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Table of Contents > Herbs > Linden
Linden
Botanical Name:  Tilia species (spp.)
Common Names:  Lime tree
 
Overview
Plant Description
Parts Used
Medicinal Uses and Indications
Available Forms
How to Take It
Precautions
Possible Interactions
Supporting Research

Overview

Linden, an herb derived from various species of Tilia, or lime tree, has been used in European folk medicine for centuries to treat a wide range of health problems. Flowers from two linden species (Tilia cordata and Tilia platypus) were traditionally used to soothe nerves and treat health problems associated with anxiety. These flowers were added to baths to quell hysteria, and steeped as a tea to relieve anxiety-related indigestion, irregular heartbeat, and vomiting. Today, linden is used in many cough and cold remedies. Active ingredients in linden help promote sweating, which is helpful in people with fevers. Lime trees are also valued for their wood and charcoal, and for the flavorful honey made from their flowers.


Plant Description

The Tilia species grow in temperate climates in the north. They are deciduous trees (leaves shed seasonally) that can grow to a height of 90 feet and may live up to 1,000 years. Herbal linden flower formulas typically call for either Tilia cordata, the small-leafed European linden also known as the winter linden, or Tilia platyphyllos, the large-leafed, early-blooming summer linden. Both species are frequently planted as ornamental trees along city streets. Depending on the species, their fragrance ranges from potent and sweet to quite rich. The dried flowers are mildly sweet and sticky, and the fruit is somewhat sweet and slimy. Linden tea has a pleasing taste, due in part to the aromatic volatile oil found in the flowers.


Parts Used

Linden flowers, leaves, wood, and charcoal (obtained from the wood) are the parts used for medicinal purposes. Active ingredients in the linden flowers include flavonoids (which act as antioxidants), volatile oil, and mucilage components (which are soothing and reduce inflammation). The plant also contains tannins that can act as an astringent.


Medicinal Uses and Indications

Tilia has been studied in only a few test tube and animal trials. However, a qualified healthcare practitioner may recommend this herb for the treatment of certain conditions. Note that, different parts of Tilia species are used in treating specific conditions and symptoms.

  • Tilia cordata/platypus flowers: colds, cough, fever, infections, high blood pressure, and headache (particularly migraine), and as a diuretic (increases urine production), antispasmodic (reduces smooth muscle spasm along the digestive tract), and sedative
  • Tilia cordata/platypus leaves: to promote sweating (helpful for fevers)
  • Tilia cordata/platypus wood: liver and gallbladder disorders, cellulitis (inflammation of the skin and surrounding soft tissue)
  • Tilia cordata/platypus charcoal: ingested to treat intestinal disorders and used topically to treat swelling (edema) or infection (such as cellulitis or ulcers) of the lower leg

Available Forms
  • Dried flower preparations, including teas
  • Fluid extract
  • Tincture

How to Take It

Pediatric

Adjust the recommended adult dose to account for the child's weight. Most herbal dosages for adults are calculated on the basis of a 150 lb (70 kg) adult. Therefore, if the child weighs 50 lb (20 to 25 kg), the appropriate dose of linden for this child would be 1/3 of the adult dosage.

Adult

The following are recommended adult doses:

  • Tea (infusion): 1 to 2 tsp flowers in 8 oz of water. Steep covered for 20 minutes. Drink three cups of hot tea per day.
  • Fluid extract (1:1 in 25% ethanol), 3 to 4 mL per day taken in three doses
  • Tincture (1:5 in 30% ethanol) 4 to 10 mL per day taken in three doses

Precautions

The use of herbs is a time-honored approach to strengthening the body and treating disease. Herbs, however, contain active substances that can trigger side effects and interact with other herbs, supplements, or medications. For these reasons, herbs should be taken with care, preferably under the supervision of a practitioner knowledgeable in the field of botanical medicine.

Linden is considered safe at the recommended dosage. There have been rare reports of hives or other allergic skin reactions (called contact dermatitis) from touching the lime tree.


Possible Interactions

There are no known scientific reports of interactions between linden and conventional medications.


Supporting Research

Bradley P, ed. British Herbal Compendium. Vol. I. Dorset (Great Britain): British Herbal Medicine Association; 1992: 142-144.

Blumenthal M, Busse WR, Goldberg A, et al., ed. The Complete German Commission E Monographs. Therapeutic Guide to Herbal Medicines. Boston: Integrative Medicine Communications; 1998: 163, 342, 343.

Blumenthal M, Goldberg A, Brinckmann J. Herbal Medicine: Expanded Commission E Monographs. Newton, MA: Integrative Medicine Communications; 2000:240-243.

Coleta M, Campos MG, Cotrin MD, Proenca de Cunha A. Comparative evaluation of Melissa officinalis L., Tilia eruopaea L., Passiflora edulis Sims. and Hypericum perforatum L. in the elevated plus maze anxiety test. Pharmacopsychiatry. 2001;34 Suppl 1:S20-S21.

Gruenwald J, Brendler T, Christof J. PDR for Herbal Medicines. 2nd ed. Montvale, NJ: Medical Economics Company; 2000: 477-479.

Matsuda H, Ninomiya K, Shimoda H, Yoshikawa M. Hepatoprotective principles from the flowers of Tilia argentea (linden): structure requirements of tiliroside and mechanisms of action. Bioorg Med Chem. 2002;10(30:707-712.

Mur P, Feo Brito F, Lombardero M, et al. Allergy to linden pollen (Tilia cordata). Allergy. 2001;56(5):457-458.

Picardo M, Rovina R, Cristaudo A, Cannistraci C, Santucci R. Contact urticaria from Tilia (lime). Contact Dermatitis. 1988;19(1):72-73.

Schulz V, Hansel R, Tyler V. Rational Phytotherapy: A Physician's Guide to Herbal Medicine. 3rd ed. Berlin: Springer; 1998:142.

Toker G, Asian M, Yesilada E, Memisoglu M, Ito S. Comparative evaluation of the flavonoid content in officinal Tillae flos and Turkish lime species for quality assessment. J Pharm Biomed Anal. 2001;26(1):111-112.

Yildirim A, Mavi A, Oktay M, Kara AA, Algur OF, Bilaloglu V. Comparison of antioxidant and antimicrobial activities of tilia (Tilia argentea Desf ex DC), sage (Salvia triloba l.), and black tea (Camellia sinensis) extracts. J Agric Food Chem. 2000;48(10):5030-5034.

White L, Mavor S. Kids, Herbs, Health. Loveland, Colo: Interweave Press; 1998.


Review Date: April 2002
Reviewed By: Participants in the review process include: Jacqueline A. Hart, MD, Department of Internal Medicine, Newton-Wellesley Hospital, Harvard University and Senior Medical Editor Integrative Medicine, Boston, MA; Gary Kracoff, RPh (Pediatric Dosing section February 2001), Johnson Drugs, Natick, MA; Steven Ottariono, RPh (Pediatric Dosing section February 2001), Veteran's Administrative Hospital, Londonderry, NH; R. Lynn Shumake, PD, Director, Alternative Medicine Apothecary, Blue Mountain Apothecary & Healing Arts, University of Maryland Medical Center, Glenwood, MD; David Winston, Herbalist (December 1999), Herbalist and Alchemist, Inc., Washington, NJ. All interaction sections have also been reviewed by a team of experts including Joseph Lamb, MD (July 2000), The Integrative Medicine Works, Alexandria, VA;Enrico Liva, ND, RPh (August 2000), Vital Nutrients, Middletown, CT; Brian T Sanderoff, PD, BS in Pharmacy (March 2000), Clinical Assistant Professor, University of Maryland School of Pharmacy; President, Your Prescription for Health, Owings Mills, MD; Ira Zunin, MD, MPH, MBA (July 2000), President and Chairman, Hawaii State Consortium for Integrative Medicine, Honolulu, HI.

Copyright © 2004 A.D.A.M., Inc

The publisher does not accept any responsibility for the accuracy of the information or the consequences arising from the application, use, or misuse of any of the information contained herein, including any injury and/or damage to any person or property as a matter of product liability, negligence, or otherwise. No warranty, expressed or implied, is made in regard to the contents of this material. No claims or endorsements are made for any drugs or compounds currently marketed or in investigative use. This material is not intended as a guide to self-medication. The reader is advised to discuss the information provided here with a doctor, pharmacist, nurse, or other authorized healthcare practitioner and to check product information (including package inserts) regarding dosage, precautions, warnings, interactions, and contraindications before administering any drug, herb, or supplement discussed herein.

 
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Anxiety
Cellulitis
Common Cold
Cough
Gallbladder Disease
Hypertension
Migraine Headache
Tension Headache
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