Originally, I was under the impression that the flor de tila that was a staple ingredient in my favorite relaxing tea blend was from the Mexican linden tree. After all, several herb books I own that focus on Mexican herbs use the terms linden and tila interchangeably. However, doing just a little more research, I found that flor de tila is NOT any species in the family Malvacaea at all. Rather it belongs to the Pentaphylacaceae family and all my research on this beneficial herb went out the window since I had been searching for the wrong plant. What is more likely is that the correct term in Mexico is flor de tilia (not tila) or flor de tilo when referring to the blossoms of the linden tree in the genus Tilia.
As you can see from the picture, Flor de tila (Ternstroemia lineata) dries much darker than linden flowers. The flower structure is also very different. Linden trees are much larger than the Ternstroemia lineata, which tends to only grow to about 20 feet.
Flor de tila (Ternstroemia lineata) is native to areas of higher altitudes in central Mexico. It is also known as ucharillo and charapit uku in Purépecha. The wood is used to make certain guitar components. This plant is used in traditional Mexican remedies for insomnia, menstrual cramps, and headaches. It is also used as a digestive aid, sedative, and for bronchitis.
There have been no studies done on the medicinal properties of Ternstroemia lineata. In fact, until recently, this species was classified as Ternstroemia pringlei, also known as flor de tila. A few studies have been done on Ternstroemia pringlei showing it has a sedative effect supporting its use for insomnia treatment. Leaf extracts from the plant are effective against liver flukes and the leaf, petal, fruit and seed are antioxidant.
I did find a few concoctions in my little herb books that use Ternstroemia lineata and not linden but because of the error in identification, I had to discount many of the remedies both online and from the books in my library.
Flor de Tila Headache Tea
Boil ½ liter of water.
- 2 to 4 grams of flor de tila (Ternstroemia lineata)
- To make a sleep aid tea, add 10 grams of bitter orange leaves (Citrus × aurantium).
- To make a cough tea, add 5 grams of (starflower)(borrajo officinalis).
Flor de Tila Heart Palpitation Tea
Drink daily before meals
Boil ¾ liter water.
- 5 matarique branches (Psacalium decompositum)(Desert Indian brush)
- 20 flores de tila (Ternstroemia lineata)(Tila flowers)
- 2 pinches of sauco (Sambucus)(elder flowers)
- 2 flores de manitas (Chiranthodendron pentadactylon)(Hand Flower Tree flowers)
- 1 branch of alfalfa (Medicago sativa)
- 2 pieces of valeriana roja (Centranthus ruber)(red valerian)
Interested in natural remedies? Uncover herbal remedies from traditional Mexican sources for healing and wellness in the Exploring Traditional Herbal Remedies in Mexico series.