Healing with Meadowsweet
Other Common Names: Dropwort, Bridewort, Queen of the Meadow, Trumpet weed, Rios Cuchulainn, Meadow wort, Drop wort, Pride of the Meadow.
The sweet, almond-scented blooms of meadowsweet are rich in salicin, a compound with potent natural pain-relieving and anti-inflammatory properties. In the 1800s, chemists began tinkering with extracts of meadowsweet, and the result was the creation of the synthetic drug aspirin.
Meadowsweet, water-mint, and vervain were three herbs held most sacred by the Druids, along with vervain and water-mint.
"It is reported that the floures boiled in wine and drunke do take away the fits of a quartaine ague and make the heart merrie. The distilled water of the floures dropped into the eies taketh away the burning and itching thereof and cleareth the sight." -- Gerard
Its historical medicinal uses are confirmed enough that it is licensed as a standard medicinal tea in Germany by the German E Commission, which wrote that it is used as a supportive ingredient for fever and common colds, and appears as an ingredient in herbal preparations for treating influenza, rheumatism and kidney and bladder complaints.
Meadowsweet is one of fifty ingredients in a drink called 'Save,' mentioned in Chaucer's Knight's Tale, and the flowers were often steeped in wine and beer. It is still incorporated in many herb beers today.
Sometimes referred to nature's aspirin, meadowsweet is one of the most common herbs, growing wild throughout Europe and Asia, and naturalized to grow throughout North America's Eastern coast.
Meadowsweet has a long tradition of use in folk medicine as a treatment for coughs and colds. Its astringent and demulcent properties have been borne out by research, and the German government recognizes meadowsweet tea as a treatment for colds and coughs. Meadowsweet contains salicylic acid, the main constituent in aspirin, and has its analgesic and fever-reducing properties. Meadowsweet is also traditionally used to relieve pain associated with rheumatism, menstrual cramps, headache, arthritis and low grade fever. It also seems to be effective against bacteria that causes diarrhea and may inhibit blood clotting.
Salicin, polyphenolic tannins, especially rugosin-D; 0.5-1.0% flavonoids, quercetin and kaempferol derivatives; phenolic glycosides, mostly spiraein and monotropitin, the primeverosides of salicylaldehyde and methyl salicylate, also isosalicin, a glucoside of salicyl alcohol; volatile oil, mainly; mucilage; and ascorbic acid
In tea infusions, as a capsule or extract and sometimes included in food. The flowers are used as a natural sweetener for teas, foods and other beverages.
Since meadowsweet contains small amounts of salicilate, it should not be used by people with a sensitivity to aspirin or similar products. For the same reason, it should not be used by children under the age of sixteen with high fevers, particularly if the cause may be viral, because of the rare but very real risk of Reyes syndrome. It is not recommended for use by those taking blood thinning medications.