The Song of the Lime Tree Fairy
Bees! Bees! Come to the trees
Where the Lime has hung her treasures;
Come, come, hover and hum;
Come and enjoy your pleasures!
The feast is ready, the guests are bidden;
Under the petals the honey is hidden;
Like pearls shine the drops of sweetness there,
And the scent of Lime-flowers fills the air.
But soon these blossoms pretty and pale
Will all be gone; and the leaf-like sail
Will bear the little round fruits away;
So bees! Bees! Come while you may!
“The Complete Book of the Flower Fairies”
by Cicely Mary Barker
Common Names: Lime Flowers, Basswood
Botanical Name: Tilia platyphyllos, T. cordata, T. americana, T. europaea
Plant Family: Tiliaceae
Parts Used: Flowers, buds and leaves
Actions: Nervine, hypotensive, calming tonic (Systems affected: Liver, Nerves, Digestion)
Habitat: Tilia americana is found throughout North America and T. cordite is commonly growing and collected in Europe. They can be used interchangeably. It’s native to northern latitudes, and is planted as a common ornamental tree along roadsides or in parks. It grows in full sun or sample shade. Linden is an adaptable tree and can grow to be quite hardy.
Collection: Have you ever wandered downtown and smelled something sweet blowing in the wind? Or followed a humming sound in the distance just to find yourself under a tree where the honey bees are lined up waiting to get at the sweet flowers of a Linden tree? Come mid-late summer, Linden buds are blooming.
When harvesting Linden flowers, try to do so as they begin to open. Harvest the buds, flowers and new leaflets as you go. Some folks prefer to cut branches and then pick the desired parts off, some folks slide their hand along the branch and scrape off buds, new leaves, flowers and mature leaves. I tend to pick the buds, new leaves and flowers one by one or by the handful. I collect from trees that would be far too tall to harvest, if I were to cut back the lower branches or strip all of its photosynthesizing parts away…
Place a handful of dry Linden flowers in a quart jar then pour hot or cold water to fill the jar to the top. Cover with a lid and let this infusion sit for up to 8 hours (best left overnight). Open the jar in the morning, strain the flowers out (setting them aside for a second or even third infusion) and drink the strong herbal infusion. Feel the slipperiness of slide down your throat. This demulcent property helps reduce inflammation, moisturize the skin and soothe the digestive system. Try a poultice or fomentation with these flowers and see how they reduce inflammation topically… You might find it helping with burns, boils and abscesses.
Linden is a common tea throughout the UK and Europe. Perhaps its due to its calming qualities? Anxiousness, tense muscles, headache tension, cramps (muscular and menstrual), sleeplessness; Linden calms the nervous system. Linden is an amazing remedy for stress and panic. It allows the body to release tension, breathe and rest. A tea of Linden can help a restless child before bed, astudent before a test, or an overworked adult.
Colds, Influenza, fevers
While Linden relieves tension in the musculature, it aids circulation to the skin; hence, moving heat out of the body. Ever have a child with a high fever and tension? Give them some Linden tea to unwind the tension while reducing the body’s temperature.
As I stated above, Linden is slippery. It’s a soothing, mucilaginous tea that can help a dry, irritated and sore throat. Linden helps in catarrhal symptoms like bronchitis or coughing. People with asthma can drink this tea for relief as well.
Hypertension & the Heart
Linden is a vasodilator (which dilates blood vessels). In and of itself it helps lower blood pressure. This quality of Linden in addition to being a relaxing nerving makes it a remedy for the heart, especially for hypertension. It is known as a prophylactic against arteriosclerosis and hypertension, and also reduces raised blood pressure due to nervous tension.
Skin & Digestion
Linden is an astringent, demulcent and an anti-spasmodic. Its astringency helps tighten and tonify the skin tissues while also helping internally with diarrhea and painful digestion. The demulcent quality adds moisture to the body, helping reduce and soothing inflammation both internally and externally. The anti-spasmodic qualities can help high strung people that are experiencing indigestion. It will help stagnant digestion while calming down a tense tummy.
1 cup fresh flowers
1 pint boiling water
juice of ½ lemon
Put the flowers in a jug, pour on the boiling water, cover and leave to infuse for 5 minutes. Drink a cup while hot, and add the lemon juice to the rest and chill in the refrigerator. (All Good Things Around Us)
Planetary Herbology by Michael Tierra
Linden Flower Harvest by Susan Weed
The Holistic Herbal by David Hoffman
All Good Things Around Us by Pamela Michael
Herbalpedia by The Herb Marketing & Growing Network