Linden: Herb of the Week

Also known as basswood, lime flower, and tilleul, linden – Tilia spp. – is our herb of the week this time.

A Hug In A Mug

We like to call linden “a hug in a mug”, and I don’t know what I would do without it! This morning was a perfect linden day: I woke up from restless dreams into grey chilly weather and, despite a to-do list filled with work I actually wanted to do, I just wanted to cry for no particularly good reason. Instead, I drank a big pot of linden tea, which was much nicer than crying.

Usually when I want to cry for no good reason, it’s a sign that I’ve been pushing myself too hard and I need to back off – and linden is just right for that! Linden is moistening and soothing to the nervous system which is feeling really dry in times like these. It’s right in our language: “I’m fried” or “I’m frazzled” – those are dry words! The next time you’re feeling wrung out, give linden a try!

Heart-Soothing

Linden is an invaluable aid to those with cardiovascular issues, as well, and a big part of that comes back to this stress-management aspect. When folks have high blood pressure or other cardiovascular problems, everyone acknolwedges that stress plays a role, but the advice to “reduce stress” isn’t always super useful. How exactly are we supposed to reduce stress these days? It’s a pretty stressful time! Sure, we can stop watching the news or try to come home from work a little earlier, but those suggestions only go so far.

This is where the herbs can really step in! Linden is just so lovely for reducing stress, and we often pair it with hawthorn, which nourishes the heart tissue and is high in antioxidants. If you add some tulsi to that, which is another stress buster and helps bring down cortisol levels, you have a delicious and potent formula that will really put a dent in those stress levels! Now, if you also can wiggle in time for a 15 minute walk during the day, and make sure you’re getting a couple extra servings of veggies, you’re really starting to build a whole stress reduction plan that can be very effective!

A Counterpoint To Cannabis

In Massachusetts, cannabis is legal, and in lots of other states too. A lot of people know a lot of things about cannabis, but the one thing I really want people to know is that it’s just one of so many plants. It’s not fair to expect ONE plant to do everything, and especially with a plant as potent as cannabis, it’s not a great idea to work with it alone – strong plants like that really want to be team players.

Cannabis is cooling and drying – which means that in your body, it will slow things down and dry them out. Sometimes that’s what you want, but eventually all that dryness is going to get uncomfortable. If you’re a person who smokes cannabis, you don’t have to smoke it by itself – consider adding warming plants like tulsi to the mix. Tulsi is a great stress-buster, and is an excellent ally in working to heal trauma and PTSD. Plus, it’s warming, so you won’t get stuck in a too-chilled-out place.

It’s not easy to moisten up a smoke though, so instead, how about building a tea habit: a cold infusion of linden is super moistening, and is also targeting the nervous system in a stress-busting kind of way. All you have to do is put two or three tablespoons of linden into a mason jar of room temperature water, and let it sit there for 4-8 hours (overnight works great!). Then strain it and drink the whole quart over the course of the day. It tastes great, and can really help to counteract the dryness! So if you’re pro-cannibis, drink some linden every day! And if you’re not into cannabis, or if like me, you’re allergic to it, drink linden daily anyway: it’ll soothe your stress away and help you relax!

Ants!

Have you been noticing all the ants in the linden photos here? Plants are in relationship with all the animals, not just us humans. In the case of linden, the ants are actually FARMING on the linden leaves – they’re growing bumper crops of aphids, which they will then eat. And of course all kinds of insects are drawn to the sugary sweet nectar of the linden flowers. We’re not the only ones who figured out agriculture 🙂 But the ants are helping the tree as well – they’re pollinators (along with bees, flies, and lots of other insects). Things like this always remind me that we humans are just a tiny part of an enormously complex ecosystem, and that we should move through the world with great humility.

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Want to learn more about herbs that can make your life better? Check out our Materia Medica program – it’s a complete herbal toolkit to keep you healthy and strong!

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