Cardiovascular Herbs: Lovely Linden & Under Pressure Tea
Linden (Tilia spp.)
Energetics: slightly warm, flowers – moist, leaves-dry
Therapeutic Actions: astringent, antispasmodic, demulcent (flowers), diaphoretic, diuretic, hypotensive, sedative
Stress is the darnedest thing.
It sneaks in, sets up camp, and generally speaking – makes a royal mess of things. While stress itself produces endocrine responses, it perhaps can be most acutely felt in the heart. High blood pressure, racing heartbeat, palpitations – which pair up so “nicely” with tension, fatigue and insomnia.
Sorry for the sarcasm. My stress is showing…
So, how do we address the day to day stress in a healthy way? Clearly reducing exposure to stressors, clean diet, adequate exercise, perhaps even supplementing with vitamins and minerals is in order. But sometimes that isn’t enough to protect you from that raw, overworked, chronically tense type feeling. Carefully chosen herbs and well planned self care routines can be a vital part of this much needed self preservation protocol.
Enter sweet, gentle linden.
Linden Medicinal Benefits
Linden is associated with the relief of nervous, tense states – that over-stimulated, too much input, not enough of “me” to go around feeling. It has been used by traditional folk herbalists to address the concerns of “high blood”, indicated by redness about the face and chest, restlessness, nervous eating, weight gain, and overall sense of heat. Medically, these particular symptoms are often associated with high blood pressure. Linden also seems to have a positive impact on anxiety and nervous palpitations.
Personally, I have found it to help me clear away the distracting mental clutter, and induce a calm focus. Simply put, it helps me feel calm, but not necessarily sleepy. Linden is further useful to address migraine, tension headache, and nervous indigestion. This herb is unique in that it has both astringent and demulcent, making it particularly appropriate for instances of diarrhea, cough/sore throat and congestion due to its ability to simultaneously soothe inflammation, while also drying out excess mucus.
Linden is a common municipal tree in temperate North America and Europe, with a dense, lush canopy and fragrant late spring flowers. Sometimes referred to as a lime tree in Europe (no association with citrus), the trees are characterized by heart shaped leaves and highly aromatic yellowish to white flowers, followed by a small seed pod in fall. The young leaves have a texture much like iceberg lettuce, the flowers are sweet and somewhat lime scented, and the fall seeds allegedly taste of carob or chocolate when roasted. Leaves, flowers and inner bark all have medicinal use.
Linden Safety Consideration and Dosage
As with virtually any herb that has medicinal uses, appropriate dosage and safety concerns are a factor with linden. Long term and excessive use of linden can have a cumulative negative effect on the cardiovascular system. It should be avoided by those currently on heart and blood pressure medication. It is not an appropriate herb for pregnant or nursing women. Recommended dosage is between two and four grams daily.
Linden “Under Pressure” Tea
I’ve alluded to the ritual of tea before (in this post) as being an element of self care itself. Preparation of the herbs, grabbing your favorite tea cup, and inhaling the fragrant herbal steam are all small, simple straightforward steps that do not require planning, forethought or special equipment once your initial blend(s) are created.
I have affectionately dubbed this particular blend my “Under Pressure” tea. And yes, the Bowie song plays in my head every time that I pass by the jar of herbs. I selected herbs with complementary flavors and actions specifically to address that tension that refuses to shake loose. Those with deep, tight shoulder and neck tension, a tendency to be snappy with loved ones when stressed, and the inability to sleep well due to a list of priorities playing on repeat in their head will find this blend especially effective. Excellent as an after work or before bed tea, I also find that it is wonderful blend to sip before an important work meeting or when working on a deadline as it seems to help refine your focus to the task at hand.
This tea is well within the daily recommended dose of linden. Please check for individual contraindications and herb/drug interactions before use.
Linden "Under Pressure" Tea
When the pressures of day to day life have you bent out of shape, linden has your back. Sweet, fragrant linden offers anti-hypertensive and sedative action.
- 1 oz dried linden
- .5 oz dried vervain
- .5 oz dried chamomile flowers
- .25 oz dried holy basil
- .25 oz dried rose petal
Combine dried herbs in an airtight container. Store in a cool dry place.
To prepare tea, steep a generous teaspoon of herbs in recently simmer water for 5-7 minutes, or longer for stronger infusion. Strain and enjoy.
Wood, Matthew. (2016). The earthwise herbal repertory: the definitive practitioner’s guide. Berkeley, CA: North Atlantic Books.