When Spring arrives, Nature, dormant during the winter, wakes up. The sap rises, the buds swell, some flowers bloom, seedlings grow… a perpetual and unchanging enchantment of Nature and of life that starts again…
On the family estate in the Dordogne
Depending on the year and the weather, the buds of our linden trees are picked between the end of March and the beginning of April. It is only a matter of hours or days, at the time of writing this article (22 March), and only Nature will decide! We are on guard not to miss this ephemeral moment, since very little time passes between the moment when the little brown outgrowth of the buds on the branches forms, then swells and turns green, then bursts open, joyfully releasing tiny soft green leaves.
To preserve the quintessence of the buds and all their vital force which is at its peak, it is necessary to collect them while they are still closed, but still well formed and swollen… For that a team of professional and voluntary pickers of the village, and us sisters, are at work as soon as the green light is given, after sometimes a long wait spent to scrutinize our trees!
From the Latin gemmae, which means bud, gemmotherapy is the art of healing with tree buds, i.e. using plant tissues at the embryonic stage to make use of the energy of the stem cells and all the vital substances contained in the buds to preserve their health.
It was already used in the pharmacopoeia in the Middle Ages by the alchemists (pectoral syrups.)
In the 1960s, the Belgian doctor Pol Henry (1918-1988), inspired by work on animal embryo cells, created “phytoembryotherapy”, renamed “gemmotherapy” by Max Tétau, a homeopath, some ten years later.
All the treasures of the tree in a bud
In reality, the bud, an embryo, carries all the development potential of the plant, all the concentrated vital energy. We could say that it is at the same time root, branch, sapwood, leaf, flower and fruit, because it carries all their properties, hence the great effectiveness of bud extracts… It is the “totum” (the whole) of the plant, and inside it you can see the outline of leaves, stems and flowers in miniature. Containing all the genetic heritage of the tree, it is at its maximum concentration of active elements: trace elements, vitamins, minerals, enzymes, growth factors, phyto-hormones, sap, themselves at their maximum vitality.
The bud is more active and with a wider range of action than each part of the plant taken individually. E.g.: the linden bud combines the calming and soothing virtues of the flower with the detoxifying properties of the sapwood, which keeps the liver and kidneys in good health.
This is the great principle of the physician-philosopher Avicenna (11th century): “The whole is greater than the sum of its parts”, the principle of synergy of actions.
As long as the bud has not hatched, it retains all its strength and integrity, being protected from the external elements. It contains all the information of the tree, the vital energy, the genetic information, the different tissues and active molecules. This is thanks to the meristem, a plant tissue, formed of rapidly dividing cells, which constitutes the growth zone of plants; it is from this that all the other tissues of the tree will develop. It is both the engine of the tree’s development and the factory that will produce leaves and twigs. In fact, they are stem cells.
What are they? Stem cells are cells that are able to give rise to specialised cells with a specific role. For example, in humans, skin can be created from umbilical cord stem cells. This is an incredible nature, where each meristem cell has the power to generate a whole plant! What’s more, these cells adapt to the living conditions of the tree, its environment and surroundings, and can even communicate with each other.
The buds are collected at the very beginning of spring at the time of their “bud break”, and are macerated “alive”, just after being picked, in an equal mixture of water, 96° alcohol and glycerine, for 21 days, protected from the light. The macerate is then filtered to obtain the “mother macerate”. This is the only way to obtain all the active ingredients of the buds, as they are not all soluble in the same solvent.
They soothe and bring well-being to the skin and the body, and each plant has a specific action.
Linden buds, a double efficiency, in & out, for the body and the skin:
The power of Linden buds on the body and mind
The buds are oval and covered with 2 or 3 brown scales, the leaves are heart-shaped and its fragrant flowers attract bees and moths which pollinate them. According to Hildegard of Bingen (visionary healer of the Middle Ages, and ancestor of naturopaths), who already used its buds: “the linden tree is the image of fragility and the warmth of the wood of its roots is sovereign against the most serious plagues that threaten man”.
Linden is a powerful remedy for the nervous system, and acts not only on the mind but also on the body, which it detoxifies and soothes the digestive system (the “second brain”).
• Nervous system : Linden is both a soother and a tonic for the nervous system, harmonising it. It tones the nervous system if it is exhausted and calms sleep disorders, as it has mild sedative and hypnotic properties. It helps to fall asleep and avoids night-time awakenings; in addition, it treats anguish and anxiety.
• Digestive system : it is an antispasmodic recommended for anxious subjects, and limits and limits inflammations.
• Detoxifying properties: Linden helps the elimination of toxins and waste by the liver and kidneys.
At TiL, the remarkable virtues of Linden buds are enhanced in our new food supplement in mouth spray, L’Elixir de Sérénité. It is combined with hawthorn and fig buds to constitute THE relaxation remedy par excellence, which soothes stress, tension and anxiety peaks at any time, in a few spritzes.
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The power of linden buds on the skin
TiL innovates by exploiting all the powers of the linden tree, including on the skin. The buds, flowers, leaves and twigs are harvested on the family estate in the Dordogne, and their precious molecules are extracted and concentrated by biotechnology into an exclusive, ultra-effective active ingredient, Tiliactiv4®. This is the first time that all these complementary parts of the tree have been brought together, infusing the skin with moisturising, soothing and anti-oxidant molecules to regenerate it. These are the same molecules found in the entire TiL cosmetic range.
What do the buds in particular contribute to Tiliactiv4®? They are full of polysaccharides, i.e. hydrating molecules, in particular rhamnose, galacturonic and glucuronic acids and galactose. Film-forming, they limit insensible water loss and keep the skin hydrated. This moisturising activity is more effective than hyaluronic acid at the same concentration! In addition, rhamnose stimulates cell renewal, protects elastin fibres and fights free radicals. Linden buds are therefore an essential contribution to making the skin more plump, smooth and fresh.