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| What is it?
The leaves and flowers of the Limeflower tree, or Lindenflower tree, which will be recognised by most people in the modern world because they are such a popular tree to plant in avenues, parks or gardens. Limeflower trees are tall and hardy and their graceful branches burst out in an abundance of sweet-smelling flowers every year.
How has it been used?
Limeflowers have been historically used for treating heart related problems such as throbbing headaches, high blood pressure and shortness of breath.
Limeflowers improve sleep and are highly regarded for helping with tension and anxiety.
Limeflowers have been widely used in children’s medicine for problems such as restlessness, irritability, fevers, aches and pains. Simon Mills writes 'Limeflowers are a gentle but effective relaxant especially for children and for those suffering from nervous irritability; and as an important herb in fever management'.
Rudolph Weiss M.D writes 'fresh Linden flower tea has a wonderful smell and taste and is therefore popular with children. Like Elder flower tea, Linden flower is also a good diaphoretic, (an agent the produces a therapeutic 'sweat') the potency of the two is approximately equal but the effect of Linden goes beyond that of a diaphoretic; it also results in general immune stimulation even if perspiration does not actually occur.
For colds and flu and common childhood illnesses with raised temperatures Weiss recommends a simple and effective treatment of pouring a cup of boiling water over 2-3 tsps of a combination of Lime flowers, Chamomile and Elder, covering it, allowing it to steep for 10 minutes, then straining and sipping whilst hot.
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Science on Limeflowers
~ A particularly brave (or perhaps just well-paid!) group of volunteers were willing to have an artificially induced skin-abrasion from which wound an external application of Limeflowers was shown to speed the healing (Fleischner AM: Cosmet 100:54-55, 1985)
~ In laboratory studies an extract of Limeflowers was shown to reduce anxiety (Aguirre-Hernandez E, Martinez AL, Gonzalez-Trujano ME, Moreno J, Vibrans H, Soto-Hernandez M. Pharmacological evaluation of the anxiolytic and sedative effects of Tilia J Ethnopharmacol. 2007;109(1):140-145) and likewise a sedative effect was obtained when it was inhaled as an essential oil (Buchbauer G, Jirovetz L. Jager W: Arch Pharm 325(4):247-248, 1992)
Safety of Limeflowers
No adverse effects are expected (or have ever been reported) from taking Limeflowers, even in high or frequent doses. It may be confidently taken during pregnancy or whilst breastfeeding and used by the young or old with safety.
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Limeflowers are marvellously pretty and pleasant and, especially when looking at the long traditional use as a medicine for children, it could be easy to side-line this herb as something safe, sweet but rather mild. If you think that way (which is certainly how I used to think) then look again, perhaps starting by having a good look at the great Linden tree itself; which can only be described as majestic.
If you who are reading this are studying herbal medicine or maybe you just have your own reasons to want to know this plant ally at a much deeper level then I urge you to make a cup of Limeflower tea, or take a tsp of its tincture, and then, with a quiet and attentive mind, observe for yourself how it makes you feel... Speaking for myself it has been this ancient method of experiential learning, as well as a great deal of using it with diverse people that has led me to come to observe and feel that there is a deep power inside this harmless herb. Its action is supremely gentle but at the same time I have seen how when it is the right herb for someone it can shift a long and stuck pattern of deeply held tension inside the very heart of a person...
It can certainly be seen how Limeflowers can relax constricted blood vessels in a feverish child remarkably quickly. What can also be observed if that, if given patiently to an adult it can relax not just their heart too but also the tightening in their blood vessels that is giving them such dangerous problems as high blood pressure or such warning symptoms as vascular headaches or restless legs and general agitation. It is a powerful medicine that can help with such serious troubles.
Limeflower tea can work straight away for a child or an adult with a fever but to get the action on the heart and blood vessels its influence must be sustained for weeks if not months to make any kind of a lasting shift to a stuck pattern of vascular and nervous tension.
Limeflowers combine perfectly with Hawthorn and Valerian to help heart health problems and with Elder and Chamomile for colds flu's and many other common children's health problems.
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Much of the information here about the traditional uses of Limeflowers is consistent with the model of thinking whereby one may treat problem A with plant B.
There is value in this approach, especially in how it helps us pass on useful knowledge to one another, but it falls short in one vital area; and that is that people are not all cut from the same cloth! Something that works brilliantly for one person may do less for another -- why is this?
The reason is that people vary in their constitutions as to whether they are more hot or cool and at the same time more dry or damp; more info about this here.
There is an old wisdom in treating the person first and the condition second and in this light Limeflowers can particularly offer its benefits when a relaxing action is needed in the 'cycle of healing' - something that is discussed here and shown in a chart here.
Excerpt from Felter & Lloyd's Kings Dispensatory from 1898
The European Limeflower (Tilia europaea) is a common domestic remedy in Europe for the relief of many nervous and catarrhal disorders. The leaves, flowers, and buds
are employed, and their properties may be regarded as stimulant,, tonic, and nervine.
The infusion is generally preferred for children and may be given to allay irritation and restlessness, and to promote rest and sleep. The hot infusion is employed to check diarrhoea from cold, and in the various forms of colds and catarrhal conditions, while, either hot or cold, it may be used in restlessness, nervous headaches, painful and difficult digestion, and mild hysteria. The effects upon the nervous system are also sometimes obtained by a bath prepared from the flowers.
Limeflowers forms an agreeable vehicle for other medicines and a strong tincture may be prepared of the flowers.
Please understand that I cannot personally advise you, including on products or dosage, without seeing you in my clinic but ideas
on how you might find a good herbalist in your area are here.
This living 'book' is my labour of love so, wherever you are, I wish you peace & good health!
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