Linden flowers have a pleasant, tangy taste, and for this reason the tree is sometimes called “lime flower.” Besides use in beverages and liqueurs, linden flower has a long history of medicinal use for such conditions as colds and flus, digestive distress, anxiety, migraine headaches, and insomnia. The wood of the linden tree has been used for liver problems, kidney stones, and gout.

Linden flower has been approved by Germany’s Commission E for the treatment of cold symptoms.1 Unfortunately, there is no meaningful evidence that it is helpful for this purpose. Linden is said to promote sweating, and this in turn has long been presumed to be helpful for people with colds; however, there is no meaningful evidence that sweating helps colds, nor that linden promotes sweating.

Other proposed uses of linden also lack scientific support. Two exceedingly preliminary studies that evaluated linden flower for potential sedative or anti-anxiety effectsreturned contradictory results.2,3 Very weak evidence hints that linden flower might help reduce symptoms of digestive upset 4-6 and protect the liverfrom toxins.7One highly preliminary study found possible anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving effects with linden leaf.8 However, none of this research approaches the level of meaningful evidence. Only double-blind, placebo-controlled studies can show a treatment effective, and none have been performed on linden. (For information on why such studies are essential, see Why Does This Database Rely on Double-blind Studies?)

Other proposed benefits of linden that lack any meaningful supporting evidence include the claims that linden flower reduces blood pressure, prevents blood clots, and decreases risk of stroke or heart attack, and that linden bark can treat viral hepatitis.