Linden is a honey plant. It is a deciduous tree in the family of Tiliaceae (or Malvaceae according to the phylogenetic classification). Its growth is rapid, and it reaches varying heights depending on the species: from 15m for the smallest to 40m. Rather large and imposing, it needs space to develop properly. In Europe, the native species are the small-leaved lime (Tilia cordata) and large-leaved lime (Tilia platyphyllos). In France, it grows spontaneously in the regions of plains and hills, especially in Alsace and Lorraine. It was one of the trees chosen in 1792 to embody the values of the French Revolution.
The edge of the linden leaves consists of small teeth, they are toothed and they have a heart shape, they are said to be corded: this is why in mythology, this tree was a symbol of love, of femininity and loyalty. The leaves are alternate on the stem flexible and hairy on both sides, especially below, and their tips are pointed, acuminate.
In gastronomy, young linden leaves can be used because they have the particularity of being still tender. Perfumed, they are used for the preparation of drinks and liqueurs, cooking bases, flour, salads and desserts.
The flowering, even if short, is very intense. It gives rise to variable honeys depending on the year, depending on weather conditions.
Forked inflorescences of linden, in June, are formed from three to sixteen flowers. The petiole of these inflorescences is accompanied, at the base, by a narrow and membranous leaf which subsequently forms the device for disseminating small fruits. The petals of its flowers are yellowish white, with achenes with thin and spherical walls (3 mm).
The linden flower is known for its soothing antispasmodic and fever-reducing properties. It calms migraines and stomach pains.
Linden flowers are foraged by bees for their nectar and pollen. The strong smell of flowers is attractive to pollinating insects; pollination can however be partially carried out by the wind.
The nectar of certain introduced species appears toxic to bees and especially bumblebees, which are found dead in large numbers at their feet. This is especially true for the silver linden (Tilia tomentosa, on the underside of the silver-white leaves), the Crimean linden (Tilia euchlora), the Chinese linden (Tilia olivieri) and the Caucasian linden (Tilia dasystyla). The exact origin of this phenomenon is not yet known.
Bees also collect honeydew produced by aphids of the species Eucallipterus tiliaese, developing on the foliage with which they punctuate the sap. This sap digested, they regurgitate the honeydew shiny and sticky on the leaves, a real treat for bees. Indeed, after having licked it for a long time, this honeydew is once again digested, ventilated and stored like nectar.
The active ingredients of linden
The linden tree is rich in active ingredients because it contains:
Flavonoids: these are water-soluble pigments (which are diluted in water). They are antioxidants. The flavonoids contained in the lime leaf are quercetin and kaempferol.
Mucilage, a plant substance rich in water-soluble fibers capable of balancing intestinal transit. Tannins, phenolic substances of natural origin which have antioxidant properties which act against cellular aging.
The tannins also have an astringent action.
Polyphenols that promote the increase in HDL (good cholesterol), as part of a balanced diet.
Caffeic acid which protects cells against oxidative stress, responsible for their aging. It also has anti-bacterial and anti-fungal properties.
Farnesol essential oil, a naturally scented acyclic alcohol found in many plants.
Linden honey has a recognized use for treating insomnia disorders. Flavonoids and farnesol are responsible for the calming effect of this type of honey. These compounds act on the receptors in the brain responsible for sleep. It also contains trace elements, including potassium, calcium and manganese.
The linden honey harvested by Miel Factory has a pale yellow color. Its scent is captivating. Its taste is powerful, it reminds us of the scent of the flower with menthol and balsamic notes. Its crystallization is slow with fine granulation. It is recommended in infusions or simply on a sandwich.