When you think of tea, you most likely associate it with the beverage made from the Camellia sinensis plant, which is considered to be “real” tea. On the other end of the spectrum, however, are herbal teas. These beverages are made by brewing plants other than Camellia sinensis and drinking the final product.1
Common plants used to make herbal tea include alfalfa, cinnamon, echinacea, ginger, jasmine and mugwort. Each herbal tea possesses health benefits unique to each plant that was used to make it.2 One herbal tea you should try in particular is linden tea, as it may provide diverse benefits to your well-being.
What Is Linden Tea?
Linden tea is a beverage made by boiling the flowers from the linden tree. Historically, Native Americans and early settlers used this plant to help treat a variety of conditions, such as headaches, hysteria, indigestion, gout and kidney stones.3
The species commonly used to make linden flower tea is Tilia cordata,4 also known as little-leaf linden, which can be medium- to large-sized. Beginner gardeners can grow this tree, as it is easy to care for and little pruning is required. Tilia cordata also attracts bees, which can help with the pollination of other plants.5
Potential Benefits of Linden Tea
While there’s little research on the health effects of drinking linden tea, some published data suggests that the beverage may help with the following conditions:
- Colds and coughs — Research shows that linden contains mucilage, a sticky substance that can help relieve inflamed membranes in the mouth and throat.6
- Convulsions (seizures) — According to a study published in Oxidative Medicine and Cellular Longevity, the Linden genus exhibited anticonvulsant properties among rat test subjects.7
- Digestion — Linden tea has antispasmodic properties that may help manage an upset stomach and lower inflammation in the gut.8
- Immune system — According to a study published in the Journal of Food Biochemistry, linden tea has been found to be effective against various strains of bacteria and yeasts, giving your immune system the necessary assistance to help fight off diseases.9
- Inflammation — Linden tea has anti-inflammatory compounds that may help relieve muscle aches and joint pain.10
Nutrition Facts and Caffeine Content of Linden Tea
Linden tea is an herbal tea, and therefore does not contain caffeine.11 While not particularly rich in vitamins and minerals, linden tea makes it up for this with its antioxidant content, particularly procyanidins.12 In one study, researchers noted that extracts obtained from different Tilia species show promising free radical-scavenging potential using in vitro methodologies.13
How to Make and Store Linden Tea at Home
It’s possible to make great-tasting linden tea with linden flowers gathered right out of your own backyard by growing a linden tree. Before you attempt this, make sure that you have ample space, as the Tilia species can grow very large (up to 80 feet high).14 If you’re unable to plant this tree, try opting for organic sources of linden flowers to make your own linden tea.
The best time to plant a linden tree is during the fall after the leaves drop. Make sure that your location has full sun or partial shade, along with moist, well-draining soil with a neutral pH level. However, slightly acidic levels may be tolerated, too.15
Place the tree in a planting hole parallel with the surrounding soil. Water thoroughly after planting and add more soil if depressions form around the tree. Add organic mulch around the linden to help suppress weed and hold soil moisture. Water once or twice a week for the first two or three months to keep the soil moist, but not soggy.16 Once the tree matures, flowers bloom in the early and midsummer.17
Harvest flowers when a few of them in a cluster have just opened and the rest remain closed. Dry them over the course of a few days in paper bags before transferring them to glass storage jars. Afterward, follow this procedure to make your own linden tea:18
- 1 to 2 teaspoons of dried linden flowers
- 1 cup of water
- Raw organic honey to taste
- Bring water to a boil and remove from heat.
- Steep the flowers in the cup.
- Add honey if desired.
- The tea can also be enjoyed cold if preferred.
Possible Side Effects of Drinking Linden Tea
Drinking linden tea is safe for most people. However, pregnant women should avoid this beverage as there is little information available on how it could affect your pregnancy. Similarly, breastfeeding mothers should avoid linden tea.19
Contact dermatitis may occur when you handle linden flowers.20 Those who have heart conditions should also stay away from this beverage, as the compounds may have cardiotoxic properties.21
Making Your Own Linden Tea May Benefit You
Growing your own linden tree may be a good choice for you, if space is not an issue. However, be sure to check if you’re allergic to linden flowers. If you are, consult with your doctor and look for other herbal alternatives that are more amenable to you.
Frequently Asked Questions About Linden Tea
Q: What is linden flower tea good for?
A: Evidence suggests that drinking linden flower tea may help lower the risk of convulsions (seizures), anxiety, depression and inflammation. It may help boost your immune system as well.
Q: Is linden tea safe to drink during pregnancy?
A: There’s very little evidence regarding the safety of drinking linden tea during pregnancy. As such, childbearing women and breastfeeding mothers should avoid this tea.