The medicinal power of small-leaved lime and lime blossom

Siegfried, the hero of the Nibelungen, could become invulnerable by a bath of blood, but a lime leaf stuck between his shoulder blades when he took a bath. He died of a wound at that spot. The Germanic people dedicated the tree to Freya, the goddess of love and fertility. The linden is an important tree in Germanic history because it gave the people food. Linden blossom is edible and tastes sweet and a bit slimy. We mainly know the lime blossom as a type of tea. The young, tender lime leaves are edible in a salad and the tough leaves must first be cooked before you can eat them. NB! This article is written from the personal view of the author and may contain information that is not scientifically substantiated and/or in line with the general view.

Botanical drawing small-leaved lime / Source: K√∂hler’s Medizinal Pflanzen, Wikimedia Commons (Public domain)


  • Naming Small-leaved lime
  • Small-leaved linden in ancient times
  • Active ingredients small-leaved lime
  • Linden blossom against flu
  • Linden blossom against unrest
  • Other medicinal effects of lime blossom
  • External applications of lime blossom
  • Inner bark of lime for biliary disorders
  • Inner bark of lime for digestive problems
  • Other effects of inner bark
  • External application inner bark linden
  • Consult a herbal therapist


Naming Small-leaved lime

In Latin this tree is called Tilia Cordata . Tilia probably comes from ‘telum’ which means ‘spear’. The light and flexible wood was used by the ancient Romans to make spears. Cordata means ‘heart-shaped’ which is a reference to the shape of the leaves. Linde comes from the Germanic word ‘Linta’ and means ‘flexible’. In addition to spears, baskets, mats, bags and rope were woven from the flexible fiber. In Dutch the tree has some alternative names: Lindeboom, Winterlinde, Steenlinde, Upelijne, Lindeboommanneke, Lende, Lendeboom, Lenneboom, Liendeboom, Lignenboom, Lijnde, Linge, Line, Linjeboom, Linne, Linneboom and Lipelyne.

Small-leaved linden in ancient times

In the past, people would plant a lime tree in the center of a new settlement, not only to have food available but also because the tree protected against evil influences. When a girl was born in a family, this was another reason to plant a lime tree. The dentally growing lime tree was a social center. Court cases were held there and music and dancing took place there. In the past, someone with epilepsy would sit under a lime tree and the symptoms would disappear or diminish. In ancient Greece, the lime tree was a widely celebrated medicinal tree. The ancient Greek Theophrastus wrote that he recommended the tree for its diuretic properties. Pliny (23-79) saw, in addition to its diuretic effect, that lime leaves led to the disappearance of blood clots. He also recommended bark vinegar to remove skin irritations. The binding capacity of lime charcoal was used to expel putrefactive products and toxins from bacteria, and to treat gastrointestinal infections, fermentation symptoms and stomach acid.

Active ingredients small-leaved lime

Both the lime blossom and the inner bark of lime are used for their medicinal applications.

Linden blossom

Mucilages, tannins, various flavonoids, essential oils including geraniol, limonene, geranyl acetate and farnesol, cyanogen glycoside, the phenolic acids caffeic acid, chlorogenic acid and p-coumaric acid, malic acid, tartaric acid, pectin and saponin. In smaller quantities, lime blossom contains amino acids, resin, phytosterols, vitamins C, E and beta-carotene. It also contains the minerals phosphorus, calcium, magnesium, potassium, iron, copper, silicon and zinc.

Inner bark

Bitter substances, phenolic acids, mucilages, tannins such as pyrrocatechol, polyphenols, phloroglucinal and including hesperidin. To a lesser extent it contains: cellulose, lignin, pectin, esculoside, fraxoside, coumarins, flavonoids, 12 amino acids, organic acids, vitamins B1, B2, B3, C, E and beta-carotene, the minerals potassium, manganese, sodium, iron, sulfur and phosphorus, the oils glycerol, linoleic acid and tiliadin, taraxerol and vanillin.

Linden blossom against flu

The cyanogen glycosides have the effect of making the sweat glands more sensitive to the sympathetic nervous system. This creates a diaphoretic effect, which means that fevers last less long. In addition, it has a soothing effect on the mucous membranes due to the mucilages present. Saponins such as geraniol and alphapinene make it an expectorant. The tannins provide an astringent effect on the mucous glands. In addition, lime blossom is a natural anti-inflammatory agent. Due to these medicinal properties, it is used by herbalists for:

  • Influenza, grippal conditions, febrile infectious diseases.
  • Respiratory disorders with dry irritating cough,
  • Colds, ideally suited for children.


Linden blossom against unrest

Essential oils such as geraniol, limonene and geranyl acetate, together with the glycosides, provide a calming effect. It also has a slightly soporific effect. Due to these medicinal effects, herbal therapists may decide to use it for the following indications:

Linden blossom / Source: N p holmes, Wikimedia Commons (CC BY-SA-3.0)

  • Restlessness, nervousness,
  • Insomnia especially in children, ADHD,
  • Anxiety, irritability, hypochondria,
  • Palpitations or palpitations,
  • Stress-related diseases: high blood pressure, headaches and stomach aches due to stress,
  • Kidney inflammation, kidney stones, bladder stones,
  • Arthritis, osteoarthritis, gout, sciatica.


Other medicinal effects of lime blossom

  • Because it has a cramp-relieving effect, it can be used for spastic coughs and gastrointestinal cramps.
  • Since it has a soothing effect on the gastrointestinal mucosa, it can be prescribed for chronic gastroenteritis or gastrointestinal infections,
  • Its stomach-strengthening and bile-dwelling properties make it a good remedy for difficult digestion.


External applications of lime blossom

The mucilages provide a soothing effect. In medical terms, lime blossom is called an emollient. In addition to internal use, this medicinal application also has external applications. Here they are arranged by type of application:

Bark lime tree / Source: Beentree, Wikimedia Commons (CC BY-SA-3.0)

Mouthwash, gargle, vaping

  • Oral mucosal inflammation or stomatitis, ulcers,
  • Laryngeal inflammation,
  • Hoarseness, sore throat,



  • Burns,
  • Itching, insect bites,
  • Frostbite.


Inner bark of lime for biliary disorders

The inner bark of linden promotes bile secretion. This makes it a tonic for the liver. It also prevents gallstones. Caffeoylic acid and chlorogenic acid, together with the bitter substances, provide a digestive effect. Vanillin relaxes the sphincter of oddi, causing less pressure on the bile ducts. Due to these medicinal properties, lime bark is prescribed for:

  • Biliary disorders such as insufficient bile secretion, poor mobility of the bile ducts, biliary colic, pain in the liver region and to prevent gallstones.
  • Weak liver function symptoms such as migraines and headaches due to pressure on the bile ducts after eating high-fat meals such as chocolate.
  • Indigestion and dyspepsia from nervousness,
  • Meteorism, flatulence.


Inner bark of lime for digestive problems

The inner bark, which is also called spider mites, has a cramp-relieving effect in the intestines. Phloroglucinol, essential oil and mucilages are the active ingredients against exaggerated intestinal cramps. The mucilages also provide a soothing effect on the intestines. Because of these medicinal activities, the inner bark of linden is prescribed for:

  • Gastrointestinal spasms and colic,
  • Irritable bowel syndrome,
  • Renal colic, menstrual cramps,
  • Chronic gastroenteritis, chronic diarrhea.


Other effects of inner bark

  • Because it dilates the blood vessels, it is used for angina pectoris or heart cramps.
  • Because it lowers blood pressure, it is prescribed for high blood pressure.
  • Due to the blood-thinning effect of flavonoids and linolenic acid, it can be prescribed as a remedy for arteriosclerosis.
  • The diuretic effect makes it a remedy for edema, kidney stones, insufficient urine secretion, obesity and cellulite.
  • The calming effect provides healing properties for: palpitations, restlessness, nervousness and insomnia, especially in children.


External application inner bark linden

The external effect of the inner bark is somewhat similar to that of lime blossom. It is primarily an emollient, an emollient. Due to these medicinal properties, it is prescribed for the following indications:

Small-leaved lime / Source: Martin Hlauka, Wikimedia Commons (CC BY-1.0)

Wash, compress

  • Burns,
  • Hemorrhoids,
  • Boils.



  • Rectal inflammation.


Mouthwash, gargle

  • Oral mucosal inflammation, canker sores,
  • Laryngeal inflammation,
  • Hoarseness


Consult a herbal therapist

Anyone who wants to use linden as a medicinal remedy is recommended to consult a herbal therapist. Linden bark and lime blossom extracts and medicines in the form of mother tinctures, powders, nebulisate, liquid extract, ointment, cream and capsules should only be used on the prescription of authorized persons. A herbal therapist can tell you more about this, as well as about any side effects and interactions with other medicines or herbs. There are also beneficial combinations with herbs. All medicinal effects of this medicinal herb mentioned in this article are based on scientific research and come from Geert Verhelst’s Large Handbook of Medicinal Plants, a standard work in the field of healing plants. The book is used in phytotherapy.

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