Latin: Filependula ulmaria
Parts Used: Aerial parts
Taste/Energetics: Bitter, cooling, drying
Properties: Analgesic, anti-inflammatory, astringent. diaphoretic, carminative, diuretic, circulatory stimulant
Actions: This is a beautiful fragrant plant with a spray of white flowers that has long been employed medicinally. Meadowsweet contains the key pain relieving constituent salicin found in aspirin. Felix Hoffman first synthesized aspirin in 1897 and derived it from meadowsweet. The “Spir” in aspirin is derived from the older botanical name for this plant Spiraea ulmaria. Bayer manufactured aspirin starting in 1899 and it became the most common pain relieving agent through much of the 1900’s.
Up until recently doctors suggested taking aspirin daily as a preventative for stroke but guidelines have changes and it is now recognized that daily aspirin could actually increase the risk of hemmorhagic strokes.
Meadowsweet is a lovely pain relieving and anti-inflammatory herb that is especially useful for the type of pain that is hot, stagnant and throbbing such as a nasty headache. It helps move the blood, lowers inflammation and has a direct analgesic effect via the salicin. It is also useful for folks with ulcers as well as tight burning sensations in the stomach, acid reflux, and improves digestion in general.
Dosage: This is an herb that is quite challenging to take as a tea as it is so bitter. It can be offered in formulas if it is “covered up” a bit by more tasty fragrant herbs such as rose or licorice. 1-2 tsp to cup of hot water infused. It makes for a good tincture 1-2ML as needed to 3x/day.
Contraindications: Avoid if allergic to aspirin/salicylates. Avoid with children under 16 who have flu/chickenpox due to rare possibility of Reye’s syndrome.
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Meadowsweet monograph by Rosalee de la Foret