Lime tree or basswood (Tilia cordiata, for the most common species) is a large tree that belongs to the Tiliaceae familythat grows in forests throughout Europe and North America, and is often encountered in our parks and urban gardens.
Herbal medicine uses its flowers, leaves and parts of its bark, the sapwood, for their numerous health benefits and therapeutic value.
Health benefits of lime tree or basswood
- As sedatives, diuretics and antispasmodics, lime tree flowers are prescribed for their properties that act on the nervous system and on digestive functions. In the evening, a lime tree infusion (1/5th oz (5 g) flowers per cup boiling water) complements slow and difficult digestion, soothes anxiety, alleviates headaches, and helps insomniacs to recover sleep (especially in case of stress).
- Lime tree sapwood stimulates liver activity, regulates bile secretion and enhances kidney functions.
- Lime tree or basswood is an excellent remedy against flu and colds. It lowers fever, diminishes nasal secretions and reduces headaches and sore muscles that are connected to the fever.
- Just before going to bed, a bath with lime tree flowers seems to calm down excited children, and does the same to adults who suffer from nervous fatigue, insomnia and anxiety.
- In case of itchiness, skin dryness, dry patches and small pimples, a lotion made from a lime tree flower decoction used as a beauty toner soothes the skin – 1 ½ oz (50 g) dried flowers to boil in 1 quart (1 liter) water.
Growing lime tree or basswood for its health benefits
- This tree, that can reach 130 feet (40 meters) and live for centuries, requires non-scorching sun and a well ventilated space. It is partial to deep soil that is cool (even moist) and thick or chalky.
- Take note that lime tree attracts all kinds of pollinating insects: try to keep it far from the house.
Using lime tree in cooking for its health benefits
- Flowers and young basswood leaves can be incorporated into mixed salads, but the tasty flowers are what most people dote on savored in infusions.
- Lime tree honey has a very strong, slightly bitter taste and is recommended for anxious, nervous or insomniac persons.