Meadowsweet (Filipendula ulmaria)

Meadowsweet Identification:
A perennial plant with a creeping rootstock that sends up a reddish, angular stem, branched near the top and bearing alternate, pinnate leaves, the leaflets entire or irregularly cleft, serrate, and downy white beneath. The terminal leaflet is 3 to 5 lobed and doubly serrate. Small, yellowish-white or reddish
flowers grow in panicled cymes from June to August.
Family: Rosaceae (Rose family)
Other Names: Bridewort, meadow queen, meadow wort, pride of the meadow, queen of the meadow.
Flowers: June – August
Parts Used: Leaves and flower tops
Habitat: Damp meadows. Eastern U.S. and Canada. As far west as Ohio.
History: Colonists introduced the plant into North America, and the 19th-century Eclectics considered it an excellent astringent for diarrhea. They also prescribed it for menstrual cramps and vaginal discharges.
In 1839, a German chemist discovered meadowsweet flower buds contained salicin, the same chemical isolated from white willow bark 11 years earlier. Salicin has powerful pain-relieving (analgesic), fever-reducing, and anti-inflammatory properties. Unfortunately, salicin (and its close chemical relative, salicylic acid) also causes potentially hazardous side effects: stomach upset, nausea, diarrhea, stomach bleeding, ringing in the ears (tinnitus), and at high doses even respiratory paralysis and death.
Chemists began tinkering with the salicylic acid, hoping to preserve its benefits while minimizing its hazards. In 1853, German chemists working with an extract of meadowsweet synthesized acetylsalicylic acid. The new drug still had salicylic acid’s side effects but was much more potent. To name the new drug, they took the a from acetyl—the chemical the added to the extract—and spirin from meadowsweet’s Latin name, Spiraea, and came up with aspirin.
Constituents: Salicylates (opiraein, salicin, gaultherine), tannin, mucilage, flavonoids, volatile oil, vitamin c, and sugar.
Medicinal Properties:
Properties: Astringent, diaphoretic, diuretic, antiseptic, stomachic, and tonic.
Main Uses: Nature’s Aspirin. Acid stomach, arthritis, bladder & kidney ailments, diarrhea, fever, flu, gout, headache, rheumatism, and water retention. The flower head contains salicylic acid, from which the drug aspirin can be synthesized. Unlike the extracted aspirin, which can cause gastric ulceration at high doses, the combination of constituents in meadowsweet act to protect the inner lining of the stomach and intestines while still providing the anti-inflammatory benefits of aspirin.
The herb is a valuable medicine in the treatment of diarrhea, and it is considered almost specific in the treatment of children’s diarrhea. It is also considered to be a useful stomachic, being used to treat hyperacidity, heartburn, gastritis and peptic ulcers, for which it is one of the most effective plant remedies. Meadowsweet is also effective against the organisms causing diphtheria, dysentery and pneumonia.
Preparation And Dosages:
Infusion: Steep 2 tablespoon herb in 1 cup a day.
Decoction: Boil 2 tablespoons plant or dried rootstock in 1 cup water. Take 1 cup a day. Or soak the dried rootstock in cold water for 6 hours, bring to a boil and steep for 1 to 2 minutes.
Powder: Take 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon, three times a day.
Fresh Tincture: (1:2), 50% alcohol, 60 to 90 drops, up to 4 times a day.
Dry Tincture: (1:5), 50% alcohol, 90 to 120 drops, up to 4 times a day.

Caution Caution: This remedy should not be given to people who are hypersensitive to aspirin.

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