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Tilleul Tea

VegetarianVeganDairy FreeGluten Free

The blossoms of the lime or linden tree are used to make a fragrant, calming tea which can be quite expensive to buy in the shops. If you happen to have lime trees growing nearby and can keep watch for when the blossoms open (they flower within a two-week window) you can make the tea for free. The soothing, sweet-scented infusion is said to aid relaxation and digestion and to have a range of health benefits and therapeutic properties.

For best results, gather the flowers when they have just opened. Harvest them during a dry spell or at least 24 hours after the last rainfall, in the morning if possible. Pick the flowers by pinching off the stems just above the lobed, pale green bracts, which are also used. Use the flowers fresh or dry them (see note below).

Makes : 1 mug
Prep : 1 minute + 5 minutes steeping
Cook :
  • Small handful of lime flowers
  • Honey, agave nectar or sugar to taste


  1. Put the flowers into a mug. Pour over boiling water and cover the cup to stop the aromatic oils evaporating. Leave to infuse for at least 5 minutes.
  2. Add honey or sugar to taste – sometimes the flowers are sweet enough without – and drink.


To dry your harvest of lime flowers, lay a clean tea towel over a wire cooling rack. Set the rack in a well-ventilated area but out of direct sun, and spread out the flowers and leave them to dry. They should by dry enough within 3 days. Store in a sterilised airtight glass jar.


Recipe by Wild Food UK, photos and recipe development by Otherwise for Wild Food UK


11 comments for Tilleul Tea

  1. Liz Green says:

    Do you use the green bracts on the flower stalks too?

    1. Eric Biggane says:

      Hi Liz, we do use the green bract as well.

  2. Diana says:

    Your picture seems to show the seed pods – can you use those as well? (They are on the bracts in September.) Do you use them “green” or should they ripen?

    1. Eric Biggane says:

      Hi Diana, I’ve been told, this Autumn, that just after the flowers drop the fruits taste of chocolate but I’ll have to wait until next May to confirm that.

    2. Simon Daley says:

      [photo has been changed since this comment was posted]

  3. John Hewett says:

    Those are not the seed pods, they are the unopened flowers. Typically there will be about one or two opened flowers in a cluster, and the rest are not yet opened, if you find the tree at just the right time. I’ve found a tree which seems to be just right today (11 July 2020), but from what I read online it seemed to say that only the first couple of days of flowering gives the best results in late spring/early summer. Maybe that was only for France and maybe our trees develop a bit later, or at least, this one is – one just along from it has almost finished flowering. Strange…

    Disclaimer: I’ve never actually made tilleul before. Doing it for the first time now

  4. Zuhal says:

    It is called “ihlamur” in Turkish. It is widely used instead of our normal tea. Put the leaves into a pot add some cinnamon sticks, cloves, piece of lemon then boil for a few minutes then serve with or without sugar. If preferred squeeze a drop of lemon. Do not discard the remaining leaves add some cold water and boil it again the colour turns into more like colour of black tea. It is also believed that it is a good aid for coughs and colds.

  5. Angela says:

    I’m going to plant a lime tree, is there a particular variety that makes good tea?

    1. Eric Biggane says:

      All three varieties we have growing in the UK will produce a great tea but I also love using the young leaves in a salad. The small leaved lime grows suckers or side shoots and will provide fresh leaves well into summer. The large leaved lime doesn’t produce these and the hybrid between the two sometimes will and sometimes won’t. Large leaved lime is Tilia platyphylos, small leaved, Tilia cordata and the hybrid is Tilia x europaea.

  6. Pamela Gell says:

    We have a street full of mature lindens. Is it advisable to cut the low-growing shoots so that the tree will prosper?
    Drying the blossoms ready to made an infusion today.

    1. Eric Biggane says:

      Fairly recent research has shown that removing the low growing shoots (suckers) from trees actually weakens the trunk and whole tree slightly, so I would leave them alone and use any fresh leaves on the suckers for salads.

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