Homemade Herbal Tea: Linden Flower

Linden tree in flowerI try to savor the seasons, to enjoy the fruit while it’s ripe, the snow when it’s fresh, and the sun when it shines.

Part of that enjoyment comes from knowing where I am (when I am) in the year, by the smells around me. The scent of the leaves drying in the sun means fall to me. The smell of an afternoon thunderstorm right before it hits says summer on the Front Range. Woodsmoke and wool are winter.

One of my favorite smells of summer is the linden tree. When the lindens are flowering, summer is in full swing. Man, I love that smell…

Also known as basswood or European lime, the linden lines many streets in my town and makes for an amazing olfactory adventure during June. Riding to work early in the morning is a delight when these amazing trees are in bloom. They aren’t huge trees, but some of the older ones are pretty impressive.

The flowers are yellowish-white, growing in clusters at the outside of the canopy. These are followed by the seeds, which are also sometimes called “monkey-nuts”. The immature seeds are said to resemble chocolate in flavor and aroma. I’ve never tried them, but I found a great homeschool project waiting to happen here: Making Wild Linden Chocolate. If you make this, I would love to hear about it!

To make a tea of linden flower, take a cluster of fresh flowers and steep in a mug of hot water for 3-5 minutes. Add honey or agave nectar to taste. For those who need measurements, that’s about 1 teaspoon of flowers to 1 cup water (and 1 teaspoon of honey). For large jugs of sun-tea, use 10 to 15 clusters per gallon of water, setting the jar in direct sun in the morning. Put it in the shade (or in the fridge) at noon, and by the time that you’re ready for a relaxing drink, it’ll be cool for you.

My wife and daughters brought me a spray of the flowers for my desk, and the fragrance has lasted for days. It’s probably the best that the Man Cave has smelled in a long time…

Derek Markham

Things I dig include: simple living, natural fatherhood, attachment parenting, natural building, unassisted childbirth (homebirth), bicycles, permaculture, organic and biodynamic gardening, vegan peanut butter cookies with chocolate chips, bouldering, and the blues. Find me elsewhere at @NaturalPapa, @DerekMarkham, Google+, or RebelMouse.

3 thoughts on “Homemade Herbal Tea: Linden Flower

  • July 8, 2008 at 8:59 pm

    Good post!
    I have been experimenting more with teas lately. Myself, I have been going in the “real” green tea direction and have been sourcing some pu-erh tea to try.

    It would be nice to try some tea from some locally grown plants like you have.

    I find teas very “earthy” and relaxing whereas my coffee feels like a dirty habit, but I love it!

  • June 1, 2010 at 10:20 am

    i have noticed two linden tree’s in my neighborhood,i liked the two different leaves on the tree’s and now the flowers are comming out.i asked the lady with the large tree what it was and she said it was a linden,and her girlfriend would come into town and take the flowers to make linden tea,so i went on line to see if it is true when i came to you.i cant wait.

  • June 4, 2016 at 10:37 am

    Can the tea be made from the light green tail beside the flower?


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