The Medicinal Herb Info site was created to help educate visitors about the often forgotten wisdom of the old ways of treating illnesses. Many of today's drugs and medicines were originally derived from natural ingredients, combinations of plants and other items found in nature.

We are not suggesting that you ignore the help of trained medical professionals, simply that you have additional options available for treating illnesses. Often the most effective treatment involves a responsible blend of both modern and traditional treatments.

We wish you peace and health!

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Meadowsweet

Scientific Names

Meadowsweet

  • Filipendula ulmaria L.
  • Rosaceae
  • Rose family

Common Names

  • Bridewort
  • Dolloff
  • Lady of the meadow
  • Meadsweet
  • Meadow queen
  • Meadow-wort
  • Pride of the meadow
  • Queen of the meadow

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Parts Usually Used

The entire plant
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Meadowsweet

Description of Plant(s) and Culture

Meadowsweet is a perennial plant; a creeping rootstock sends up a reddish, angular stem, 2-3 feet tall, branched near the top and bearing alternate, pinnate leaves, the leaflets entire or irregularly cleft, serrate, and downy white beneath. The terminal leaflet is 3-5 lobed and doubly serrate. Small yellowish-white or reddish flowers grow in panicled cymes from June to August. The sweetness comes from its tiny flowers that crown the top of each stem in dense clusters.

Another variety: Dropwort or goatsbeard (F. hexapetala) is a related European and Asian plant with a tuberous root and fernlike leaves. Medicinally it is equivalent to meadowsweet. Also, F. rubra, used much like meadowsweet.

Also called meadowsweet: (Spiraea tomentosa); (Eupatorium purpureum) also called Gravel Root and Joe-Pye Weed; and (Spiraea ulmaria).
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Where Found

Very common in European damp meadows, on banks of streams and rivers; it can also be found in the eastern United States and Canada, as far west as Ohio.
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Medicinal Properties

Astringent, diaphoretic, diuretic, antirheumatic, analgesic, antispasmodic
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Biochemical Information

Salicylic aldehyde and spireine both in the form of a glycoside; methyl salicylate, gaultherine and spiraeoside, a flavonoid glycoside, sugar and tannin
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Legends, Myths and Stories

Queen Elizabeth I was so fond of this herb that the floors of her apartments were always strewn with it.

Filipendula ulmaria (Spiraea ulmaria) probably contains chemical forerunners of aspirin. Salicin, the popular analgesic derived from poplars and willows, probably decomposes in the digestive tract to salicylic acid, a compound first isolated from meadowsweet flower buds in 1839. Some 60 years later, the pharmaceutical company Bayer produced acetylsalicylate, a similar substance, artificially. They called this new “wonder drug” aspirin, Spiraea ulmaria, the old botanical name for this herb. The semisynthetic acetyl-salicylic acid (aspirin) is said to have fewer side effects than the natural compound from which it is derived. Still, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs including aspirin, account for 10,000-20,000 deaths per year. Probably all medicines, natural and synthetic, have side effects.

The pleasing drink formula is as follows:
Equal quantities of meadowsweet, dandelion and agrimony boiled together for 20 minutes in double the quantity of water. Add 2 lb. of sugar to each gallon of strained liquid together with 1/2 oz. of yeast and the juice of a lemon. Leave the mixture to ferment and bottle later.
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Uses

Meadowsweet contains salicylic acid, which makes it useful for colds, flu, fever, problems of the respiratory tract, gout, rheumatism, arthritis, dropsy, problems with water retention, and for bladder and kidney problems. Also is taken for diarrhea and dysentery, enteritis, gastritis, indigestion, heartburn, soothing and healing to the lining of the stomach, upset stomach, high blood pressure, diabetes, and disorders of the blood. Externally, the decoction can serve as a wash for wounds or sore eyes. It makes a pleasing and refreshing drink.
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Formulas or Dosages

Harvest while flowering in summer.

Infusion: steep 2 tbsp. of the herb in 1 cup water. Take 1 cup a day.

Decoction: boil 1 tbsp. of the herb or dried root in 1 cup water. Take 1 cup a day. Or soak the dried root in cold water for 6 hours, bring to a boil and steep for 1-2 minutes.

Powder: take 1/4 to 1/2 tsp., 3 times a day.

Juice: take 1 tbsp. a day, in water.
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Warning

Long use of aspirin can lead to gastric ulceration, possibly bleeding, but meadowsweet does not show these side effects, and is actually a gentle digestive remedy for acidity and some types of diarrhea.

Avoid this herb if sensitivity to salicylates (aspirin) is present.
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Bibliography

Buy It! American Folk Medicine, by Clarence Meyer, Meyerbooks, publisher, PO Box 427, Glenwood, Illinois 60425, 1973

Buy It! The Complete Medicinal Herbal, by Penelope Ody, Dorling Kindersley, Inc, 232 Madison Avenue, New York, NY 10016, First American Edition, copyright 1993

Buy It! Eastern/Central Medicinal Plants, by Steven Foster and James A. Duke., Houghton Mifflin Company, 215 Park Avenue South, New York, NY 10000

Buy It! Indian Herbalogy of North America, by Alma R. Hutchens, Shambala Publications, Inc., Horticultural Hall, 300 Massachusetts Avenue, Boston, Massachusetts 02115, 1973

Buy It! The Herbalist Almanac, by Clarence Meyer, Meyerbooks, publisher, PO Box 427, Glenwood, Illinois 60425, copyright 1988, fifth printing, 1994

Buy It! The Herb Book, by John Lust, Bantam Books, 666 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY. copyright 1974.

Buy It!The Magic of Herbs, by David Conway, published by Jonathan Cape, Thirty Bedford Square, London, England. (Out of print)

Buy It! Planetary Herbology, by Michael Tierra, C.A., N.D., O.M.D., Lotus Press, PO Box 325, Twin Lakes. WI 53181., Copyright 1988, published 1992

Buy It! Webster’s New World Dictionary, Third College Edition, Victoria Neufeldt, Editor in Chief, New World Dictionaries: A Division of Simon & Schuster, Inc., 15 Columbus Circle, New York, NY 10023

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