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Meadowsweet

Filipendula ulmaria

Herbs gallery - Meadowsweet



Common names

  • Bridewort
  • Meadowsweet
  • Queen Of The Meadow

The therapeutic values of meadowsweet are very much like those of aspirin. However, unlike aspirin, meadowsweet is safe and does not have any adverse side affects. Hence, it is not surprising that meadowsweet is known to be among the best antacid medications available. The herb is effective in curing indigestion owing to excessive production of acids in the stomach, heartburn, gastritis, peptic ulcers and hiatus hernia. In addition, meadowsweet helps in relieving intestinal wind and distension and according to experts, it should be given priority over other medications while treating inflammatory conditions in the stomach or in the bowels. Tannins (a brownish or yellowish compound found in plants that is used for tanning, dyes and astringents) present in meadowsweet function like astringents (substances that draws tissue together) in the bowel. They safeguard as well as cure the mucous membranes (thin flexible sheets of tissue connecting, covering, lining or separating various parts or organs in animal and plant bodies) alleviating problems like enteritis and diarrhea. Their gentle antiseptic or anti-bacterial functions helps in countering infections, while the tannins' properties to relax or make the muscles less tense helps in relieving stomach pains and colic disorders.

As mentioned earlier, the therapeutic qualities of the meadowsweet herb are much like that of aspirin, unlike aspirin, the herb is not associated with any side affects. The superfluous tannins and mucilage present in the herb safeguards the lining of the digestive system and this property of meadowsweet makes it a valuable medication for curing gastritis as well as gastric ulcers or sores.

Meadowsweet possesses anti-inflammatory properties or actions that counter rabble-rousing. This action of the herb is useful for treating aches, pains, rheumatism (pain of the joints), arthritis as well as gout. The herb helps in alleviating inflamed joints and its diuretic properties enhances the urine outflow thereby helping in throwing out toxic (noxious) wastes as well as uric acid from the body. The analgesic consequence of meadowsweet aids in relieving pain and also alleviating headaches and neuralgia. In addition, the capability of meadowsweet to relax the muscles let loose muscle contraction and encourages sleep, getting rid of insomnia. The diaphoretic or sweat inducting function of the herb is helpful in diminishing high temperatures and eruptive infections or contagions like measles and chicken pox.

Meadowsweet is held in high esteem by scientists, herbal practitioners as well as the common masses for its decontamination diuretic consequences which are also known to have cleared the skin as well as get rid of rashes. The gentle antiseptic or sterilizing action of meadowsweet makes it a useful medication for treating disorders like cystitis and urethritis (inflammation of the urethra), fluid retention or preservation as well as kidney problems. Salicylate salts present in the herb are reported to make softer the different deposits in the body. For instance, the salicylate salts are helpful in mitigating the kidney stones and gravel and also atherosclerosis (a common arterial disease in which raised areas of deterioration and cholesterol deposits plaques form on the inner surfaces of the arteries obstructing blood flow).

Parts used

Aerial parts, flowers.

Uses

The Druids (a priest of an ancient Celtic religion practiced in Britain, Ireland and Gaul until the people of those areas were converted to Christianity) considered meadowsweet to be one of their most blessed aromatic plant. Despite the Druids' opinion regarding the plant, it is still unheard of whether they used the herb as a medicine. Nevertheless, meadowsweet has been an ancient folk medication in most regions of Europe. Referring to meadowsweet, in 1652, naturalist Nicholas Culpepper had written in his much-valued medical text that “it helps in the speedy recovery from cholic (bile acid) disorders and removes the instability and constant change in the stomach'.

Several researches on meadowsweet have displayed that the herb is an effective medication for curing acid indigestion. Although the herb's power to diminish acid levels right through the body is yet to be proved, meadowsweet's efficiency in relieving excruciating pains owing to arthritis and rheumatic disorders is in all probability not only owing to its anti-inflammatory functions or properties. Nevertheless, it has been found that diminishing the excessive acidity in the stomach often helps in lessening the acid levels in the entire body. This in turn, helps in alleviating joint problems that are reportedly related to acidity. It may be mentioned here that meadowsweet is also used to treat problems like cystitis (inflammation of the urinary bladder, often caused by infection).

It may be underlined here that meadowsweet is a safe medication for diarrhea, even for children. In addition meadowsweet is blended with other herbs to cure irritable bowel syndrome.

Habitat and cultivation

Although meadowsweet is indigenous to Europe, it thrives without any effort in moist places. The herb basically prefers damp places like ditches as well as stream and river banks. Normally, the meadowsweet saplings grow on their own from the seeds. However, the herb can also be disseminated through root division. The best time of the year to propagate the herb through root division is autumn or spring. The leaves of the herb and the flower clippings are collected during summer when the flowers are open.

Research

Researches on meadowsweet has shown that the salicylates (salts or esters of salicylic acid) present in the plant are substances similar to aspirin and they help in diminishing irritation and swelling (inflammation) as well as relieving pains. They are especially effective in arthritis problems. However, dissimilar to aspirin that gives rise to gastric ulcers when taken in high doses, a blend of salicylates, tannins (a brownish or yellowish compound found in plants that is used in tanning, dyes and astringents) and other ingredients found in meadowsweet function to safeguard the inside layer of the stomach and intestines. At the same time, the blend provides anti-inflammatory advantages owing to the presence of the salicylates. It may be mentioned here that meadowsweet is an ideal example that shows that it is not possible to appreciate or comprehend herbal medicines just by judging their active ingredients separately.

Constituents

  • Flavonol glycosides (approximately 1 %), mainly glycosides of quercetin
  • Phenolic glycosides (salicylates)
  • Volatile oil (salicylaldehyde)
  • Polyphenols (tannins)

Usual dosage

Meadowsweet may be ingested both as an infusion as well as tincture. When consuming meadowsweet in infusion, you may ingest 200 ml or 8 fluid ounces of it thrice daily to treat digestive problems. However, to treat diarrhea in adults use double-strength (i.e. 400 ml or 16 fluid ounces) infusion three times daily. Two ml or 40 drops of the tincture prepared from meadowsweet may be taken thrice daily to treat arthritis problems.

How it works in the body

Researches have established that the salicylic (a white crystalline acid) factor in the herb is basically conscientious for the plants' anti-inflammatory and pain relieving properties. Thus, when herbs comprising salicylic are used in treating musculoskeletal problems like arthritis, they are very effectual. Significantly, the same ingredient is again used to treat abnormal acidity like gastric ulcers. It is very effective in the treatment of ingestion disorders like stomach ulcers and irritable bowel symptoms that are generally caused owing to excessive production of acids in the digestive system. Incidentally, salicylic component is not only important in diminishing acidity, but it also functions vigorously in curing the alimentary canal wherever there is inflammation. For years, salicylic component has been used by physicians as a mild medication to cure diarrhea and has been especially praised for its effectiveness in curing diarrhea among children. The later aspect of the ingredient has even been approved by the present day herbal medicine practitioners.

Applications

Meadowsweet may be used in various ways to cure various disorders. It may be ingested in the infusion and tincture forms and applied externally as compress. The herb is also useful as eyewash.

Aerial parts:
INFUSION: Infusion prepared from meadowsweet is useful in healing colds associated with fever as well as rheumatic pains. The infusion from this herb also relieves stomach upsets in children.
TINCTURE: Tincture prepared from meadowsweet is normally more potent than the infusion and acts more effectively. It may be ingested to treat disorders like gastric ulcers or intense acidity. You may also prepare a tincture of meadowsweet blended with other herbs like angelica and/ or willow to treat arthritis.
COMPRESS: Meadowsweet may be applied externally as a compress to get relief from arthritis and rheumatic or painful joints. The compress may also be applied to treat neuralgia (an irregular and often cruel pain in a part of the body along the path of a nerve, especially when there is no physical change in the nerve itself). Prepare the compress by saturating a pad in the diluted tincture and apply the pad on the aching parts.
EYEWASH: Meadowsweet is very useful in treating conjunctivitis. In fact, when applied as eyewash it brings relief to patients suffering from conjunctivitis and other eye problems. The eyewash may be prepared by cooling and filtering the infusion prepared from the herb.

Good blood wine

  • 1 cup (50 g) meadowsweet flowers
  • 1 cup (25 g) sage
  • 1 cup (25 g) parsley
  • 1/2 cup (100 g) creamy, unpasteurized honey
  • 4 cups (1 liter) tannic red wine

Chop the plants in a blender. Combine with the red wine and macerate and let stand for 1 month. Stir from time to time. Strain using cheesecloth and stir in the honey; dissolve well. Drink 1 oz (25 ml) before the two main meals to enrich the blood, reinforce the heart and combat postmenstrual anemia.

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