What is Linden Tea?
We have written about a number of herbal remedies and teas on this website. Some of them like green tea and oolong are very well known and others may have passed most of you by. Linden tea is far from the most famous herbal tea but it does possess a wide range of medicinal benefits from indigestion to anxiety.
If you would like to know more about this herbal tea and what it can do for your health, then read on.
Like so many herbal remedies, linden has been used for centuries in traditional European medicine to treat a very wide range of medical complaints. It is an herb which comes from the Tilia species of tree also known as lime tree or basswood.
Historically, the flowers taken from two species of linden – Tilia platypyllos and Tilia cordota have been used to calm the nerves and to treat a range of emotional issues usually related to anxiety and stress. The flowers have also been steeped to make a calming tea which was also used to treat nausea, vomiting, palpitations and colds.
These days, linden is still used as an ingredient in various commercial cough remedies. There is no great body of evidence to support these uses of the herb but it is believed that linden contains certain chemical constituents that can promote sweating and treat fevers.
The Tilia trees grow in the temperate climates of the Northern hemisphere. They are a long – living desiduous species that grow up to a height of 30 meters. Specimens have been found that are over a thousand years in age. Although there are some 80 species of Tilia tree overall, most herbal remedies are made from two particular linden species. Tilia cordota also known as winter linden and Tilia platyphyllos which has larger leaves and blooms in early summer.
The fragrance of the herb is sweet and rich and can vary depending on which species it derives from. When they are dried, the flowers tend to be sticky and only mildly sweet while the fruit of the trees is a little slimy.
Linden flowers make for a very fragrant and appetizing tea. Unlike many herbal teas that tend to be on the bitter side, linden tea has a very pleasant taste that most people enjoy due in the main to the aromatic, volatile oils present in the flowers.
Several parts of the plant are used for therapeutic purposes. The flowers which are the most valued part of the plant, the leaves, the wood and charcoal made from the wood can all be put to great use. The active ingredients include antioxidant flavonoids, mucilage compounds which can soothe inflammation and volatile oils.
Linden also has tannins which have astringent properties. Linden flower also possesses several compounds namely kaempferol and quercetin which give it diaphoretic abilities.
Medicinal Benefits of Linden Tea
1) For Coughs and other Cold Symptoms
Because of its diaphoretic qualities, linden has traditionally been used and continues to be used to help deal with colds and influenza especially feverish colds. It can help stimulate the sweating necessary to ease the symptoms of fever. Linden tea is also used to reduce congestion in the nasal passage and to ease respiration. It is also used to help reduce coughing and to soothe irritation in the throat.
In modern day Germany, linden is included as an ingredient with several other herbs to make a tea used for treating the flu for both children and adults. Why it is so effective remains unclear but it is believed that the volatile oil, flavonoids and mucilage compounds in the herb contributes to its effectiveness for these conditions.
2) For Anxiety
Herbal teas in general are a wonderful way to soothe the nerves. Many have calming properties that can take the edge of your anxiety and help you achieve a good night of sleep. While linden tea may not have the same level of fame as some of the other soothing teas like chamomile, it can help some people to feel more relaxed and makes for a delicious calming bedtime beverage.
It is unclear why linden tea works for anxiety but many feel it is down to the volatile oils and various chemical compounds in the herb. Like most herbal remedies, there is no guarantee that it will work for you but we feel that it is worth a try especially if you are suffering from milder feelings of anxiety and stress or insomnia.
3) For Fevers
Linden tea has traditionally been used to help treat fevers and feverish colds. Linden possesses diaphoretic properties meaning that it can be used to induce sweating which is especially useful if you are trying to get a fever to break. An acid present in the herb called P-coumaric acid is believed to be responsible for this action as well as the kaempferol and quercetin.
Not only does it help you overcome a fever, but the sweating that it promotes also helps you to detoxify the body. It can help release the build up of toxins from the system as well as excess fats, salt and water.
4) Antimicrobial Properties
Several studies have showed that linden extracts have antibacterial activities against various infectious organisms. One study detected that linden had anti-fungal activities (1) while another study demonstrated that it may have inhibitory actions against certain food borne pathogens. (2)
5) Antioxidant Properties
Just like so many plants and herbs, linden contains a valuable supply of antioxidants that can help protect the body from a range of illnesses. Linden possesses two well-studied antioxidant compounds called kaempferol and quercetin which help protect against and reverse damage caused by free radicals.
They also perform an invaluable anti-aging function and can even help your complexion appear younger and less prone to age marks like wrinkles.
Linden tea is also believed to have strong anti-inflammatory powers which makes it useful for both internal and external types of inflammation. Drinking linden tea on a regular basis can help soothe the pain associated with arthritis and rheumatism and may even help ease inflammation in your respiratory system.
7) Antispasmodic Actions
According to in vitro studies, linden tea possesses antispasmodic abilities making it useful which backs up one of the traditional uses of the herb. As with many of the other medicinal benefits of the herb, its effectiveness is believed to be linked to the flavonoid and P-coumaric acid content. These antispasmodic actions make it useful in treating stomach cramps, bloating and gas among other conditions.
How to Use Linden Tea
Linden tea is available in several different dosage amounts and forms. Unfortunately, the data regarding the safe and most effective dosage is lacking.
However, experts suggest that daily doses should not exceed between 2 and 4 grams whether in the form of tea or any other preparation.
How Does it Taste?
Despite its alternative name – lime flower, linden Tastes absolutely nothing like that bitter little citrus fruit. It actually has a very sweet and strong flavor and rich aroma. You may be happy enough to drink it up on its own but many people add a little honey to taste.
Precautions and Contraindications
- While there is no very recent published data, the Commission E in Germany has stated that the linden flower may be toxic. According to the commission, the frequent consumption of linden tea may be linked to heart damage.
- Pregnant women and nursing mothers should avoid using linden tea owing to insufficient data on its effects.
- Experiments on animals suggest that linden tea may prove toxic because of the presence of pesticide residues.
- There are no documented interactions with other medications.
(1) A Guide for Healthcare Professionals . 2nd ed. London: Pharmaceutical Press; 2002:323-324.
(2) Gonul S, Karapinar M. Inhibitory effect of linden flower ( Tilia flower) on the growth of foodborne pathogens. Food Microbiol . 1987;4:97-100.