About five years ago I found one of my best herbal friends at the library. In my nerdy mind the library should be a place where you meet all good and new friends, even if they are books (cue my 12-year-old self in full escape mode with a pile of Nancy Drew’s!) but I certainly hadn’t expected to find a tree that would become such a valuable part of my daily herbal needs. I was searching for a parking spot that was convenient but not too tight to get a 4 year old out of the car with a basket full of those annoying little board books and, honestly, I was weary, hot and tired. I did all the things: get more books, play legos, get a book on CD to try to tire out the kiddo. As I was in the library something dawned on me: there was a beautiful smell somewhere in the parking lot and my botanical spidey senses started to tune in with curiosity. I paid my hefty library fine and loaded the kiddo back into the car while still searching for the flowery perfume scent on the breeze - I then noticed the buzzing of the bees and they led me to the flowers of the Linden Tree. I harvested a little bit of leaves and flowers to bring them home to make a tea...and to take a deep breath. I hope you’ll join me below to learn more about one of my favorite herbs: Linden.
Linden or Tilia (aka basswood, lime blossom tree) is a gentle nervine herb - meaning it is calming to the nervous system and helps us relax, breathe and remove the excess heat from our bodies. I tend to use it as an opening to my Spirit Self: to connect with my actual purpose and not my anxiety-driven one that takes the lead if I’m not paying attention. Additionally, I love Linden as a preventative support to my overall cardiovascular system.
Cardiovascular System: Linden is a cooling and moistening herb that helps to ease heat in the cardiovascular system such as heart inflammation, high blood pressure and atherosclerosis. The best way to use Linden for supporting the cardiovascular system is as a preventative maintenance herb. Every time I’m working with a client that has family history of heart health, Linden - as well as Hawthorn - are my favorite herbal wonders for keeping the cardiovascular system happy and healthy. Additionally, Linden will also support the nervous system to help with heart palpitations and the stress of having heart troubles.
Plant Spirit Gifts: Interestingly, you’ll notice that the leaves of the Linden Tree are heart shaped which lends towards a sense of happy heart or “gladdening the heart”: a sweet plant spirit offering. (Groves, 1996) Linden generally uplifts the spirit and adds a sweetness to life that wasn’t there before. Before I sit down to plan or do any writing, I automatically reach for a cup of our Wild Roots Apothecary Awakening Tea which is primarily a gentle mixture of Linden, Hawthorn, Rose, Oatstraw and White Peony and offers a beautiful opening for clarity, comfort and calmness.
Nervous System: As a relaxing nervine and anxiety helper - think calming and supporting nervous tension - Linden can be used in multiple ways with both adults and children. With children, I like to use it during times of acute anxiety, stress from exams, new opportunities or obstacles that are growing the child. A benefit of Linden is that while is calms down the nervous system, it doesn’t make you sleepy! A cup of linden tea before bed usually does the trick to calm the nerves enough to rest fully and stay calm. If you’re looking for support in sleeping as well, I often combine Linden with Chamomile at night for children and with passionflower (or another herb better suited to promote sleep) for adults.
With its affinity for removing heat and excitement, I use this often with people who are flushed in the face with red or lean towards red in the face when they are angry or excited.
As a diaphoretic and demulcent (meaning slippery, slimy) it’s works on the mucous membranes to soothe and coat, so think sore throats, bronchitis, coughing, congestion.
My Favorite Ways to Work with Linden: Although a tea is my favorite way to work with Linden, daily if possible, I also love to use it as a bath infusion. I make a big batch of tea and pour it into my bath with Epsom salt to soak, relax, and breathe deeply. If you can find and harvest fresh blossoms, Linden is one of my favorites to infuse with honey or make popsicles by adding a little lemon juice and honey for a cooling and demulcent treat on a hot day.
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Colleen O’Bryant is a trained herbalist and not a licensed doctor or registered healthcare practitioner. She cannot and does not claim to diagnose health conditions, nor prescribe medicines. Colleen O’Bryant does not claim that the information and products she provides to Client will prevent, alleviate, or cure any diseases or medical conditions. The information and products Colleen and Wild Roots Apothecary provides is not intended to be a substitute for medical treatment. Please consult your medical care provider before using herbal products, particularly if you have a known medical condition, allergy or if you are pregnant or nursing. Always consult a medical doctor before modifying your diet, using any new product, drug, supplement, or doing any new exercises. Wild Roots Apothecary statements and products have not been evaluated by the FDA and they are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease or condition. Client understands that Colleen is not yet certified by the American Herbalists Guild, but by working with clients such as yourself she is gaining the required hours of practice to apply towards her certification.
Wild Roots Apothecary does not claim to be a pharmacy or prescribe medicines. Additionally, Wild Roots does not claim to be able to cure or relieve the client's specific condition or illness with the herbal formulations or recommendations provided.