The leaves of the meadowsweet plant resemble those of the elm tree, after which the herb is named in some Latin-rooted languages. It has been used from the 17th century onwards to treat rheumatic aches. Recently other virtues in this plant have been discovered.
Meadowsweet Plant Scientific Facts
- Scientific Name: Filipendula ulmaria (L.) Maxim.
- Other Names: Queen of the meadow.
- French: Ulmaire, barbe de bouc, reine-des-prés.
- Spanish: Reina de los prados, ulmaria, filipéndula.
- Environment: Wet meadows all over Europe, except in the Mediterranean area. Also, in some cold regions of North and South America.
- Description: Vivacious plant of the Rosaceae family, growing up to 1.5 m high, with upright stems and silver-colored leaves on their underside, with small, aromatic white-cream colored flowers, gathering in terminal bouquets.
- Parts of the plant used medicinally: The flowers (bouquets).
Meadowsweet Healing Properties
The flowers of the meadowsweet plant, in lesser proportion to its leaves, contain glycoside: monoterpene, which employing hydrolysis on the fresh plant becomes methyl salicylate, and once the herb is dried, it turns into free salicylic acid and alkaline salicylates. All those salicylic compounds provide, like acetylsalicylic acid (aspirin), anti-inflammatory, analgesic, and febrifuge actions. The plant also contains flavonoid substances whose action is diuretic. Here are its applications:
- Rheumatic aches – produced by arthrosis, polyarticular acute rheumatism, or uric arthritis (gout).
- Different aches – The plant also eases osteoarticular pains (lumbago, torticollis, backaches) and neuralgic aches (sciatica, headaches). This painkiller activity of meadowsweet is improved when, besides drinking an infusion of the plant, it is locally applied in compresses on the affected area.
- Diuretic – Strong but not irritant, it is pretty helpful for cellulite, edema (retention of fluids) caused by heart failure, which usually appears in ankles and feet, and to diminish ascitis (retention of liquid in the abdomen) of persons with liver disorders.
- Depurative – The meadowsweet plant is an excellent eliminator of uric acid, uric salts, and other toxins since it increases the excretion of these substances through the kidneys (uricosuric action). The plant filters these gout-producing substances, which can also produce arthritis and many rheumatic aches from the blood. Thus, and also because of its anti-inflammatory and analgesic action, it is an ideal plant for people suffering from gout.
- Kidney stone solvent – The plant is suitable for those suffering from kidney stones and gravel, especially those formed by uric salts since it promotes the dissolution and elimination of these salts.
- General invigorating – The plant increases appetite, has stimulating heart effects, and provokes a general sensation of well-being. Its use is recommended to treat colds, influenza, and people recovering from dehabilitation diseases.
How to use Meadowsweet
- Infusion (tea), with 30 to 40 grams of flowers per liter of water, drinking up to five cups daily.
- Compresses soaked in a more concentrated infusion than that made for internal use (up to 80 grams) are applied to the painful area, or cellulite-affected area, for 10 minutes, two or three times a day.
Meadowsweet, because its content includes a precursor of acetylsalicylic acid (aspirin), has anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties. It eases osteoarticular (bone and joint) aches, such as torticollis, lumbago, and those widespread and nasty backaches and neuralgic pains. It should be used in external applications of compresses while drinking its tea to achieve better effectiveness.
George D. Pamplona-Roger, M.D. “Encyclopedia of Medicinal Plants.” George D. Pamplona-Roger, M.D. Encyclopedia of Medicinal Plants. Ed. Francesc X. Gelabert. vols. 2 San Fernando de Henares: Editorial Safeliz, 2000. 667, 668. Print. [meadowsweet plant]