LINDEN BLOSSOMS also known as Lime Blossoms
by Nicole Perez ©2004
First published in the 'Aromatherapy Times'
Vol 1 no 62 Autumn 2004 -
Journal of the International Federation of Aromatherapists
Photo 2004©Margaret & Robert Karlinska
Latin names: Tilia cordata Miller or Tilia platyphyllus Scop.
or Tilia x europea L. syn. T. x vulgaris Hayne
Botanical family: Tiliaceae
Common names: Lime tree or Linden tree or tilleul
The word lime derives from an Old English word Lynde or Lind.
The Tilia genus is a family of some 45 deciduous trees spread through the
temperate Northern part of the hemisphere.
Lime trees grow spontaneously in England and many parts of Europe, and can
live a very long time, the longest living tree is recorded to be over 700 years old.
Myths and traditions:
Many myths, stories and traditions are associated to the tree itself going back to Ancient Egypt Ancient Greece, Celtic times and the Middle Ages.
A particular Greek myth speaks of a time when the gods, Zeus and Hermes, decided to pay a visit to the land of mortals to see if they were behaving themselves. In disguise, they knocked on many doors and found that no one would give them shelter, eventually, they came to the house of Philemon and Baucis who welcomed them. To reward them of their generosity, Zeus granted them their wish to remain together forever after they died and transformed Philemon into an Oak tree and Baucis into a tilia (lime tree) so they could be side by side. It is common to find that oak trees and limes grow close to each other.
In Celtic time right up to the middle ages, the lime tree was considered sacred and it was common for judicial cases to be heard while the court sat under a lime tree as it was said to inspire fairness and justice.
Lime trees were planted by royal decree along many roads to ensure that the harvest of its flowers was plentiful, as it was used a lot for its medicinal properties.
Sitting under lime tree was said to cure epilepsy and other nervous illnesses.
In folklore medicine, because of its heart-shaped leaves the Lime tree (tilleul) was dedicated to Venus, the goddess of love, and was said to cure all diseases classified under the goddess.
Hydrosol of Linden Blossom:
Linden blossom hydrosol (distilled water) is very appreciated for its soothing and draining effect on the skin and can be used as a facial tonic or added to an aqueous cream for hypersensitive skins. It also relaxes the tissues and will give a refreshed in the morning if applying in a night cream.
Lime tea/tilleul is used in infusion by many people as a help indigestion and for those who find it difficult to go to sleep. It is a traditional herbal remedy in many countries.Linden absolute can be used in an aromatherapy blend calm and relax mind and body.
Linden Blossom absolute:
Extract from: ‘Natural Aromatic Materials: Odours and Origins’ by Tony Burfield©2004
Linden Blossom absolute is obtained by solvent extraction of the blossoms of the Small Leaved Lime, Tilia cordata Mill. (Fam. Tiliaceae) or the Large leaved Lime Tilia platyphyllus Scop. or Tilia x europea L., a hybrid of the former two species. The blossoms open in late June/July in the U.K. and on a hot day the fragrance can be intoxicatingly powerful.
Linden blossom absolutes as sold into perfumery & aromatherapy often contain added synthetics such as lilial (now a sensitiser under SCCNFP opinion), cyclamen aldehyde, even hydroxycitronellal (which is also restricted IFRA); to make them appear more “natural” synthetic farnesol is sometimes added, but this material may have a different distribution of isomers to the naturally occurring farnesol in Linden blossom.
The absolute is a red-brown to brownish-green clear viscous liquid or plastic solid with an odour that is honeyed, powdery, fresh floral. Many describe the honeyed notes as sweet and carob-like. (end of extract).