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Lime/Linden

Lime/Linden

Botanical Description & Habitat

Tilia cordata, t. platphyllos

Family
Tiliaceae

Common Names

Basswood
Lime flower
Lime tree (Europe)
Linden tree (America), small-leaved and large-leaved varieties

Description:

A large tree with heart-shaped leaves. Yellow-white flowers have 5 petals.

Habitat
Throughout Europe and America

Medicinal Parts.
The dried inflorescences or flowers.

Historical Properties & Uses

Lime or Linden flower tea has been used since the Middle Ages as a diaphoretic, nervine, bechic and soothing agent. It is used to treat headaches, indigestion, hysteria and diarrhea, among other uses.

Linden flower has approval status by the German Commission E for colds and coughs.

Linden's emollient quality has been utilized in lotions for itchy skin.

Other Linden products, however, are unapproved:

Linden Charcoal
Linden flower, silver
Linden leaf
Linden wood

Either there was insufficient evidence in favor, or a contraindication.

References:

Blumenthal, M (Ed.): The Complete German Commission E Monographs: Therapeutic Guide to Herbal Medicines. American Botanical Council. Austin, TX. 1998.

Method of Action

The Pharmacology of Lime/Linden
Lime/Linden contains a number of flavonoid compounds, especially quercetin and derivatives, kaempferol, and coumarins such as p-coumaric acid, which are responsible for most of the plant's medicinal activity. Tannic acid (protocatechic tannins) and significant quantities of mucilage are also present and add to the plant's activity. A very rich, fragrant and complicated volatile is also a part of linden flowers. The component responsible for the diaphoretic property remains unknown.

Linden has Anti-influenza Action
One interesting study focused on linden to treat influenza in children. A large group of children with influenza were divided into three groups:

(1) received linden blossom, bedrest and aspirin
(2) received the same treatment as Group 1, and were additionally given sulphonamides
(3) received antibiotics only

Those in Group 1 recovered most quickly with the fewest complications (middle ear infections, etc.). The results were roughly 10:1 in favor of the herbal group.

The British Herbal Pharmacopoeia recognizes linden (lime) tree as a sedative, spasmolytic, diaphoretic, diuretic and mild astringent, for use in the treatment of migraine, hysteria, arteriosclerotic hypertension, and feverish colds. It is specifically indicated in cases of raised arterial pressure associated with arteriosclerosis and nervous tension.

Linden is Combined with hawthorn in hypertension, with hops for the nervous system in neurosis, and with elder flowers for treating the common cold.

Drug Interactions & Precautions

Known Interactions
Linden, insofar as its diuretic action, increases the renal excretion of sodium and chloride. It may potentiate the hyperglycemic and hyperuremic effects of glucose elevating agents.

Possible Interactions
Linden should not be used with methotrimeprazine, a potent CNS depressant analgesic.

The topical application of this astringent herb in conjunction with the acne product tretinoin (retinoic acid, vitamin A acid) may adversely affect the skin.

The tannin in Linden may potentiate the antibiotic activity of echinacea. The tannin in a tea made from this herb may be inactivated by the addition of milk or cream.

The antacid nature of Linden may decrease or delay the absorption of nalidixic acid and the sulfonamides.

Due to the spasmolytic nature of this herb it may interact in unknown ways with CNS depressants or stimulants.

The use of diuretics may require dosage adjustments of antidiabetic drugs.

Comments
The neuromuscular relaxing action of Linden may be enhanced by the use of certain aminoglycoside antibiotics, such as clindamycin.

In the absence of other hard data, it may still be assumed observable interactions may occur between the many central nervous system drugs and the psychoactive nature of Linden.

Safety Factors & Toxicity

There is some evidence continued frequent use of linden flower tea can cause heart damage. In therapeutic doses, used intermittently, linden is nontoxic.

Tea should, therefore, be avoided by anyone with a heart condition.

The German Commission E status of charcoal, leaves and flowers of Linden is "null" or neutral i.e. while it is not approved, there is no documented risk. There may also be some concern over the claims made by manufacturers i.e. they are unproven.

Linden flower has approval status by the German Commission E.

References:

Blumenthal, M (Ed.): The Complete German Commission E Monographs: Therapeutic Guide to Herbal Medicines. American Botanical Council. Austin, TX. 1998.


Preparation & Administration

Infusion
Use 1-4g of dried inflorescence with bract

Liquid Extract
Use 2-4mil of 1:1 in 25% alcohol

Tincture
Use 1-2ml of 1:5 in 45% alcohol

Linden flower has approval status by the German Commission E.

Recommended daily dosages in Germany are as follows:

2 - 4 g of the herb.

References:

Blumenthal, M (Ed.): The Complete German Commission E Monographs: Therapeutic Guide to Herbal Medicines. American Botanical Council. Austin, TX. 1998.

Note: This Herbal Preparation information is a summary of data from books and articles by various authors. It is not intended to replace the advice or attention of health care professionals.

References

Blumenthal, M (Ed.): The Complete German Commission E Monographs: Therapeutic Guide to Herbal Medicines. American Botanical Council. Austin, TX. 1998.

Braun, H. & D. Frohne. Heilplanzen-Lexikon Fuer Aerzte und Apotheker. Gustav Fisher Verlag, Stuttgart, New York, 1987.

British Herbal Pharmacopoeia, British Herbal Medicine Association, 1983.

Duke, J.A. CRC Handbook of Medicinal Herbs, CRC Press, Inc., Boca Raton, Florida, 1985.

Facts and Comparisons. The Lawrence Review of Natural Products. Jul, 1997.

Mowrey, Daniel B., Ph.D. Exper. Psych., Brigham Young University. Director of Nebo Institute of Herbal Sciences. Director of Behavior Change Agent Training Institute. Director of Research, Nova Corp.

Pahlow, M. Das Grosse Buch der Heilpflanzen, Graefe and Unzer Publishers, Munich, 1979, pp. 221-223.

Schauenberg, P. & F. Paris. Guide to Medicinal Plants, Keats Publishing, Inc., New Canaan, Connecticut, 1977.

Tyler, V. The New Honest Herbal, Stickley, Philadelphia, 1987.

Weiss, R.F. Herbal Medicine. Beaconsfield Publishers, LTD, Beaconsfield, England, 1988.