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Linden Trees – Therapeutic Use

Linden (Tilia spp., Malvaceae) trees, also, known as lime trees, are deciduous, with heart-shaped leaves and small globes of feathery, white-yellow flowers that carry a strong, sweet scent.1 They can grow to 80-100 feet in height and live for hundreds of years.2 In ancient Egypt, the tree was planted in medicinal gardens.3 Nicholas Culpeper (1616-1654) used it as a nervine and thought it beneficial for vertigo, epilepsy, and heart palpitations. Other traditional uses include headaches, hypertension, nervous stress, indigestion, fever, and migraines. Linden tea (tisane), sometimes referred to as tilleul, has been consumed for its soothing and sleep-inducing abilities. The bees love the nectar from linden flowers, and the honey produced is considered some of the best in the world and touted for its sedative abilities. According to Maud Grieve (1858-1941), if the tisane is made from older blossoms, it may have a narcotic result.

The German Commission E states that linden charcoal preparations have been used to treat intestinal disorders and leg abscesses.4 The silver linden (T. tomentosa) flower has been used for catarrhs, as well as for its diuretic, expectorant, and antispasmodic properties. The leaf has been used as a diaphoretic. The wood has been used to treat cellulitis and liver-gallbladder ailments. However, because none of these claims have been documented, they could not be recommended. The German Pharmacopoeia does approve the use of linden flowers, which contain flavonoids, mucilage, and tannins.5 The flowers are included in herbal supplements for colds, sedatives, and urological and antitussive conditions. In both Germany and Switzerland, linden flowers are a component of diaphoretic teas for children. Use of the flower for colds and coughs due to colds has been approved by the Commission E.

Extracted by solvent or CO2, the resulting essence (which can be solid or liquid in nature depending on the extraction method), has a sweet, warm, honeyed, floral scent with green, herbaceous, hay-like undertones.2 Therapeutic properties include as an antidepressant, astringent, calmative, emollient, nervine, antiseptic, expectorant, and sedative. Applications include muscle spasms, nervous tension, insomnia, anxiety, cramps, liver pain, headaches, and migraines.2,6 Linden flower absolute/CO2 can be used with other farnesol-containing essential oils, such as rose and neroli, for skin care.7

Lori Glenn
HerbClip™ Managing Editor



1Rhind JP. Fragrance and Wellbeing – Plant Aromatics and Their Influence on the Psyche. London: Singing Dragon; 2014.

2Worwood VA. The Complete Book of Essential Oils and Aromatherapy. Novato, CA: New World Library; 2016.

3Lawless J. Aromatherapy and the Mind. London: Thorsons; 1994.

4Blumenthal M, Busse WR, Goldberg A, Gruenwald J, Hall T, Riggins CW, Rister RS, eds. Klein S, Rister RS, trans. The Complete German Commission E Monographs¾Therapeutic Guide to Herbal Medicines. Austin, TX: American Botanical Council; Boston: Integrative Medicine Communication; 1998.

5Blumenthal M, Goldberg A, Brinckmann J, eds. Herbal Medicine: Expanded Commission E Monographs. Austin, TX: American Botanical Council; Newton, MA: Integrative Medicine Communications; 2000.

6Lawless J. The Encyclopedia of Essential Oils. San Francisco: Conari Press; 2013.

7Rhind JP. Aromatherapeutic Blending. London: Singing Dragon; 2016.