Summer of Tree Love: Linden

As part of what I’m calling a Summer of Tree Love, I’m doing some special posts this summer, each dedicated to a particular tree.

I decided to start with Linden (Tilia spp.)  which is one of my favorite trees.  This particular one is a good friend of mine:

Beloved Linden Tree (Image by Michael Blackmore – Mad Crow Herbalism)

I walk by it every day to and from work.  Each time I pause for a moment, put my hand gently on its trunk – connecting and grounding myself for a moment.    During the spring the young leaves make a yummy addition to salad and I usually eat one leave on the way into work in the morning.  Right now is an exciting time in Boston because the Lindens in my neighborhood are very close to flowering.  A blessed time of the year in my view.

One the things that threw me off when I was first learning about Linden was the differing common names.  In older herbal texts, as well as the UK, it is routinely called the Lime tree.  It is also called in Basswood – and if you’re looking for the honey made from its flowers it will usually be under that name.  Which brings us to another common US name, Bee Trees because it is tree much loved by bees since it is an abundant source of nectar.

Some of the traditional uses for Linden flower are:

  • To sooth tension and irritability
  • As a heart tonic
  • Helps to reduce cholesterol and high blood pressure (especially when there is an emotional basis)
  • Indigestion
  • As a nerve tonic
  • For migraines
  • Easing insomnia
  • Relief  to colds and flu by reducing nasal congestion
  • Gargling with the tea to help with tonsillitis and inflammations of the mouth

Some external Uses:

  • Apply a tea to help with skin inflammation
  • Bath to help with itchy skin
  • Tea (room temperature) as a face wash
  • Tar is used for Eczema

I think that gives a hint why the German word for to sooth is lindern and the Linden tree is considered to represent mercy.  And in Greek Mythology  Philyra, a goddess of healing, was turned into a Linden Tree.

I’ve always found Linden trees to be soothing and calming in general and love to meditate under them.  Some trees’ presence can be almost overwhelming in their power, but I find Linden comforting and gentle in its strength.  And I often drink infusions of flowers when I’m finding a need to tap into that comforting and supportive nature.

I’ve recently learned that the flower essence is considered helpful  for healing matters of the heart.  And, in particular, it is supportive for people who find difficulty giving and receiving love and affection after painful experiences in the past.  As well as being used to release emotional blockages in general.   I think exploring that sounds like something on my agenda.  And at just the right time to make some flower essences from the local trees.

So thank you Linden for all you do for us.  (And for graciously being the first tree of this series.)

P.S. Now if only I could get the Kinks song Lola from appearing in my head as Linden.   (La,la, Linden…)

References of Note:

Encyclopedia of Herbal Medicine by Andrew Chevallier
A Modern Herbal by Maud Grieve
Meaning of Trees by Fred Hageneder
The New Holistic Herbal by David Hoffmann
Indian Herbalogy of North America: The Definitive Guide to Native Medicinal Plants and Their Uses by Alma Hutchens
The Complete Floral Healer by Anne McIntyre
A Russian Herbal by Igor Vilevich Zevin, Nathaniel Altman and Lilia Vasilevna Zevin

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9 Responses to Summer of Tree Love: Linden

  1. Sarah says:

    Never realised these trees had so many medicinal uses. I used to live on a street that was lined with lime trees – they looked so beatuiful each spring as the fresh leaves grew.

  2. My mother who is German made us, as children, drink a linden flower tea because of its health benefits. It is an amazing tree. I like your idea of featuring trees…very nice.

  3. Bridget says:

    I planted a Linden tree on our land last year. Of course we call it Lime. Might sneak a few young leaves for soe benificial tea.

  4. Lucinda says:

    How lovely, a summer of tree love! I can hardly wait!
    I use Tilia a lot here in the UK, it is great for all ages and I’ve been reading recently about its use in treating stressed out animals, especially dogs, though I haven’t had any personal experience of that yet. A beautiful healer indeed.

    • Oh, neat about animals, especially dogs. I could certainly see it being helpful. I know the leaves have been used historically for forage for cows and such. So animals may have a strong affinity for it as well in general.

      Michael

  5. Pingback: Basswood: A Carver’s Delight and More | CLC Tree Services: The Blog

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