Linden tea has been valued for its potent sedative properties for centuries.
It’s derived from the Tilia genus of trees, which typically grows in temperate regions of North America, Europe, and Asia. Tilia cordata, also known as small-leaved lime, is considered the most potent species of the Tilia genus.
Linden tea has been used in folk medicine across cultures to relieve high blood pressure, calm anxiety, and soothe digestion.
Flowers, leaves, and bark are boiled and steeped to create this herbal infusion. Separately, these components have been used for different medicinal purposes.
Here are 8 surprising benefits of linden tea.
1. Linden tea may promote relaxation
Sitting down to enjoy a warm cup of tea can be a comforting ritual.
Although, linden tea goes beyond the comforts of an everyday mug of tea.
Its steeped sweet flowers have been used in folk medicine to promote relaxation and relieve anxiety symptoms, and some studies seem to support these claims.
One mouse study found that extracts from the buds of Tilia tomentosa, a kind of linden tree, had strong sedative properties.
Researchers concluded that this linden extract mimicked the activity of gaba-aminobutyric acid (GABA), a brain chemical that inhibits excitability in the human nervous system.
Thus, linden tea may promote relaxation by acting like GABA. Still, more research is needed to learn exactly how this happens.
Summary: Linden tea may promote relaxation by inhibiting your ability to become excited. However, human research on this effect is lacking.
2. Linden tea may help fight inflammation
Chronic inflammation can contribute to the developing of many conditions, including type 2 diabetes and cancer.
Antioxidants help fight inflammation, potentially lowering your risk of disease. Flavonoids are a type of antioxidant in Tilia flowers, whereas tiliroside, quercetin, and kaempferol are specifically associated with linden buds.
Tiliroside is a potent antioxidant that scavenges free radicals in your body. Free radicals can cause oxidative damage, which can lead to inflammation.
Kaempherol may fight inflammation as well. Plus, some studies show that it may provide cancer-fighting properties.
As the amount of these antioxidants may vary by brand and tea blend, more research is needed to determine how much linden tea you need to drink to reduce inflammation.
Summary: Linden tea contains powerful antioxidants like tiliroside and kaempferol that help fight inflammation. Chronic inflammation is associated with many diseases, including diabetes and cancer.
3. Linden tea may reduce mild pain
Chronic pain affects millions of people around the world. In 2016, 20% of U.S. adults experienced it. Interestingly, some of the antioxidants in linden tea may ease the pain.
One study found giving 45.5 mg of tiliroside per pound (100 mg per kg) of body weight to mice with swollen paws reduced swelling and pain by nearly 27% and 31%, respectively.
Another 8-week study in 50 women with rheumatoid arthritis, characterized by painful and stiff joints, found that supplementing with 500 mg of quercetin, an antioxidant in linden tea, significantly improved pain symptoms and markers of inflammation.
However, keep in mind that 500 mg of quercetin is a lot. Adults in the United States consume 10 mg of this antioxidant daily, on average. However, this number varies greatly depending on your diet, with 80 mg daily considered a high intake.
The amount of quercetin or other flavonoids in linden tea differs greatly depending on the brand and the proportions of buds, leaves, and bark in a particular blend.
As a result, it’s impossible to know how much of these antioxidants you may get in a single cup of tea. Additional research is needed to determine how much this beverage is needed to relieve pain.
Summary: Tiliroside and quercetin — two antioxidants in linden tea — may help reduce pain. Still, more research is needed to determine how much tea you would need to drink to reap this potential benefit and whether the amount would be safe.
4. Linden tea may have diuretic effects
The inner bark of the Tilia tree has been associated with diuretic and diaphoretic effects. A diuretic is a substance that encourages your body to excrete more fluid, while a diaphoretic is a substance that’s used to cool a fever by encouraging sweat.
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Linden tea has been used in folk medicine to promote sweating and productive coughs when a minor illness like a cold takes hold.
In Germany, 1–2 cups (235–470 ml) of linden tea at bedtime is approved as a sweat-promoting infusion in adults and children over 12.
These effects may be caused by combining its plant compounds, specifically quercetin, kaempferol, and p-coumaric acid. Currently, scientific evidence directly linking linden tea and its chemical properties to diuretic effects is insufficient.
Most of the available data regarding this association is anecdotal, though it spans back to the Middle Ages. Thus, this purported health benefit warrants further investigation.
Summary: Linden tea has been used in folk medicine to promote sweating and is considered a diuretic. However, scientific research to explore these claimed effects is warranted.
5. Linden tea is linked to lower blood pressure
Some plant components in linden tea, such as tiliroside, rutoside, and chlorogenic acid, are thought to lower blood pressure.
One mouse study found that tiliroside, an antioxidant in linden tea, affected calcium channels in the heart. Calcium plays a role in your heart’s muscular contractions.
Mice were injected with doses of 0.45, 2.3, and 4.5 mg of the antioxidant per pound (1, 5, and 10 mg per kg) of body weight. As a response, systolic blood pressure (the top number of a reading) decreased.
This may help explain why linden tea has been used to reduce blood pressure in folk medicine.
Yet, this effect is not fully understood and needs further scientific investigation. Linden tea should never be used to replace heart medications.
Summary: Folk medicine has used linden tea to lower blood pressure. The mechanism behind this effect is unknown and needs to be studied further.
6. Linden tea may help you sleep
Sleep quality and duration significantly affect your health.
Linden tea is readily used in folk medicine to promote sleep. Its plant compounds have strong sedative properties, which may encourage relaxation that leads to sleep.
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One mouse study found that extracts from Mexican Tilia trees caused sedation. Researchers believe that the extract depressed the central nervous system, causing drowsiness.
Still, more research is needed to explore the relationship between linden tea and sleep.
Summary: Linden tea promotes sleep, but how it exerts this effect is limited to anecdotal evidence. More research is needed to understand the relationship.
7. Linden tea soothes your digestive tract
Like any hot tea, linden tea delivers gentle heat and hydration. Both soothe your digestive tract, as water can help food move through your intestines. Folk medicine touts the use of linden tea in times of stomach discomfort.
In one small study in children with antibiotic-resistant diarrhea, tiliroside showed potent antibacterial properties. While this antioxidant was extracted from a different flower, it’s also found in linden tea.
That said, no evidence directly links the compounds in linden tea to an ability to soothe an irritated digestive tract.
Summary: Linden tea may soothe your digestive system during gastric distress. Tiliroside, one of its plant compounds, has been shown to help fight infectious diarrhea. Still, more research is needed on linden tea specifically.
8. Linden tea is easy to add to your diet
Adding linden tea to your diet is easy. Since it can promote relaxation and sleep, drinking a cup before bedtime may be a good idea. You can enjoy it on its own or with a wedge of lemon and a dollop of honey.
You can even steep a few bags of linden tea overnight in room-temperature water and drink it as iced tea in the summertime.
If possible, steeping your tea leaves without a filter bag is a good idea. Studies have found that this helps retain more of their antioxidants.
Summary: Adding linden tea to your diet can be as simple as brewing a warm mug. To get the most antioxidants out of your tea, steep your tea loose without filtered bags.
Downsides of linden tea
The European Medicines Agency finds that moderate intake, defined as 2–4 grams of the tea blend per day, is safe. However, you should not drink the tea in excess.
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A typical 8-ounce (235-ml) mug of linden tea contains about 1.5 grams of loose tea. Still, there is some variability in how much you may ingest after it infuses hot water. Limiting your intake to no more than 3 cups a day is a good idea, as needed.
Though it is generally considered safe, avoid linden tea if you’re allergic to linden or its pollen.
Safety in children and pregnant or nursing women
The safety of linden tea in pregnant or nursing women is unknown. Therefore, it’s not recommended to drink this tea under these circumstances.
It has not been tested in children, so it’s not recommended for regular use in this population.
Long-term use is linked to heart disease
Those with a history of heart conditions should not use Linden tea and other products derived from the Tilia tree family.
In rare cases, frequent, long-term use has been linked to heart disease and damage.
For this reason, it’s best to drink it in moderation. Those with heart disease or other heart issues should talk to their healthcare provider before regularly consuming this tea.
Linden tea can interact with certain medications
People taking lithium medications should not drink linden tea, as the beverage can change how your body excretes this element. This can affect dosing and may have serious side effects.
Because linden tea may promote the excretion of fluids, avoid taking it with other diuretics to prevent dehydration.
Summary: While linden tea may offer many health benefits, frequent, long-term use may cause heart damage. It should not be used by children or people who have heart problems, take certain medications, or are pregnant or nursing.