American Basswood or Linden (Tilia Americana L.)

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American Basswood or Linden (Tilia Americana L.)

My Romanian mother-in-law loved to look at the basswood trees lining our street. She called them lime trees, which is a common name in Europe for the basswood or linden tree. The smell of the flowers is wonderful in early June when the tree is newly in flower. I’ve actually had a carbonated linden beverage (Linden soda pop?) that I really love, but if you’re going for the herbal benefits, you’ll want to stick to teas and tinctures.

Found: In richly wooded areas.

Identifying: This is a deciduous tree growing from about 60 – 80 feet tall. The leaves are about 10” long and heart-shaped with fine teeth along the edges, and the base of each leaf is uneven. Yellow fragrant flowers growing from a wing-like stalk. The tree blooms from June to August.

Parts Used: Leaves, flowers, buds; inner bark as Native American remedy.

Medicinal Uses: Native Americans once used inner bark as a tea for lung ailments, heartburn, and weak stomach. Also used inner bark as a poultice to draw out boils. Leaf, flower, and/or bud are commonly used as a tea or tincture for nervous headaches, digestion pain, restlessness, fevers, colds, flu, coughs, tension, diarrhea. Sedative effects; antispasmodic. Also great for high blood pressure. Used as a tincture, linden is quite safe for children.

Allergic Reactions and/or Warnings: Frequent drinking of linden flower tea might cause heart damage.

Interesting Notes: There are two other species of linden often sought for medicinal use: Small-leaved and large-leaved European linden. Germany has approved these flowers for cold treatment and cold-related coughs. A Modern Herbal by Mrs. M. Grieve (published 1931) stated “The leaves exude a saccharine matter having the same composition as the manna of Mount Sinai.” How she knew, I’m not certain, but it sure makes one curious about those leaves!

Note: Always consult a health professional before using any herb or medicinal plant. These posts are not meant to be a medical guide but an overview.

3 thoughts on “American Basswood or Linden (Tilia Americana L.)

  1. Oh it sounds just gorgeous!
    I won’t be using for medicinal purposes but I’m wondering just what constitutes “frequent drinking of”?
    I’m just interested in trees in general but find it quite fascinating the way they can be used aside from becoming notebooks!
    I once saw a wonderful book that I can no longer find. It had actual pieces of bark on each descriptor page, leaf drawings for identification purposes and possible medicinal uses.
    It was absolutely stunning.
    I love the new look here; it’s quite warm and inviting !

  2. Hi mannequin,
    It is a beautiful tree. I look forward to that smell every year! I would think “frequent drinking of” would be more for people who would make it a regular part of their life; perhaps drinking it every day or a few times a week. If someone were to drink linden tea only for its medicinal purposes when it was truly needed, I’d say they would be alright.

    This book you mentioned sounds great! Let me know if you ever remember what it was called. Sounds like one for my shelves!

    Glad you like the new look – I feel much better now that it has a green backdrop again. Yes, I think I’ll enjoy this green quite a bit around January!

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