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Linden flowers are the common name often given to the flowers of various species of tree of the family Tiliaceae. Examples include Tilia cordata, Tilia platyphyllos, and Tilia parvifolia. Other common names used for this kind of tree include white wood, lime tree, and basswood. The linden tree grows in many temperate regions of America, Europe, and Asia. It usually grows into a medium sized tree, with dark green leaves, and the linden tree flowers are yellow, or yellow and white in color.
Linden flower extract has been used historically in many folk medicine treatments. Linden flower tea was often used to treat stomach upsets, anxiety, the common cold, and heart palpitations. The extract was also sometimes used in baths as an anti-hysteria treatment. One old wives’ tale even led some people to believe that epilepsy could be cured simply by having the sufferer sit under a linden tree!
Modern research suggests that one of the main active components of the linden tree flower may include substances called flavonoids, also known as bioflavonoids. These substances are plant pigments that are soluble in water. One of the characteristics of bioflavonoid substances appears to be that they assist the uptake of vitamin C in the body. The exact mechanism by which these substances produce health benefits, however, has not been fully demonstrated by scientific research.
Herbal extracts based on the flowers of the linden tree are widely marketed as alternative treatments for a large number of illnesses and disorders. These include both internal and external treatments. Internal treatments, involving ingestion of the supplement, include treatments for coughs and colds, high blood pressure, insomnia, and headaches. For external treatments, the linden flowers may be used to make a lotion, an infusion, or a compress. The lotion may be used to soothe itchy skin conditions, the infusion may be poured into a bath as a relaxant, and the compress may be used to treat eye infections.
Linden flowers are not believed to have any poisonous substances, and the herbal extracts are usually considered safe even for young children and pregnant women. Sometimes, however, people with known heart conditions are advised to avoid these extracts due to claims that it may cause cardiac damage, but further research is probably required to confirm or refute this claim. Another rare side effect that may be seen is an allergic reaction to the linden flowers.
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