Tilia cordata

 

Tilia cordata

Synonyms

Tilia americana

Vernacular Name

Linden, American Linden, American Basswood, Bee Tree.

Description

The wide-spread crowns of the Tilia cordata reach an average height of between 18-40m, with the trunks reaching a width of a little more than a metre. The trunks are covered in light-grey or brown bark with deeply pronounced fissures. From the trunks of the Tilia species grow thick branches that spread widely.  The deep green leaves are asymmetrical cordate or ovate in shape and have sharp serration along the edges. Ranging in size from 10-20cm, the broad, glabrous leaves are alternately arranged on the slim, reddish-green stems. The flowers that bloom in June and August are literally dripping in mucilaginous nectar, making the tree a significant source of food for many species of bees. It is thought that the honey made of Tilia nectar is sweeter and has a stronger flavor. The flowers are typically small, white or light yellow and roughly 10-14mm in length. The fruit borne of the trees are a small, single-seeded nut with a thin shell.

Origin / Habitat

T. cordata are medium-sized deciduous trees native to the eastern half of North America. Due to heavy, free hybridization, the taxonomy of the species is ambiguous. The T. cordata tree grows within groves of other tree species, rarely in a stand of its own.

Chemical Constituents

Alanine, Alpha-Pinene, Ascorbic acid, Beta-sitosterol, Caffeic acid, Chlorogenic acid, Cysteine, Cystine, Docosane, Eicosane, Eugenol, Geraniol, Glutamic acid, Glycine, Hesperidin, Hexacosane, Isoleucine, Kaempferitrin, Kaempferols, Leucine, Limonene, Linalol, Linalyl-acetate, Linarin, Linoleic-Acid, Linolenic-Acid, Mucilage, Nerol, Nerolidol, Nonadecane, Octacosane, Octadecane, Oleic-acid, P-Coumaric-acid, Palmitic acid, Pentacosane, Phenylalanine, Phlobaphene, Quercetins, Quercitirin, Saponins, Squalene, Stigmastanol, Stigmasterol, Tannins, Terpineol, Tiliroside,  Triacontane, Tricosane, Tyrosine, Valine, Xanthophyll.(1),(2),(3)

Plant Part Used

Barks, stems, leaves, mucilage, flowers.(4)

Traditional Use

The bark of the Tilia species has been used by some Native American tribes to treat several types of gastrointestinal disorders and discomforts. Some tribes, including the Iroquois and Algonquin, have used either an infusion or a decoction of the inner bark, to quell diarrheal ailments and also as an emetic in larger doses.(4) The diuretic properties of T. cordata have been utilized by Native American practitioners to flush out the kidneys, stomach and bladder of unwanted mucous and other substances.(5)

T. cordata has also been used to ease tension and calm nerves when taken as a nerve tonic.(5) Used for this purpose, Native Americans have used decoctions and infusions as internal preparations to treat heart palpitations, and to lower blood pressure and as a general sedative.(6) While some tribes used T. cordata for its relaxant properties, the Iroquois also used infusions of young shoots as an invigorating, or energizing tonic.(4)

Decoctions and infusions of T. cordata roots, bark and stems have been used in Native American practice as an expectorant and to relieve throat and pulmonary infections(5) including, hoarseness, cough, and other ailments associated with excessive mucous.(4)

The external applications of the Tilia species have also been used by some Native American tribes to treat many different dermatological maladies. Some poultices are made from the gelatinous mucilage, but the majority of topical applications are either poultices or decoctions of the bark or leaves applied directly to the skin.(4) Dermatological ailments such as eczema,(7) skin ulcerations and suppurations, abrasions and lacerations have all been treated topically by T. cordata.(4) The infusions of the tree bark have also been used as eyewashes.(5)

Dosage

The traditional dosages will vary by tribe, plant part used, preparation and indication. Preparations range from flower and leaf infusions, to charcoal from the wood of the tree, to mucilage poultices.

Tea 1 - 2 tsp flowers in 8 oz of boiling water two to three times per day.

T. cordata extracts and tinctures are available commercially with a variety of dosage levels.

Pharmacology

Pre-clinical

The extracts from the bracts, flowers and leaves have been examined for sedative and anxiolytic potential as evidence to support the traditional use.(8) The animal models using the various plant parts have demonstrated Linden’s sedative and anxiolytic action as depressant on the central nervous system.(3),(9) This CNS depressant activity is thought to be initiated by the flavonoid glycosides, triterpenes and fatty acids present in the plant.(3),(10) The extracts of the plant have also demonstrated some limited antinociceptive activity.(11)

The extracts of the T. cordata flower were analyzed for anti-proliferative potential which was demonstrated in two separate laboratory studies. In one study the anti-proliferative activity was determined to be the result of the monoterpene content with limonene demonstrating the strongest activity.(12) The second study identified a coumarin known as scopoletin as having the pronounced activity and found that it was not cytotoxic to normal cells.(13) This immunomodulatory effect of scopoletin has been further demonstrated in laboratory settings.(14)

Clinical

No documentation

Interaction and Depletions

Interaction with other Herbs

No documetation

Interaction with Drugs

No documetation

Precautions and Contraindications

Side effects

Due to the limited use of this herb currently, there is inadequate science available for a full review of its actions and properties. Consequently there are no reports of interactions or contraindications that would alert the user. However, standard herbal precautions should apply.

Not to be used in combination with prescription drug therapy unless directed by a trained professional.

Pregnancy

Not to be used by pregnant or nursing women, (even though traditional use has included this herb as a lactation aid).

Age limitation

Not to be used by children unless directed by a healthcare professional.

Adverse reaction

No documetation

Read More

  1)  Western Herbs

References

  1. Duke JA. Handbook of Phytochemical Constituents of GRAS Herbs and Other Economic Plants. Boca Raton, FL: CRC Press; 1992.
  2. Zub MR. Isolation and study of the flavonoid glycosides from the buds of Tilia cordata. Farm Zh. 1975;30(3):76-79.
  3. Aguirre-Hernández E, Rosas-Acevedo H, Soto-Hernández M, Martínez AL, Moreno J, González-Trujano ME. Bioactivity-guided isolation of beta-sitosterol and some fatty acids as active compounds in the anxiolytic and sedative effects of Tilia americana var. mexicana. Planta Med. Sep. 2007;73(11):1148-1155
  4. Moerman D. Native American Ethnobotany, Portland, OR: Timber Press; 2000.
  5. Hutchens A. Indian Herbalogy of North America. Boston, MA; Shambala Press; 1991.
  6. Wood, M. The Book of Herbal Wisdom. Berkley, CA: North Atlantic Press; 1997.
  7. Thomson Healthcare. PDR for Herbal Medicines. Montvale, NJ: Thomson Healthcare; 2007.
  8. Pérez-Ortega G, Guevara-Fefer P, Chávez M, Herrera J, Martínez A, Martínez AL, González-Trujano ME. Sedative and anxiolytic efficacy of Tilia americana var. mexicana inflorescences used traditionally by communities of State of Michoacan, Mexico. J Ethnopharmacol. Mar. 28, 2008;116(3):461-468.
  9. Aguirre-Hernández E, Martínez AL, González-Trujano ME, Moreno J, Vibrans H, Soto-Hernández M. Pharmacological evaluation of the anxiolytic and sedative effects of Tilia americana L. var. mexicana in mice. J Ethnopharmacol. Jan. 3, 2007;109(1):140-145.
  10. Herrera-Ruiz M, Román-Ramos R, Zamilpa A, Tortoriello J, Jiménez-Ferrer JE. Flavonoids from Tilia americana with anxiolytic activity in plus-maze test. J Ethnopharmacol. Jul. 23, 2008;118(2):312-317.
  11. Martínez AL, González-Trujano ME, Aguirre-Hernández E, Moreno J, Soto-Hernández M, López-Muñoz FJ. Antinociceptive activity of Tilia americana var. mexicana inflorescences and quercetin in the formalin test and in an arthritic pain model in rats. Neuropharmacology. Feb. 2009;56(2):564-571.
  12. Manuele MG, Ferraro G, Anesini C. Effect of Tilia x viridis flower extract on the proliferation of a lymphoma cell line and on normal murine lymphocytes: contribution of monoterpenes, especially limonene. Phytother Res. 2008;22(11):1520-1526.
  13. Barreiro Arcos ML, Cremaschi G, Werner S, Coussio J, Ferraro G, Anesini C. Tilia cordata Mill. Extracts and scopoletin (isolated compound): differential cell growth effects on lymphocytes. Phytother Res. Jan. 2006;20(1):34-40.
  14. Manuele MG, Ferraro G, Barreiro Arcos ML, López P, Cremaschi G, Anesini C. Comparative immunomodulatory effect of scopoletin on tumoral and normal lymphocytes. Life Sci. Oct. 2006;79(21):2043-2048.