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Linden

Linden
© Sertürner Bildarchiv

Botanical name

Little-leaf Linden- Tilia cordata Mill.
Large-leaf Linden - Tilia platyphyllos Scop.

Family

Linden family (Tiliaceae)

Common name

Lime, Basswood

Useful information about the plant

The Large-leaf and Small-leaf Linden are widely used in Europe and they are a popular street and park trees. They blossom only after full foliage, Large-leaf Linden in June, the Small-leaf Linden in July. In the heat of summer you can smell the scent of honey for long stretches coming from the abundant nectar at the bottom of the sepals, which attracts the bees and other insects. The name "Linde" probably comes from its soft wood or pliable bast, which was formerly taken from the branches and trunks and used as a binding material (Patois "Lind" = bast). The epithet of the Small-leaf linden cordata takes on the heart-shaped leaf reference from Latin "cor" (= heart) or "cordatus" (= heart-shaped). The epithet of the Large-leaf linden platyphyllos comes from the Greek "platys" (= wide) and "phyllon" (= leaf). They are tall trees (up to 40m) with characteristic panicle inflorescence. The flowers are whitish-yellow and have a striking feature of numerous (up to 40) stamens. On the Small-leaf linden there are 4 to 15 flowers together on one panicle-type inflorescence. A wing-like, half-panicled, membranous top leaf, act like a propeller blade when the fruit falls off as they float through the air and can be dispersed by the wind.

Medicinally used plant parts (drug)

The dried flower heads of both linden trees are used. The commercial drug comes from the Balkans, Turkey and China.

Ingredients of the drug

Linden flowers contain flavonoids, mucilage, tannins and volatile oil.

Descriptions of the quality

The quality of the lime blossom (Tilia flos) is specified in the European Pharmacopoeia (Ph. Eur.).

Medical Application

Recognised medical use

For colds and related dry coughs (Commission E).

Traditional use

Traditionally used in combination with other drugs to help remove the mucus in the respiratory tract (traditional use in accordance with § 109a).

Medicinal herbal preparations in finished drug products

Crushed lime-blossom as a tea.

Dosage

Tea infusion: drink a cup of linden tea as hot as possible (sweating cure), 2 to 4 times daily average daily dose of 2-4 grams. The drug is useful in combination with other drugs (colds).

Preparation of a tea infusion

Pour 150ml of boiling water over 1 to 2g of lime blossom and strain after 5-10 minutes.

Advice

There is no experience on the safety in the use of lime blossom during pregnancy and breast-feeding as well as for use in children under 12 years old.

Side effects

None known

Interactions

None known

References

Drug monographs

Commission E

Further reading

Wichtl: Teedrogen und Phytopharmaka, pg. 667
Schilcher: Leitfaden Phytotherapie, pg. 166
Van Wyk: Handbuch der Arzneipflanzen, pg. 324
Kommentar zum Europäischen Arzneibuch (Lime blossom, no. 957)

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