The Small-leaved Lime (Linden Tree) is a tree native to much of Europe, including southern Great Britain north to about Durham.
It grows to 20-35 m tall, with a trunk up to 1-1.5 m diameter. The leaves are rounded to triangular-ovate, 4-8 cm long and broad, mostly hairless (unlike the related Tilia platyphyllos) except for small tufts of brown hair in the leaf vein axils. The small yellow-green hermaphrodite flowers are produced in early summer, have a rich, heavy scent; the trees are much visited by bees.
Tilia cordata is widely grown as an ornamental tree throughout its native range in Europe. It was much planted to form avenues in 17th and early 18th century landscape planning. It is the national tree of the Czech Republic and Republic of Slovenia.
Most medicinal research on linden trees has focused upon Tilia cordata although Tilia platyphyllos is also used medicinally and somewhat interchangeably. The dried flowers are mildly sweet and sticky, and the fruit is somewhat sweet and mucilaginous. Limeflower tea has a pleasing taste, due to the aromatic volatile oil found in the flowers. The flowers, leaves, wood, and charcoal (obtained from the wood) are used for medicinal purposes. Active ingredients in the lime flowers include flavanoids (which act as antioxidants), volatile oils, and mucilaginous constituents (which soothe and reduce inflammation). The plant also contains tannins that can act as an astringent..
Lime flowers are used in colds, cough, fever, infections, inflammation, high blood pressure, headache (particularly migraine), as a diuretic (increases urine production), antispasmodic (reduces smooth muscle spasm along the digestive tract), and sedative. New evidence shows that linden flowers may be hepatoprotective. The flowers were added to baths to quell hysteria, and steeped as a tea to relieve anxiety-related indigestion, irregular heartbeat, and vomiting. The leaves are used to promote sweating to reduce fevers. The wood is used for liver and gallbladder disorders and cellulitis (inflammation of the skin and surrounding soft tissue). That wood burned to charcoal is ingested to treat intestinal disorders and used topically to treat edema or infection, such as cellulitis or ulcers of the lower leg.