Lime Tree Flowers Of (_tiliaceoe_)

Though not a native of Great Britain, yet, because of its common

growth in our roadways and along the front of terraced houses, and

in suburban avenues, the Lime Tree has become almost indigenous.

In the old Herbals it is called Lyne or Line, Tillet, Till tree, and

Tilia, each of these names bearing reference to the bast or inner bark

of the tree, which is used in the North for cordage. Others say the

is an alteration of Telia, from telum, a dart, alluding to the

use of the wood. Tilia is more probably derived from ptilon, a

feather, because of the feathery appearance of the floral leaves.

Shakespeare says:--

Now, tell me thy name, good fellow, said he,

Under the leaves of lyne.

The n in later writers has been changed into m.

Its sweet-smelling and highly fragrant flowers blossom in May, and

are much sought after by bees, because abounding with honied

nectar. A medicinal tincture (H.) is made from them with spirit of

wine; and when given in doses of from five to ten drops with water,

three times in the day, it serves to relieve sick [317] bilious

giddiness, with depression of spirits, and a tendency to loose

bowels, with nervous headache. The sap of the Lime Tree (Tilia

Europoea) abounds in mucilage, from which sugar can be elaborated.

A tea made from the blossoms and leaves with boiling water,

is admirable for promoting perspiration. It is because of a

long established reputation for giving relief in chronic epilepsy or

the falling sickness, and of curing epileptiform headaches, whilst

proving of indisputable usefulness in allied nervous disorders, that

the flowers and leaves of the Lime or Linden Tree occupy a true

place among modern medicinal Simples. Gilbert White made some

Lime-blossom tea, and pronounced it a very soft, well-flavoured,

pleasant saccharine julep, much resembling the juice of liquorice.

This tea has been found efficacious for quieting hard coughs and for

relieving hoarseness.

The flowers easily ferment, and being so fragrant may be used for

making wine: likewise a fine flavoured brandy has been distilled

from them. The fruit contains an oily substance, and has been

proposed, when roasted, as a domestic substitute for chocolate. The

sap may be procured by making incisions in the trunk, and branches.

The flowers are sedative, and anti-spasmodic. Fenelon decorates his

enchanted Isle of Calypso with flowering Lime trees. Hoffman says

Tilioe ad mille usus petendoe.

The inner bark furnishes a soft mucilage, which may be applied

externally with healing effect to burns, scalds, and inflammatory

swellings. Gerard taught, that the flowers are commended by divers

persons against pain of the head proceeding from a cold cause;

against dizziness, apoplexy, and the falling sickness; and not only

the flowers, but the distilled water thereof. [318] Hoffman knew a

case of chronic epilepsy recovered by a use of the flowers in infusion

drunk as tea. Such, indeed, was the former exalted anti-epileptic

reputation of the Lime Tree, that epileptic persons sitting

under its shade were reported to be cured.

A famous Lind or Lime Tree, which grew in his ancestral place,

gave to the celebrated Linnaeus his significant name. The well-known

street, unter den Linden in Berlin, is a favourite resort,

because of its pleasant, balmy shade; and when Heine lay beneath

the Lindens, he thought his own sweet nothing-at-all thoughts.

The wood of the Lime Tree is preferred before every other wood fur

masterly carving. Grinling Gibbons executed his best and most

noted work in this material; and the finely-cut details still remain

sharp, delicate, and beautiful.

Chemically, the Linden flowers contain a particular light, fragrant,

volatile oil, which is soluble in alcohol. They are used in warm

baths with much success to allay nervous irritability; or a strong

infusion of them is administered by enema for the same purpose.