make an excellent salad or sandwich filling, they are mild tasting and somewhat mucilaginous.
  • A very acceptable chocolate substitute can be made from a paste of the ground-up flowers and immature fruit.
  • Popular herb tea is made from the flowers; it has a sweet, fragrant pleasant flavor.
  • Sap – harvested in the spring is sweet and can be used as a drink or concentrated into a syrup

How to Consume Linden

While it is occasionally used for culinary dishes, the most effective way of obtaining linden’s health benefits is in its medicinal forms, where the properties are more concentrated.

Remedies

Main preparations: Capsules, infusions, tinctures

  • Capsules: In its most concentrated medicinal form, linden capsules can relieve muscle spasms because of its antispasmodic properties, as well as aid in digestion.
  • Infusions: One of the most popular medicinal forms, linden infusions has long been used for treating insomnia, due to its sedative properties. Linden hot teas have also been used soothes airways.
  • Tinctures: A linden tincture can relieve muscle spasms, thanks to its antispasmodic properties. It can also promote better quality sleep with its sedative properties and aid in digestion.

How to Make Linden Tea

To begin you can use the flowers, leaves or bark. But the best way to make this tea is with flowers or leaves. So let’s see just how you make linden tea:

Leaves

Use around 15 grams of dried leaves or 5 grams of fresh for each liter of water. Pour hot not boiling water over the leaves and rest for 5 minutes. Now enjoy your relaxing linden tea.

Flowers

The flowers can be used fresh, dried and in powered form for making linden tea. Pour 250ml of hot water over 2 teaspoons of fresh flowers (use 4 teaspoons if using dried). Leave for 10 minutes then enjoy.

Other facts

  • Tilia cordata is widely grown as an ornamental tree.
  • White, finely-grained wood is not a structurally strong material but a classic choice for refined woodcarvings such as those by Grinling Gibbons for medieval altars.
  • It is commonly used for lightweight projects such as carved spoons, light furniture, bee hives and honeycomb frames.
  • Fiber from the inner bark is used to make mats, shoes, baskets, ropes etc.
  • Fiber is also suitable for cloth.
  • Fiber can also be used for making paper.
  • Wood is soft, white, easily carved and is very suitable for carving domestic items and small non-durable items.
  • Charcoal made from the wood is used for drawing.
  • Although referred to as the lime tree, it does not grow, or taste like the lime fruit.

Precautions

  • If the flowers used for making tea are too old, they may produce symptoms of narcotic intoxication.
  • It may cause allergy. Consult your doctor or physician before consuming.
  • Avoid use by pregnant and breast feeding women.

References:

http://www.floracatalana.net/tilia-cordata-mill-

https://www.itis.gov/servlet/SingleRpt/SingleRpt?search_topic=TSN&search_value=505507#null

https://npgsweb.ars-grin.gov/gringlobal/taxonomydetail.aspx?id=36675

http://www.pfaf.org/user/plant.aspx?latinname=tilia+cordata

http://www.missouribotanicalgarden.org/PlantFinder/PlantFinderDetails.aspx?kempercode=a918

https://plants.usda.gov/core/profile?symbol=TICO2

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tilia_cordata

http://www.umm.edu/health/medical/altmed/herb/linden

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