Linden and Heart Health Month
Linden is such a beautiful tree and oh how I wish it grew in our area! So tall and flowery and when in bloom their sweet scent permeates the air. By tall I mean some species can grow up to 130 feet and can be hundreds of years old but typical plantings are usually about 65 feet tall. I’m a fan of those long avenues and paths that have trees on both sides creating that canopy in the middle. Look up Linden (lime tree/Basswood/Tilia spp) and you’ll see what I’m referring too!
Both sweet and delicious, Linden is a plant that offers so much beauty and has many gifts. Gentle enough for both children and the elderly, which is huge in the world we live in today. She is also strong enough that many herbalists have used it for a number of chronic and acute problems.
Linden is cooling, relaxing, and moistening. These energetics make it a wonderful herb for symptoms associated with heat, excess stimulation, and dryness. Living in the Southwest, it is amazing how quickly tempers can fly when it’s 120* outside, however, Linden is also for those who are feeling overly stressed, tense, and hot. Think back on your constitution. Do you have a red face, sweaty palms, reactive high blood pressure, and/or anxiety associated with nervousness? Linden may be a good one to try.
For the Heart, Linden has long history for its support, especially for people with hypertension. The nervine properties also help us relax those tense muscles and relieve acute stress. Do you tend to have your shoulders tensed up to our ears, feeling jumpy and on edge? That alone can raise blood pressure! Linden is ideally suited to relieving this tense condition.
Many times, you will find Linden paired with hawthorn (Crataegus spp.) leaves, flowers, and berries. Very nourishing and supportive to the heart in general but with so many medications on board these days I tend to be more cautious with Hawthorn than before. The combination of both herbs is indicated for hypertension and inflammation of the cardiovascular system but caution is considered.
We’ve discussed nervines in the past and linden is wonderful and specific to anxiety combined with tension, showing as tense shoulders, muscle cramping, tension headaches, etc. Sometimes I combine linden with skullcap or passion flower too. Difficulty sleeping due to excessive tension? Linden may be beneficial.
Living in the Arizona desert can cause a lot of dryness, both inside and out. Linden is both demulcent and astringent, a perfect remedy for excessive dryness and a reason why you’ll find it in our Summer Days Tea. The demulcent qualities add moisture to the body while the astringent qualities tighten and tone tissues. Combine the two and Linden moistens and keeps that moisture in the tissues. Linden is awesome in protecting mucus membrane health in dry and hot weather (like us here in the desert) or in people who tend to be dry and hot (from the inside out). Linden is a great summertime drink, as it cuts the thirst and manages to be both cooling and moistening. Regardless of where you live, Linden in your tea is a wonderful treat!
Now that we’ve got you all moisturized, calm and happy, Linden is also wonderful when it comes to digestion. As an antispasmodic, linden can be used for indigestion or even stagnant digestion. That bloated feeling after dinner is a good identifier of “stagnant digestion”. I used to see this a bit more before Covid lockdowns but Linden is beneficial for high-strung people that tend to have trouble digesting foods due to excitement or stress/tension. They also tend to have a red face, hot skin, and a rowdy personality.
If you are blessed enough to have or live close to Linden, the young leaves can be added to salad greens and sandwiches instead of lettuce. They also cooked/steamed up as “greens”. Linden is very refreshing tea and can make both a soothing warm cup of tea during illness or during the summer months it makes a delicious and refreshing iced tea. There is no caffeine in Linden so it can also assist with that after-dinner digestion.
Using only Linden blossoms, you can simply steep one teaspoon of the flowers in a mug for 15 minutes. Be sure to cover it while steeping. This is a pleasant and slightly mucilaginous tea. You can also make it into a nourishing herbal infusion where you would steep 1 ounce of the flowers in a quart of water for four hours or overnight. I leave mine on the counter until morning as it will have a stronger therapeutic action than the tea. If you’ve got a sweet tooth, the flowers can be infused into honey for a tasty and soothing treat. Since the flowers are also edible you can add the honey to just about any food.
I’ve been asked about using Linden in tincture form, of which I do for a few reasons but personally, I prefer the tea. Both mild and sweet, you can add linden to a variety of other herbs to create a blend of your own.
Linden is considered generally safe for most people. Occasionally some people are stimulated by linden instead of relaxed. Similar with Lavender and Valerian too. There have also been rare cases of contact dermatitis, an allergic reaction to touching it. Should this happen, be sure to test the herb before using it, just in case you have a reaction to the tea.
Stay tuned for our newest herbal tea for heart health. We’ll be naming it soon!