Linden flowers have been used for centuries to make calming linden tea. Learn to harvest, dry and use linden flowers for herbal remedies and how to make a calming linden blossom tea.
Get to know the Basswood Tree (American Linden)
The Tiliaceae family consists of nearly 80 tree species native to Europe and found in northern temperate regions including North America. Linden is one of three English names for the tree genus Tilia (also known as basswood tree, lime tree, and linden flower). Several of the common names for species within the genus Tilia have “linden” in their names.
- American linden or Basswood Tree, a common name for Tilia americana
- Large-leaved linden or summer linden, a common name for Tilia platyphyllos
- Little-leaf linden or winter linden, a common name for Tilia cordata
- Silver linden, a common name for Tilia tomentosa
The American variety can reach heights of 100 feet. It thrives in rich soil and needs a moderate amount of moisture. It will germinate from seeds, but they take 2 years to produce. The best way to get new trees is to take cuttings. Trees typically live up to 200 years.
Here at Joybilee Farm, we planted a Little Leaf Linden in 2018. Tilia cordata or heart leafed linden is a commonly found species that is harvested for its fragrant blossoms that appear in midsummer, but at my elevation, you can expect them at the end of July to mid-August. The harvest season is just a couple of weeks.
All varieties of linden are suitable for making healthy and healing linden tea, which is also known as tila tea, tilia tea, and tilo tea in other parts of the world.
Harvesting Linden Flowers
The flowers of the linden tree are often considered the most valued part of the plant. They are small, yellowish-white and have a very pleasant sweet fragrance. When dried they are somewhat sticky to the touch. Linden flowers for just two weeks, so don’t postpone foraging for it.
Harvest in midsummer when the flowers begin to open. The bees will tell you when it’s time. You may also find that an additional harvest is available in the fall as there is often a second blooming, depending on the length of your season.
Cut and gather the blossoms when they are dry, at least 24 hours after the last rainfall. This is best done in the morning before the hot noon-day sun hits the delicate flowers. They will harvest easily. I prefer to use scissors but many foragers just gently tug on the blossoms to harvest. Choose mature flowers with bracts intact, these will drop easily into your hand or collection basket with just a little nudge. Work quickly so you can get the flowers home before they wilt.
Dry linden flowers and bracts by spreading them out on a wicker basket, lined with a linen towel, a well-ventilated area, out of direct sunlight. They will only take a few days to reach optimal dryness.
Store dried linden flowers in a glass jar with a tight-fitting lid. Store in a cool, dry spot in your home apothecary.
Harvesting the young heart-shaped leaves in spring. Young spring linden leaves can be eaten fresh (in moderation) and make a nice crunchy addition to salads. You can also dry the leaves and grind into a gluten-free nutritious flour.
Harvesting the bark is beneficial at any time of year
The Benefits of Linden Tea
For many years, linden flowers have been used as a popular beverage in Europe, where it can be found in cafes and restaurants. It is recommended for:
- reducing nervousness
- promoting relaxation
- overcoming insomnia
- reducing cramps and mild pain
- soothing indigestion
- use at the onset of a cold to reduce symptoms
- fighting inflammation with antioxidants
- baths to help calm irritable or restless children. Get ideas for herbal tea baths in this article from Joybilee Farm.
Linden Tea Recipe
Though linden flowers are often the most prized herbal remedy, the bark and leaves are also beneficial and can be steeped to produce a delicious and fragrant beverage, just like the flowers.
Linden flower tea has a delightful smell and flavor. It is a first-rate bedtime tea that can help to relax the body, while soothing an irritable and tense mind, letting you unwind and relax. (Holmes, 1997)Print
Calming linden Tea is easy to make at home.
- 1 tablespoon of dried linden flowers
- 3 cups of boiling water
- Place the linden flowers in the mesh basket of a tea pot. Pour boiling water over the flowers.
- Cover to prevent the aromatic oils from escaping in the steam. Steep for 15 minutes.
- Pour into mugs. Sweeten to taste. Drink freely.
Many people do not use enough herb in their herbal tea for therapeutic benefit. The standard serving size for many gentle herbs is 1 to 3 teaspoons per cup of tea. If you are depending on a commercial tea bag for your herbs, you’ll find that the standard tea bag contains only 1/2 or even less herbal tea. Not enough for a therapeutic benefit.
Is Linden Tea right for everyone?
While linden tea has been safely used for centuries, there are a few people that should avoid linden.
- If you are a pregnant or nursing mother, do not take this tea without at least talking to your doctor first.
- Avoid tilia tea if you have a history of heart disease. Talk to your doctor or pharmacist before consuming Linden flower tea.
- Some people are allergic to Linden trees and flowers. If that’s you, don’t use linden tea medicinally. Stop using it if you experience reactions such as hives, skin rashes, or difficulty breathing. If the symptoms persist see your doctor.
Have you harvested linden flowers for herbal tea?
Let us know your experience with linden in the comments.