Linden is one of the plants, familiar nearly to everyone, as for centuries it has enjoyed wide popularity due to its healing properties almost all around the world, especially, in Europe.
Tilia cordata is a member of the Tiliaceae family, which includes many species of the genus Tilia. This large (up to 130 feet tall) deciduous tree is also named Linden, Basswood or Lime tree (which, nonetheless, has nothing to do with the fruit lime).
Tilia has mighty, solid erect stem, from which multiple branches develop. The latter are covered with leaves usually produced in abundance, forming a dense crown in summer. The leaves are oblique-cordate, heart-shaped, and toothed along the margins.
The flowers of the Linden are the most valuable part of the tree from the point of view of the traditional herbal healing. They are greenish-yellow, with five petals and many stamens. The small flowers, gathered in inflorescences of three or four, are situated on the long pedicles with the attached to them greenish ribbon-like bracts. The blossoms possess sweet honey-like odour, which attracts millions of bees. Nectar, they gain from these flowers, is turned by bees into the real honey of high quality.
The fruit of Tilia is a round pea-sized nutlet containing one or two seeds. The ribbon-like bracts serve as parachutes for the seeds, which are carried away with wind from the tree in late summer.
Tilia cordata is native tothe Northern hemisphere. It is said to originate from Europe, although many species grow in abundance in Asia and Northern America. Linden likes temperate climate,moist soils and full sun. Generally, it grows in the wild, but it can also be grown in the gardens for shade and for medicinal properties of its flowers, which are collected together with bracts when they are fully in bloom.
Although most often flowers of the Linden tree are used medicinally, herbal tea from the young leaves and inner bark may be prepared as well. The latter are also characterized with good healing properties.
Dried flowers with the bracts and leaves, sometimes packaged into the tea bags, are available to prepare teas or infusions. Tinctures and fluid extracts can also be found in the stores. The sapwood of the tree is available on the market as well, however, in smaller amounts and thus may be not so easy to find.
Linden contains flavonoids (e.g. quercetin and kaempferol), tannins, volatile oil, caffeic acid, glycosides and mucilage. The latter is believed by some researchers to reduce fever, relieve pain, and treat coughs. Flavonoids are also very helpful if it is necessary to induce sweating and reduce fever.
The flowers from this tree work as effective sedative and nervine to alleviate anxiety, nervousness, tension, and hysteria. They fight insomnia and other sleep problems by relaxing the body and soothing nervous system.
Tannins may have antioxidant properties. The chemical composition of Linden flowers allows them to aid in the healing of the digestive tract. Lately they are being studied as a possible means to treat viral hepatitis and other liver disorders.
Tilia is said to work as an anti-inflammatory, antispasmodic, expectorant and pain-relieving means. Some herbalists suggest that the flowers of this tree are one of the oldest, most popular, and effective remedy against multiple health conditions.
Stress, nervousness, tension and other disorders of the nervous system are treated with Linden. The symptoms of premenstrual syndrome and ovulation are reduced with the help of its flowers. Digestive disorders, for example, indigestion and diarrhoea, can be relieved with them. Different types of pain, as headaches, muscle cramps, and colics, are usually eliminated with Linden teas.
The most frequent conditions, traditionally treated with Tilia tree flowers, are colds, flu, and fever, which are fought with hot teas made from the blossoms. It is said that high blood pressure may be reduced with this remedy as well, although, some scientists warn people with cardiovascular disorders that the use of Tilia flowers may aggravate their conditions and harm the health of the heart.
It looks like the consultation with an experienced herbalist is the first thing one should do if he wants to really effectively treat his health disorders with Linden flowers.
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