|| Tilia species (spp.)
|| Lime tree
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.
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.
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
- 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
- Dried flower preparations, including teas
- Fluid extract
|How to Take It|
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.
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
- Tincture (1:5 in 30% ethanol) 4 to 10 mL per day taken in three doses
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.
There are no known scientific reports of interactions between linden and
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|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,
Copyright © 2004 A.D.A.M., Inc
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