Late June weather is softly spoken, parting its lips with the odd shower and beautiful sunshine. It is also the time that the Linden trees flower here in the Pacific Northwest.
Last summer, I wildcrafted (handpicked) a pound of Linden flowers. I collected from the Big-Leafed Linden – Tilia platyphyllos – sometimes called Basswood in the USA, or Lime in Europe, but there are other Linden species, and they all have medicinal qualities and the Linden’s ancestral Germanic folklore.
According to German folklore, it was not possible to lie while standing under a linden tree.
Linden is a large, and very beautiful tree with heart shaped leaves, small white flowers, and a strident connection with Freyja. It s a strong symbol in Germanic folklore, but it also is a lovely, herbal medicine too as the flowers smell lemony and sweet, and therefore I am collecting the flowers for Freyja incense, as well as for a nice cup of tea.
In Germany, the Linden tree is a symbol of truth and justice. A Gerichtslinde (German for “court Linden”) “was a Linden tree where assemblies and judicial courts were held. Rooted in Germanic tribal law, the custom has left traces through the Germanic language-speaking areas. This connection is from Germanic mythology where the Linden tree is associated with Freyja. According to German folklore, it was not possible to lie while standing under a Linden tree. Consequently, Germans often met under Linden trees not only to dance and celebrate, but also to hold their judicial proceedings.” Consequently it makes a wonderful tree to get married beneath at Midsummer.
Sometimes, these trees are called Lime Trees which is actually just an altered form of Middle English Lind, (OE Linde). The Proto Germanic form is Lenda, Latin cognate Lentus, (meaning flexible) which also has connections to our Modern English word, Lithe, (again related to Lind). (It therefore seems reasonable to query if the the Old Norse word, Lundr, meaning grove or tree, is connected with the Proto Germanic, Lenda?)
The flowers are chiefly used in tea as a mild sedative, and anti-inflammatory. (I put them in my nighttime tea flower blend with chamomile, rose, fennel seed, liquorice root, and lavender.)
Their use is also found for colds, cough, fever, infections, inflammation, high blood pressure, headache (particularly migraine), as a diuretic (increases urine production), and as an antispasmodic (reduces smooth muscle spasm along the digestive tract).
Bees really love Linden Flowers, and the two yield a pale, fragrant honey.