Yum, Yum, the sweet scent of Linden is in the air in Moscow, Idaho. As you are walking in East City Park or downtown simple follow your nose to the sweetest smelling tree and you’ll find Linden also known as Tilia. The exotic scent and buzz of bees helps to define this medicinal tree. The heart shaped leaves are larger or smaller depending upon the variety and trees origin, the small ones identifying a Chinese variety and the larger leaves identifying White Basswood, a European variety. These fragrant trees were brought to America for shade and often planted in parks since they grow quickly and often to 100 feet tall. The pollen rich flowers contribute to excellent honey, and the wood is prized for sculpting and musical instrument making. I gather the flowers to make a relaxing tea.
Most summers the flowers are at their peak in late June to mid-July in north Idaho. I go out at the end of the day just before sunset when the air is cool. Since the flowers are dangling from the trees and it is hard to hold both the gathering basket and the scissors, I gather in one of two ways depending upon if the ground is flat or on a slope. If the area is flat, I lay a clean cotton sheet out on the ground below tree and snip the flowers allowing them to fall onto the sheet below. One the sheet is full, I transport the Linden blossoms to a bag. One of my favorite new gathering spots is on a slope, so I have learned to tie a plastic grocery bag to a belt loop and gather by placing each handful of flowers into the bag. I use one hand to steady the tree branch and the other one to gather the flowers.
Once home I dry the Linden flowers in wicker baskets that I set on a wooden clothes drying rack. The flowers dry relatively quickly in 3-5 days and shrink in size. If your drying baskets have a loose weave, line them with paper towels or a light cotton gauze cloth when drying Linden. This helps you use every bit of the flowers for tea.
For a rejuvenating nerve tonic tea I blend Linden flowers with equal parts of Rosemary leaves and Lavender flowers. Pour 2 cups of boiling water over the tea blend and steep for 20 minutes. I like this tea when I feel fatigued. It helps to create calm focused sustained action.
Another favorite tea I formulate is Rose Relaxing tea which contains organic Rose petals gathered from my meditation rose garden, organic Lemon balm from my gardens, and the wild Linden flowers that I gather. This tea is great for all ages to help you drift into a peaceful night’s sleep and also encourages sweet dreams.
In the summertime allow the bright sun to heat up the water for your tea. To make a Sun Tea, steep one Tablespoon herbs in a quart jar filled with water for 1-2 hours in the heat of the day. Strain off the herbs and compost them. You can drink a cup of Rose Relaxing Tea and pour the rest of the lovely scented tea into your bathtub or a foot bath.
May the sweetness of Linden lighten up your Life!