Calming and relaxing Linden tea has been used for centuries in folk medicine. Learn its other benefits and ways to harvest and store linden blossoms all year long.
What is Linden tea?
You can make Linden tea by steeping fresh or dry flowers or leaves of a linden tree in boiling water.
Linden blooms with pleasantly fragrant creamy-yellow flowers are the main component of linden flower tea. You can also make linden leaves tea with dried or fresh leaves of linden tea.
Decoction of linden flowers is a traditional means of sweating for colds and can help as a gargle. You can drink it as a pain reliever for stomach colic and is considered useful for kidney stones. Linden flower and linden leaf tea is very popular and is also a stimulant.
Induce sweating, to help fevers and colds, and to reduce nasal congestion. They used the tea to relieve throat irritations and coughing. Once the first signs of flu hit I like to take Echinacea tea to support my immune system.
Linden, basswood or lime tree refer to slow growing but long lived (up to 1000 years) tree from the genus Tilia. There are more than 50 cultivated varieties however the most common are American linden (Tilia Americana) with large leaves and Tilia cordata with little heart-shaped leaves. They thrive across the United States, Europe and Asia where there is an even larger diversity. Linden trees decorated parks and palaces from the 19 century and only the rarest guests were allowed to enter the palaces through the linden alley. Nowadays linden trees are in village squares, near chapels, and churches where they provide shade and beauty.
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In history, linden corresponds with the goddess of love and fertility and women hoping to get pregnant would hug the tree. As a protective and family tree, it was often planted after the first baby was born. The linden tree has enjoyed great respect.
Discover other medicinal trees you can forage medicine from.
Linden trees start to bloom in early summer bringing freshness, beauty, and a typical honey scent that attracts bees that in turn made tasty honey. Linden is often referred to as the queen of honey-producing plants. A bee can suck 7 mg of nectar from one of its flowers. In addition to bees, linden flowers attract 70 species of insects.
Linden honey, or basswood/lime honey is one of the best honeys for its healing benefits.
Other than honey, linden is known for its wood or essential oils that are used in perfumery and cosmetics.
Harvesting linden flowers
The linden blossoms grow in clusters of little flowerets with typical propellers, causing the seeds to float away after pollination. Spring is the right time but usually, bees are a great indicator, they will tell you when is the right time.
With linden trees blooming everywhere around me it seemed a shame not to take advantage and pluck a few for use throughout the year
Choose a sunny day, preferably in the morning. Remember that pollen is a carrier of taste and fragrance so it is not very wise to forage right after the rain as most of the pollen will be gone.
Harvest both the flower as well as the small leaf (propeller) that is in the cluster. You can either use the scissors but they harvest easily so I just gently tug on the matured blossoms.
observe them for bugs or dirt and remove it mechanically before bringing them home
how to dry linden flowers for tea
This is such a rewarding activity. The whole house smells like spring and honey. I just spread them on the parchment paper on a sunny dry spot in our house and let them dry for 3-5 days depending on the weather
How to store dry linden blossoms
I like to use these linen bags but choose whatever you have at hand - glass jar, linen sac or paper bag. Store them in the cool dry spot, they make a great addition to your apothecary.
Linden blossom Tea Benefits
Traditionally, a decoction of linden flowers induced sweating and helped with fevers, colds and reduced nasal congestion. Folk methods are one thing let’s have a look what is the science behind the linden tea benefits
Calming and relaxing
I found the study supporting the folk medicine that tilia tea promotes relaxation and reduce anxiety by acting like GABA (gaba-aminobutyric acid) that inhibits the ability to become excited (1)
May fight inflammation
Tilia tea contains powerful antioxidants such as flavonoids and tiliroside that block the inflammatory processes often associated with diseases such as diabetes and cancer (2)
Linden decoction has been used in folk medicine to promote sweating and it is thought to be a diuretic. There is insufficient scientific evidence to support it but linden tea might help in urinary tract infections, mainly to increase the amount of urine.
Some components of linden tea may lower blood pressure (3) however more scientific research is needed to support this claim. Linden tea should never be a replacement for heart medications.
Linden tea contains compounds that possess strong sedative properties that promote relaxation and sleep (4)
By providing hydration and gentle heat to our digestive tract, any warm tea helps to move the food through our intestines and ease the stomach discomfort. While there is one compound tiliroside present in linden tea that has shown to fight infectious diarrhea, there is no scientific evidence to support it.
Herbal infusion from linden blossoms may help to relieve dry cough and throat irritation. Lie compounds that are present in linden tea contain mucus that coat the throat with a thin layer giving a moisturizing and soothing effect.
Other teas you can make:
Elderflower tea - potent flu remedy
Rosehip tea - packed with vitamin C
Tea for cough - that I learned from my grandmother
Pine needle tea for winter wellness
How to make linden tea
Now that you know the truth about linden tea, its benefits and side effect, are you tempted to make one cup of tea?
The best way is to use tea filter or infuser however you can make it without.
Use 3 teaspoons of dried linden flowers for 1 cup of tea.
Boil the kettle
Pour freshly boiled water into your cup with linden blossoms and let it steep for 15 minutes. The longer you leave it, the stronger tea you will get.
Add honey, lemon to your liking.
Considering the fact that linden tea helps you to relax and sleep it may be a good idea to drink a cup of warm linden tea before bedtime.
However, people taking certain medications, those with heart problems, and pregnant or nursing women should avoid it. It’s best to drink this tea in moderation and not every day.
According to European medicines agency 2-4 g of the tea blend per day is safe. A typical cup is 8 -ounce (235 ml) containing 1.5 g of linden tea so one should have no more than 3 standard cups per day.
Long term use however is linked to heart disease (5) Also people with allergic reactions to pollen or linden blossoms should avoid taking this tea.
This herbal infusion is caffeine free and therefore suitable for those that are caffeine sensitive or those that try to cut down caffeine intake.