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Meadowsweet Herb, (Filipendula ulmaria (formerly Spiraea betulifolia, S. lucida, S. ulmaria)) Cut and Sifted Bulk
Rosaceae (Rose Family)
The genus name Filipendula derives from the Latin filum, "thread," and pendulum, "hanging," in reference to the threads that connect the roots. The species name, ulmaria, refers to the resemblance of this species' leaves to those of the elm tree (Ulmus), which are wrinkled on top. The common name meadowsweet refers to this herb's use in mead making.
Range of Appearance
Meadowsweet, a native of Europe and Asia, is a deciduous shrub that grows from 2 to 4 feet high and hybridizes easily. The ovate, pinnate leaves are dark green above and whitish and downy below. The tiny flowers are cream colored and clustered in irregular branched cymes. Meadowsweet prefers moist locations with loamy soils and partial shade to full sun.
Analgesic, anodyne, antacid, antibacterial, antiemetic, anti-inflammatory, antirheumatic, antispasmodic (mild), aromatic, astringent, cholagogue, diaphoretic, diuretic, febrifuge, sedative (mild), stomachic, urinary antiseptic
Meadowsweet has a long history of use. It was held sacred among the Druids, being one of their three sacred herbs (along with vervain and mint). In his 1597 Herbal, John Gerard said of the herb, "The smell therof makes the heart merry and joyful and delighteth the senses." Meadowsweet has been shown to reduce inflammation, clear heat and toxins, and soothe irritation of the mucous membranes of the digestive tract. It also promotes the healing of tissue and reduces pain. In fact, like willow bark, meadowsweet was a forerunner of aspirin: salicylic acid was extracted from both in the 1830s. In fact, the name aspirin is derived from meadowsweet's former botanical genus name, Spiraea. However, meadowsweet is gentler on the stomach than aspirin, as it contains natural buffering agents. Meadowsweet is used to treat arteriosclerosis, arthritis, cellulitis, cervicitis, colds, cystitis, diarrhea, dropsy, dyspepsia, edema, fever, flu, gastritis, gout, headache, heartburn, hyperacidity, insomnia, nausea, nephritis, pain, prostate enlargement, rheumatism, ulcers, urinary tract infection, and vaginitis. Topically, meadowsweet can be used as an eyewash to treat conjunctivitis and eye inflammation and as a compress to relieve muscle aches and rheumatic joints and to heal wounds. It also can be used as a douche or enema to treat infection or as a relaxing bath herb.
Meadowsweet flowers can be eaten raw or cooked. They impart an almond fragrance to preparations they are used in, such as jam, stewed fruit, and wine. The leaves are often added to soups. The Shakers used this herb in beer brewing, as its natural sweetness enabled them to use less sugar.
The entire aboveground plant was used as a strewing herb during the time of Elizabeth I. The oil from the flower buds is used in perfume. The flowers themselves were once soaked in rainwater to create complexion water and are sometimes included in potpourri. They have also seen occasional use as paintbrushes for large surfaces. The root is used to dye wool black. In folkloric traditions, meadowsweet is said to promote happiness and to be a useful tool for divination.
Vitamin C, calcium, iron, silica, sulfur, essential oils (salicyladehyde, methylsalicylate), salicylic acid, spireine, gaultherine, spiraeoside, flavonoids (quercetin, rutin, spiraeoside), vanillin, coumarin, glycoside, mucilage, tannin
Avoid meadowsweet in cases of sensitivity to salicylates, such as those found in aspirin.
Plant details were provided by iPlant by Brigitte Mars.
Hyperlink it to https://brigittemars.com/iplant-app/