Applications and Characteristics of Linden Honey

Linden honey is a premiere honey. It has been used for thousands of years. Linden honey is known as linden or basswood honey in North America and lime honey in the UK and Europe. It is obtained from the blossoms of linden or basswood tress belonging to several species of Tilia. The most common linden trees are Tilia Americana and the white basswood. White basswood is known as the Bee tree because of the generous amounts of nectar produced by its drooping clusters of flowers. In East European countries, Russia and China, white basswood is known as small-leaved lime. The ambrosial aroma of the yellow-white flowers draws bees from miles around, at the height of blossoming. Linden trees and honey are most common east of the Mississippi river and in the Appalachians, and especially in the more temperate northern regions. The white basswood flower clusters produce large amounts of nectar. Hence, it is called the bee tree. The nectar can be seen glistening on the flowers during strong nectar flows and the flow is the strongest in warm humid weather.

Linden - Basswood- Lime Honey

The sensory characteristics of linden honey are not affected by the species of Tilia. The following applies to all linden honey gathered from all linden species. The intensity of the aroma and taste is stronger than the color suggests. Linden honey does not follow the usual rule of: “darker is stronger”. It is of a greenish color, when fresh, but in time, its color becomes clear to amber with a yellow tone. The aroma is of a low acidity, medium sweetness and, sometimes, a light bitterness, and it is described as described as woody, pharmacy and fresh, mint, balsamic, menthol, camphor, spicy-thyme, mentholated, geranium, hay, phenolic. It has a persistent aftertaste and is slightly astringent. The CRYSTALLIZATION rate is medium to fast with fine to medium sized crystals. It is good when taken with lemon sherbet or herbal teas.

Traditional remedies

Linden honey has a wide range of applications. It is primarily used as a diaphoretic in treating colds and fevers. It is also used a fortifying agent and it supports the heart. In Eastern Europe and Russia, it is widely used in the treatment of sore throat, rhinitis, and laryngitis. Mixed with lemon, it is used in preventing colds. When taken with tea, linden honey can be used in the treatment of the liver and gall bladder, and it also alleviates the inflammation of the gastrointestinal tract. It is applied externally to help heal festering sores on the skin, eczema, and burns.

History

The roles that linden tree has played in history are many, both symbolic and practical. Since pre-Christian times in Europe, it has been known as a mystical tree of life, tree of health, judicial tree, victory tree, fertility tree and as a social or dance tree. Mention of linden trees is found in Pliny and in Greek mythology. Lindens grow over 100 feet in height. They have heart-shaped leaves and multitudes of blossoms with a sweet smell like that of mignonette. The places where linden trees were planted were usually used as meeting places, and places for social events. Linden tree has a lifetime of over 1000 years. In many countries, there are cities named after the tree, and cities with the name, “Linden,” may be found in Australia through Europe to the USA (where cities may be found in a dozen states). In Slovenia linden tree is a national symbol Slovenia and has played a central part in Slovenia’s history from pre Roman times. In the hamlet of Rut above the Baška Grapa valley grows the famous Rut linden tree. It is located bz the church, it is more than 850 years old and it has a girth of 26 feet. It is regarded as one of the most magnificent trees in Slovenia. Linden is mentioned in many ancient writings and stories, the most notable being the Roman myth of Baucis and Philemon, a poor but proud Phyrgian couple. They are rewarded by by the gods, Jupiter and Mercury, thanking them for their hospitality, by granting them eternity together as a Linden and Oak tree.

Identifying odors through chemical analysis

A lot of research work is being carried out in order to reliably identify and confirm the source of honey. Monofloral honey is usually identified by nectar. Nevertheless, there has been some work on chemical identification of compound markers unique to specific monofloral honeys. The markers have their own odors. When these odors are present in detectable amounts and by knowing the odors, you can discern subtle aromatic notes. Two major components that provide linden honey`s odor are terpenes: linden ether (3,9-epoxy-1,4(8)-p-menthadiene) that has a flowery, mint-like odor, and cis-rose oxide that has a powerful, green, geranium type odor.

There are other components that define the odor of linden honey:

a) ethylmethylphenol isomer (>31 ppb): phenolic (scorched, hospital-like, pharmaceutical, bakelite);
b) 4-tert-butylphenol, estragole (>51 ppb): phenolic (scorched, hospital-like, pharmaceutical, bakelite);
c) p-methylacetophenone: hay;
d) monoterpene-derived compounds (menthol, thymol,8-p-menthene-1,2-diol, and carvacrol (>76 ppb)): spicy-thyme, mentholated;
e) methyl(1-methylethenyl)benzene: vegetable.

Honey origins: United States, Canada, France, Spain, Germany, East & South East Europe, Russia, Poland.