On a bright spring day during my first year of marriage, I had surprised all the neighbors by going outside and picking blossoms off of a basswood tree in our yard. As I brought the blooms into the house and started spreading them on a sunny spot on the floor, my husband noticed this strange activity and asked the due question: “What on earth are these and what are you going to do with them?” I replied that these were basswood blossoms, and I was going to dry them and save them until either one of us catches a cold.
Sure enough, he’d caught the flu later that year. I went to the kitchen, opened the plastic container with dried basswood blossoms, and made my herbal tea. My husband was a bit apprehensive to drink it… but he did drink the whole cup (trusting soul!), and he actually enjoyed the taste. On the next day, he felt so much better that he was a believer in my basswood treatment. After another day his flu was gone.
Basswood, also known as linden and lime tree, blooms in late spring – early summer (end of May – early June) and only for about ten days. You must catch the right time to pick the blossoms, which is when they are in full bloom, like on the photo. If they haven’t yet opened up, it is too early. If they have already closed and turned into small round berries, it is too late. The unmistakable sweet fragrance of blooming basswood trees will help you to determine that the time is right.
You pick both the blooms and what looks like long, pale-green leaves next to them. I don’t like ladders, so I usually pick blooms off of lower branches I can reach. When you are done picking, you need to dry the blooms. For that, as I’ve already mentioned, I spread them on a sunny spot in the house (on old newspapers), either on the floor or on a table. Distribute the blooms in a thin layer, they will dry quicker this way. Drying usually takes a day or two, depending on how much sunshine you’ve got. When the blooms are as dry as regular tea leaves you buy at the store, they are ready. You can store them in a plastic container or a glass jar.
The process of making tea from basswood blooms is not much different from making regular tea. Place some dry blossoms into a teapot (about 2 tablespoons), add boiling hot water, and let it brew for 5-10 minutes. Then pour the tea into a cup and add some sugar, if you like your teas sweet.
You should drink this tea as hot as you can stand it, and you should drink it right before going to bed. Then wrap yourself into a blanket and go to sleep. You will sweat profusely; that is good, the infection goes out of your body with this sweat. Try to stay under the blanket, no matter how warm you feel.
You should feel better in the morning, but one treatment might not be enough. If you stay in bed during the day, you can take another cup or two; if not, take another cup in the evening. The best thing to do is to have this tea several nights in a row.
Dried basswood blossoms will keep well for a year or two; after that I would recommend to renew your supply.