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Limeflower reduces stress, anxiety and symptoms such as palpitations


Tilia spp Malvaceae

The flowers from the lime tree provide a relaxing tea that has been used for centuries as a home remedy for feverish colds and other respiratory infections. Also known as linden, this tonifying herb supports the heart, circulatory and nervous systems, providing relief from anxiety and tension.

Sustainability Status

Sustainability status

Not currently on risk lists but complete data may be missing on the status of the species. Read more about our sustainability guide.

Key benefits
  • Restlessness and anxiety
  • Feverish colds
  • Circulatory problems
  • How does it feel?

    The best way to taste the qualities of limeflowers is use them (and the attached pale green leaf-like bracts) to make a strong tea, preferably in spring when the flowers are out and you can collect them fresh from the tree. You will be struck by the gentle almost incense-like fragrance, with resin-like taste that leads to a sweet, slightly acrid and weakly bitter middle taste and then a lingering floral fragrance.

    Distilling these qualities we have a remedy that is gentle yet with some power.

  • What can I use it for?

    Limeflowers can relax and help encourage sleep, particularly where an individual may be affected by nightmares or night sweats. It will reduce stress, anxiety and symptoms such as palpitations. It is also often classed as a herb suitable for use in the treatment of children.

    Its main tradition for use in Europe has been as a tea in colds and respiratory infections where feverish symptoms are setting in. Feeling chills then hot, with a raised body temperature are all signs that the body is rolling out major defences. Rather than simply taking a paracetamol or other suppressing medication it may be better to take advantage of this response and help the fever do its job. Limeflowers tea will help steady the process, stop the temperature rising too high, induce sweating at the appropriate place in the fever cycle, and reduce irritation and other tension symptoms. You will need to take to bed or sofa for a couple of days or so but the payoff will be a stronger immune system in the face of future cold attacks.

  • Into the heart of limeflower

    Limeflower calms the nerves and relaxes the blood vessels and muscles. It improves the peripheral circulation, lowers the blood pressure and encourages healthy sweating (diaphoresis) during a fever.

  • Traditional uses

    Limeflowers were most often used in popular health care as a fever-managing remedy, applicable to any member of the family from the very young (even infants) to the very old. They were among the first choices across Europe for the home management of feverish colds and infections, used as a tea to flatten the temperature curve without suppressing the beneficial work of the fever in combating the infection. Limeflowers were also highly prized as home relaxants, used in much the same way chamomile tea, to calm restlessness, irritability, particularly in children and in symptoms of anxiety. It has been used as a specific remedy in Germany for influenza in children.

  • Traditional actions

  • Traditional energetic actions

    Herbal energetics are the descriptions Herbalists have given to plants, mushrooms, lichens, foods, and some minerals based on the direct experience of how they taste, feel, and work in the body. All traditional health systems use these principles to explain how the environment we live in and absorb, impacts our health. Find out more about traditional energetic actions in our article “An introduction to herbal energetics“.

  • What practitioners say

    Circulation:Used in hypertension, palpitations, arteriosclerosis and any heart based condition which is exacerbated by stress or anxiety. Modern practice has also seen the potential of limeflowers in the treatment of other disorders of the circulation: varicosed veins, phlebitis, migraine and auto-immune attacks on the vessel walls, such as arteritis. It has long been used in England and France as a remedy in migraines and other headaches, cases where a ‘soothing’ effect on the vessel walls would be reinforced by a background relaxation and spasmolytic effect. The vasodilatory action will also reduce any constrictory tone in peripheral vessels.

    Nervous: Used in insomnia, especially among children, for recurrent nightmares, anxiety symptoms such as palpitations, mild depression, and stress-induced migraines.

  • Research

    There is no published clinical evidence for the benefits of limeflowers, but authorities like the German Kommission E and ESCOP all support the use of limeflowers in managing colds and fevers.

  • Did you know?

    There has been a long popular tradition in France and other European countries to go as families to collect the limeflowers in spring and dry them for use by all the family throughout the year. Tisane de tilieul was the standard family remedy for colds, fevers and restless children.

Additional information

  • Botanical description

    The limeflower or ‘linden’ tree is a large, canopy tree that can reach heights of up to 30m. It will naturally grow in pasture, gardens, woodland and meadows and is common throughout Europe, being a native across the temperate Northern Hemisphere. Its leaves are alternate, petilate ovate, with a serrate edge and sharp apex. 

    The parts used in teas and medicines are the creamy white flowers on long stems out of characteristic pale-green lance-shaped leaf-like bracts (a bract is part of a flower that resembles a leaf). The flowers are a creamy white and produce a sweet, light scent reflecting their taste.

    Alternate botanical names:

    There are around 45 species of lime tree around the world, some of which may be supplied as one of the three accepted species

  • Common names

    • Linden
    • Limetree
    • Basswood (Eng)
    • Linde (Ger)
    • Tilleul (Fr)
    • Tiglio (Ital)
    • Tilo (Sp)
  • Safety

    Limeflowers are widely accepted as very safe to use for the whole family.

  • Dosage

    2-10 g per day of dried flowers by infusion (tea) or equivalent in a tincture or extract

  • Constituents

    • Flavonoids herperidin, quercetin, kaempferol, astralagin
    • Volatile oils (farnesol)
    • Saponins
    • Phenolic acids
    • Condensed tannins
    • Mucilage
Limeflower (Tilia x europaea)
  • Recipe

    A ‘cup of love’ tea

    A blend of flowers bringing you some of nature’s finest love. Drink to soothe a broken heart or feed you when you just want a sip of love.


    • Chamomile flower 3g
    • Limeflower 2g
    • Marigold (calendula) petal 2g
    • Rose flower 1g
    • Lavender flower 1g
    • Licorice root 1g

    This will serve 3 cups of love.


    • Put all of the ingredients in a pot.
    • Add 500ml/18fl oz freshly boiled filtered water.
    • Leave to steep for 10–15 minutes, then strain and let the love flow.

    Brave Heart Tea

    This Brave Heart tea is a therapeutic recipe for nourishing your heart, both the physical and emotional.


    • Hawthorn berry 4g
    • Hawthorn leaf and flower 2g
    • Limeflower 2g
    • Cinnamon bark 2g
    • Motherwort 1g
    • Saffron 5 strands
    • Rose flower 1g
    • Pomegranate juice a glug (or 1 tbsp) per cup

    This will serve 2 cups of a very heartloving tea.


    • Put all of the ingredients in a pot (except for the pomegranate juice).
    • Add 500ml (18fl oz) freshly boiled filtered water. Leave to steep for 10–15 minutes, then strain.
    • Add a glug of pomegranate juice to each cup.

    ‘Let there be joy’ Tea

    Not all of life’s experiences are easy, but this tea will help you digest them with this blend of ‘instant-happiness-herbs’.


    • Lemon balm 3g
    • Limeflower 3g
    • Lavender flower 2g
    • Rosemary leaf 1g
    • St John’s wort flowering top 1g
    • Rose water 1 tsp per cup
    • Honey a dash per cup

    This will serve 2 cups of happiness.


    • Put all of the ingredients in a pot (except for the rose water and honey).
    • Add 500ml (18fl oz) freshly boiled filtered water. Leave to steep for 10–15 minutes, then strain.
    • Add the rose water and honey to taste, then sip for joy.

    These recipes are from Cleanse, Nurture, Restore by Sebastian Pole

An ‘aromatic’ remedy, high in volatile essential oils, was most often associated with calming and sometimes ‘warming’ the digestion. Most kitchen spices and herbs have this quality: they were used both as flavouring and to ease the digestion of sometimes challenging pre-industrial foods. Many aromatics are classed as ‘carminatives’ and are used to reduce colic, bloating and agitated digestion. They also often feature in respiratory remedies for colds, chest and other airway infections. They are also classic calming inhalants and massage oils, and are the basis of aromatherapy for their mental benefits.
Astringent taste
The puckering taste you get with many plants (the most familiar is black tea after being stewed too long, or some red wines) is produced by complex polyphenols such as tannins. Tannins are used in concentrated form (eg from oak bark) to make leather from animal skins. The process of ‘tanning’ involves the coagulation of relatively fluid proteins in living tissues into tight clotted fibres (similar to the process of boiling an egg). Tannins in effect turn exposed surfaces on the body into leather. In the case of the lining of mouth and upper digestive tract this is only temporary as new mucosa are replenished, but in the meantime can calm inflamed or irritated surfaces. In the case of open wounds tannins can be a life-saver – when strong (as in the bark of broadleaved trees) they can seal a damaged surface. One group of tannins, the reddish-brown ‘condensed tannins’ are procyanidins, which can reduce inflammation and oxidative damage.
Bitters are a very complex group of phytochemicals that stimulate the bitter receptors in the mouth. They were some of the most valuable remedies in ancient medicine. They were experienced as stimulating appetite and switching on a wide range of key digestive functions, including increasing bile clearance from the liver (as bile is a key factor in bowel health this can be translated into improving bowel functions and the microbiome). Many of these reputations are being supported by new research on the role of bitter receptors in the mouth and elsewhere round the body. Bitters were also seen as ‘cooling’ reducing the intensity of some fevers and inflammatory diseases.
Blue-purple colouring
Any fruits with a blue-purple colouring contain high levels of the polyphenols known as anthocyanins. These work 1) on the walls of small blood vessels, helping to maintain capillary structure to reduce a key stage in inflammation, and improving the microcirculation to the tissues; 2) to improve retinal function and vision; 3) to support connective tissue repair around the body.
Traditional ‘cold’ or cooling’ remedies often contain bitter phytonutrients such a iridoids (gentian), sesiquterpenes (chamomile), anthraquinones (rhubarb root), mucilages (marshmallow), some alkaloids and flavonoids. They tend to influence the digestive system, liver and kidneys. Cooling herbs do just that; they diffuse, drain and clear heat from areas of inflammation, redness and irritation. Sweet, bitter and astringent herbs tend to be cooling.
Traditional ‘hot’ or ‘heating’ remedies, often containing spice ingredients like capsaicin, the gingerols (ginger), piperine (black or long pepper), curcumin (turmeric) or the sulfurous isothiocyanates from mustard, horseradich or wasabi, generate warmth when taken. In modern times this might translate as thermogenic and circulatory stimulant effects. There is evidence of improved tissue blood flow with such remedies: this would lead to a reduction in build-up of metabolites and tissue damage. Heating remedies were used to counter the impact of cold, reducing any symptoms made worse in the cold. .
Mucilages are complex carbohydrate based plant constituents with a slimy or ‘unctuous’ feel especially when chewed or macerated in water. Their effect is due simply to their physical coating exposed surfaces. From prehistory they were most often used as wound remedies for their soothing and healing effects on damaged tissues. Nowadays they are used more for these effects on the digestive lining, from the throat to the stomach, where they can relieve irritation and inflammation such as pharyngitis and gastritis. Some of the prominent mucilaginous remedies like slippery elm, aloe vera and the seaweeds can be used as physical buffers to reduce the harm and pain caused by reflux of excess stomach acid. Mucilages are also widely used to reduce dry coughing. Here the effect seems to be by reflex through embryonic nerve connections: reduced signals from the upper digestive wall appear to translate as reduced activity of airway muscles and increased activity of airway mucus cells. Some seed mucilages, such as in psyllium seed, flaxseed (linseed) or guar bean survive digestion to provide bulking laxative effects in the bowel. These can also reduce rate of absorption of sugar and cholesterol. .
New-mown hay aroma
The familiar country odour of haymaking, of drying grass and other plants, is largely produced by coumarins (originally isolated from tonka beans – in French coumarou) and widely used in perfumery. They are chemically categorised as benzopyrone lactones and are important phytochemicals, with strong antioxidant activity in the laboratory and likely effects in modulating inflammation. They were most often associated with the calming effect linked to their use in stuffing mattresses and pillows and plants, high In coumarins were commonly used for these properties.
Resins are most familiar as tacky discharges from pine trees (and as the substance in amber, and rosin for violin bows). They were most valued however as the basis of ancient commodities like frankincense and myrrh (two of the three gifts of the Three Wise Men to the baby Jesus) and getting access to their source was one benefit to Solomon for marrying the Queen of Sheba (now Ethiopia). Resins were the original antiseptic remedies, ground and applied as powders or pastes to wounds or inflamed tissues, and were also used for mummification. With alcohol distillation it was found that they could be dissolved in 90% alcohol and in this form they remain a most powerful mouthwash and gargle, for infected sore throats and gum disease. They never attracted much early research interest because they permanently coat expensive glassware! For use in the mouth, gums and throat hey are best combined with concentrated licorice extracts to keep the resins in suspension and add extra soothing properties. It appears that they work both as local antiseptics and by stimulating white blood cell activity under the mucosal surface. They feel extremely effective!
The salty flavour is immediately distinctive. A grain dropped onto the tongue is instantly moistening and a sprinkle on food enkindles digestion. This easily recognisable flavour has its receptors right at the front of the tongue. The salty flavor creates moisture and heat, a sinking and heavy effect which is very grounding for the nervous system and encourages stability. People who are solid and reliable become known as ‘the salt of the earth'.
The sharp taste of some fruits, and almost all unripe fruits, as well as vinegar and fermented foods, is produced by weak acids (the taste is generated by H+ ions from acids stimulating the sour taste buds). Sour taste buds are hard-wired to generate immediate reflex responses elsewhere in the body. Anyone who likes the refreshing taste of lemon or other citrus in the morning will know that one reflex effect is increased saliva production. Other effects are subjective rather than confirmed by research but there is a consistent view that they include increased digestive activity and contraction of the gallbladder.
In the days when most people never tasted sugar, ‘sweetness’ was associated with the taste of basic foods: that of cooked vegetables, cereals and meat. In other words sweet was the quality of nourishment, and ‘tonic’ remedies. Describing a remedy as sweet generally led to that remedy being used in convalescence or recovery from illness. Interestingly, the plant constituents most often found in classic tonics like licorice, ginseng are plant steroids including saponins, which also have a sweet taste.

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