Linden Monograph

If there is one herb I would recommend anyone work with during these trying times, it is Linden. I am only disappointed that I had not started working with it sooner.

I have mentioned my road through burnout before on this blog. I have worked with several herbs to help me through the journey: Chamomile, passionflower, lemon balm, and valerian, just to name a few. Linden has been such a helper in releasing tension, helping to lower stress levels, and helping to modulate my blood pressure, which has been elevated due to stress and other factors. I’m not sure I can really explain how much linden has helped me as I continue to work on recovery. It truly is a powerful helper when it comes to the nervous system.

One of the things that I love about the flavor of linden tea is that it is uniquely floral. I believe I have a linden tree close by my house, because I smell that same scent in the air a lot. Smelling that scent makes me feel like I am building a better relationship with linden than I would just by drinking the tea alone. It is like it is reminding me that it is here to help me whenever I need it, one part of nature here to support another part. I haven’t found the tree yet, because I think it is beyond a fence on the property that I live on, but when I smell the scent in the air, I do feel closer to the plant itself and the medicine it has brought me through its tea.

Linden flowers, bracts, and leaves

Linden

Tilia sp.

Family: Tiliaceae

Parts Used: Flowers and bracts, leaf, twigs, inner bark, charcoal (from the wood)

Native To: T. americana is native to North America, while T. cordata, T. platyphyllus, T. europa, and others are native to Europe

Botanical Description: Linden is a large deciduous tree up to 100 feet tall or more. Its canopy is often roughly in a pyramid shape, and its trunk with grey bark and flat ridges. From late spring to early summer, linden bears a profusion of fragrant white or yellowish-green flowers in clustered cymes with leaf-like bracts. Its leaves are alternate, and more or less heart-shaped with pale undersides. 

Taste: Sweet, mildly salty, musty

Energetic Properties: Cooling, moistening, relaxing

Element: Air

Tissue States: Irritation, Atrophy, Heat

Actions: Demulcent, nervine, anti-inflammatory, sedative, hypotensive, anodyne, relaxant, diaphoretic

Affinities: Cardiovascular and Nervous systems

Notable Coustituents: Volatiles (.02 – .1 percent), flavonoids (quercetin, kaempferol), caffeic acid, mucilage (3%), tannins

Medicinal Applications: 

  • Linden is helpful for high blood pressure, palpitations, arrhythmia, angina, tightness, and dryness in the chest, and those with histories of heart attack, stroke, and cardiovascular surgery. Linden has a blood pressure modulating effect, evening out both high and low blood pressure.
  • Gentle and cooling nervine action indicated for anxiety, nervous tension, insomnia, and agitation. Linden is particularly suited to mitigate the effects of drying, stimulating medications like Adderall and Ritalin, and is well tolerated in children.
  • Soothing to nerve pain wherever it appears in the body. Intestinal pain from indigestion or food allergies, systemic pain from fibromyalgia or MS, tension headaches, tense menstrual cramps, nerve damage due to injury, and nerve damage due to viruses, including herpes, all can be calmed down by linden.
  • Particularly indicated in stress-induced conditions
  • According to Matthew Wood, indicated for fevers that are not relieved by profuse sweat, fevers associated with chills or shivering, as well as painful fevers associated with heat, irritation, and spasm.
  • According to Matthew Wood, soothing to children, especially when hot and stimulated. Yarrow, Elder, and Linden good for children who are hot and over-active (hyper-active) – could totally cure hyperactivity and attention deficit, according to Wood.

In Practice: 

  • Long infusion has been helpful for increased states of nervousness and anxiety. Can help relax tense, stressed nerves, and thus help move stuck digestion, bringing relaxation to the entire body.
  • Helps to “let go” of things that the body and mind are carrying that they do not need by allowing both to relax.

Preparations: 

  • Infusion
    • One teaspoon linden flowers steeped in 1 cup boiling water for 10 minutes taken 3 times a day
    • Or steep 2 tablespoons in one liter of water for 12 hours for more demulcent effect. Take one cup three times a day.
  • Tincture
    • 1-2 mL of tincture three times a day

Cautions: Linden leaves and flowers are very safe for children, elders, and pregnant individuals. The bark should not be given to people on blood thinners. The bark is not used as much in modern herbalism. 

Friends: Hawthorn, Rose, Motherwort, Wood Betony, Lemon Balm

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