Tilia Americana is a species of tree from the Malvaceae (mallows) family of tree. Common names for this tree include American basswood or American linden. This family contains a number of trees of economic importance including cotton and cacao. The tree is a deciduous tree that grows to a height of between 20 to 40 meters and has a trunk diameter of 1 to 1.5 meters. American basswood grows fast compared to other North American hardwoods. American basswood trees are known to possess medicinal properties, and in this regard the flowers, bark and leaves may be used as traditional medicines. The flowers of the tree contain a volatile oil which has medicinal properties, and the tissues of the tree also contain a range of phytochemical components including flavonoids, which may act as antioxidants and anti-inflammatory agents in humans and animals when consumed. Traditionally basswood flowers are added to baths to provide an anxiety cure, and this effect may relate to the essential oils in the flowers.
A number of studies have investigated the anxiolytic effects of basswood extracts on animals. For example, in one study, researchers administered aerial parts of the basswood tree to mice and exposed them to experimental stress. Methanol extracts of the tree, but not hexane extracts produced significant anxiolytic effects in the mice. This suggests that the anxiolytic components were not soluble in hexane, but were soluble in methanol. Analysis of the methanol fraction showed that it contained four flavonoids which were identified as tiliroside, quercetin, quercitrin, kaempferol. These flavonoids may therefore be responsible in part for the anxiolytic effects of American basswood. In another study, researchers isolated four fatty acids and a triterpene that was identified as β-sitosterol from American basswood. These components were then shown to have anxiolytic and sedative effects in mice. Therefore flavonoids, fatty acids and triterpenes may all contribute towards the anxiolytic effects of American basswood.
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