The Linden tree (Tilia cordite Mill. and Tilia platyphyllos Scop.) represents love, harmony, vitality and security. Its heart-shaped leaves bring meaning to the symbolism.
In ancient Greece, the Linden tree was considered a symbol of healers. Today healers on the island of Crete, recognize linden blossoms and linden tea benefits among their oldest known remedies. In fact, the Greek name for the linden tree, “Philyra”, derives from Crete, where the tree’s flowering blossoms were prized for their healing properties.
Hildegard and the Linden Tree
Early authors of herbal remedies recorded very little about the use of linden tree flowers. Records of their use first appears in the late Middle Ages. Hildegard von Bingen was among the first to appreciate a wider application of the linden tree, including its flowers. In addition to its blossoms, she credited the roots and the bark with healing power. Hildegard, as a mystic, ascribed magical powers to the wood.
Hildegard recommended different linden tree plant parts as remedies to address minor symptoms of gout. In addition, she considered the linden tree a protector of good health, and proposed we use it around us as a shield of good health.
“The linden tree has great warmth, and that warmth starts in the root and it rises into the branches and leaves. (…) And in summer, when you go to sleep, put fresh linden leaves on the eyes, covering your whole face to make your eyes clear and clean. For those with gout, take the earth, around the root of the linden tree, and bring it into the fire to give it heat. And in the steam bath one pours water over it and bathe so. Do this for nine days, and he will be healed.” – Hildegard of Bingen
Linden blossoms as a healthy remedy
Today, linden blossoms are listed and recognized in European pharmacopoeias as the official remedy Flores Tilia. They contain flavonoids, caffeic acid (among other acids), tannins, mucilages and essential oils. Flavonoids help improve and strengthen circulation.
These substances contribute to the flowers anti-inflammatory, warming, analgesic and soothing effects. They also often appear in sweat cures to promote detoxification.
For this reason, linden blossom tea serves as an important sweat-inducing agent for colds, enforcing increased strength in resistance. The substances contained in linden blossoms possess antipyretic (fever reducing), antispasmodic (involuntary muscle spasm) and antitussive (cough relief) effects.
In addition to the sweat-inducing effect, the active ingredient contains mildly laxative and slightly diuretic properties.
Linden blossom tea benefits
Surprisingly, linden flower tea brings relief to people with minor sleep disorders, and those experiencing persistent stress. Linden tea benefits anxiety, indigestion, hypertension, nervous heartbeat, stress or panic. Due to its positive and calming effect on the heartbeat, Linden blossom tea serves as a remedy for emotionally induced high blood pressure.
Taken daily, linden blossom tea serves elderly people with symptoms of arteriosclerosis. In addition, linden blossoms appear in traditional German medicine for mild bladder and kidney problems.
Gathering linden blossom in nature
About one to three days after the flowering period (summer linden – starting in mid-May, winter linden – beginning of June) the flowers harvest with a high petal. The best time for this is a sunny morning, because the active ingredient content is highest at this time.
Collect linden flowers in a basket and subsequently spread-out on a linen sheet. Attempt to dry linden flowers quickly by turning the flowers several times. Store the dried flowers in a dark and airtight tea tin.
Preparing linden blossom tea
For a large pot of linden blossom tea, combine a handful of dried linden blossoms with 1 liter of hot water – 2 teaspoons fresh blossoms, or 1 teaspoon dried linden blossoms per cup. Allow 5 minutes to steep, before running through a sieve, and drink as much and as hot as possible.
Linden tea benefits the symptoms of colds and flu. It supports and strengthens the immune system. The diuretic effect of linden blossoms helps improve bladder and kidney function, while the antispasmodic effect alleviates stomach pain and abdominal discomfort as well as headaches and mild migraines.
Linden tea benefits as mild expectorant
Linden blossoms serve as a mild expectorant, loosening thick mucus, relaxing the bronchi, and moderating coughs. Hildegard’s successor in monastic medicine, Sebastian Kneipp praised linden blossom tea for respiratory issues.
Making linden blossom honey
Sweeten the tea and intensify linden tea benefits by adding linden blossom honey. Add about 1 cup of linden blossom to 1 glass of honey, which should be as liquid as possible, and mix carefully. After as little as 24 hours the honey infuses with the flavor of linden blossoms.
Linden blossom bath (not for use, in case of fever)
For a relaxing and healthy bath, combine 2 handfuls of linden blossom with 1 liter of hot water. Allow the combination to steep for 10 minutes, before filtering and adding the water to a bath.
This bath also provides relief for mild forms of rheumatism, and helps calm nervous conditions or “over-excited” children.
Cold Linden Blossom Tea
Once cold symptoms have officially set-in, consider using linden blossoms a little differently. A cold infusion of linden blossoms quenches thirst with a refreshing effect on hot summer days. Also used for mild hot flashes related to menopause.
Make a linden blossom infusion in cold water by combining 1 handful of fresh linden blossoms with 1 liter of water. Allow the combination to steep for 6-8 hours. Once complete, this extract turns characteristic red. After physical exercise or massage, cold linden tea promotes excretion of dissolved waste products and supports cleansing of the body.
Linden Blossoms for Beauty
The sweat inducing effects of linden blossoms ranks among linden tea benefits. Farnesol, the essential oil of linden blossoms, prevents some of the odor that normally accompanies body perspiration. For this reason, farnesol often appears as an active ingredient, contained in many deodorants.
Linden – care and beauty for the eyes
Hildegard of Bingen recommended placing fresh linden leaves on the eyes to clear and clean the eyes.
Linden Eye Shadow
Women with sensitive eyes know the challenge of finding suitable eye shadow. For those in search of an alternative to ready-made products, try a homemade linden tree eye shadow. It adds to your beauty regimen, while contributing to skin care, and soothing reddened eyes.
For the preparation, allow a piece of a linden branch (along with its bark) to slowly carbonize.
Weigh 2 grams of the resulting linden charcoal and rub in a mortar to powder, removing pieces that appear too large. Fill the linden wood charcoal powder into a small glass, and slowly add drops of a mixture, including 7ml glycerine and 3ml water. 6 to 8 drops normally does the trick. Stir each drop carefully until the powder lightly lumps together to firmly compress.
Spread the resulting combination on the eyelids with your finger. If you like, add dried rose petals, mallow petals or royal candle petals for a little color.
Topical Linden Blossom Facial Tonic
An extension of linden tea benefits, linden blossom water serves more specifically for facial care. Simply take the rest out of the teapot and use it to clean the skin as usual. If you want to prepare the facial toner, blanch 1 tablespoon full of linden blossoms with 250 ml hot water and let the tea cool down. Spray it on the skin for an invigorating facial toner or use it to wash the face. This soothes tense and irritated facial skin.
Linden blossom water softens the hair and relaxes the scalp.