The lime tree
Linden is an ornamental tree very common in parks and gardens. Its botanical name is Tilia, and belongs to the Tiliacee family. It is native to the Northern Hemisphere, so it is easily found in Europe. Linden trees are very large and robust, as well as long-lived, given that they can live several decades. They are characterized by a very expanded and deep root system, and by elongated leaves, which facilitate the spread of flowers. The latter are very fragrant and yellowish in color, usually with five petals. The lime tree, due to its particular and elegant beauty, has been at the center of many myths and legends: for example, in the legend of Filemone and Bauci, it is said that the latter was transformed into a linden tree, to remain next to her husband . This is why the tree is considered a symbol of marital fidelity.
The multiple uses of the lime tree
The lime tree can have a purely ornamental purpose, but many of its parts are destined for different uses. For example, linden wood, which has a pinkish white color, although not particularly long-lasting, is used to make furniture, matches, pencils, or piano keys for its beauty. The bark is worked to make mats. Finally, its flowers are highly sought after by bees, which produce an excellent, slightly aromatic honey, loved by connoisseurs. The flowers themselves are edible: they can be put in salads, or they can be used to flavor sweets or syrups. Finally, there is ample use of linden flowers in herbal preparations, since they have many beneficial virtues, suitable for treating various pathologies.
The properties of linden flowers
Linden flowers have many recognized healing properties. In fact they are diaphoretic; this term indicates that they favor sweating and therefore the elimination of waste and toxins harmful to the human organism. They also serve to rehydrate and combat irritation, since they have an emollient effect. They are excellent expectorants, so they are used to treat greasy coughs and colds, and they also have a sedative and calming effect. All these characteristics derive from the presence, inside them, of flavonoids and mucilages, as well as of essential oils that are distilled to make dyes. More frequently, however, linden flowers are used fresh or dried to make infusions, which, besides being curative, are also extremely pleasant to drink.
Linden flowers: How to pick linden flowers
The linden produces flowers in late spring, and the best time to harvest them is between June and July, when they are not yet completely hatched. As we said, they can also be used fresh, but to make infusions in general they are dried. The best procedure for drying is to place them in a dry and ventilated place, also exposed to the sun, but away from sources of humidity. Once dried the flowers can be kept for up to twelve months, closed in a glass jar. Afterwards, the herbal tea can be prepared by infusion, leaving the flowers to soak in boiling water for at least ten minutes. Drinking it in the evening helps sleep; moreover it favors the melting of the mucus, in case of cough and cold. For external use, linden wraps are useful for relaxing the face and relaxing the eyes.