Meadowsweet: Botanical name: Filipendula
ulmaria. Meadowsweet is found in northern and southern Europe, North
America, and northern Asia. The flowers and flowering top are primarily used in
herbal preparations, although there are some historical references to using the
root. Meadowsweet is used to treat the common cold, influenza,
osteoarthritis, and rheumatoid arthritis.
Meadowsweet was used
historically by herbalists for a wide variety of conditions, including treating
rheumatic complaints of the joints and muscles. Nicholas
Culpeper, a 17th-century English pharmacist, mentioned its use to help break
fevers and promote sweating during a cold or flu. Traditional herbal references
also indicate its use as a diuretic for people with poor urinary flow.
It was also thought to have antacid properties and was used by
herbalists to treat stomach complaints, including
Active constituents: While
the flowers are high in flavonoids, the primary constituents in meadowsweet are
the salicylates, including salicin, salicylaldehyde, and methyl
salicylate. In the digestive tract, these compounds are oxidized into
salicylic acid, a substance that is closely related to aspirin (acetylsalicylic
acid). While not as potent as willow, which has a higher salicin content, the
salicylates in meadowsweet may give it a mild anti-inflammatory effect and
ability to reduce fevers during a cold or flu. However, this role is only based
on historical use and knowledge of the chemistry of meadowsweets
constituents, and to date, no human trials have examined the therapeutic
potential of meadowsweet.
The German Commission E
monograph recommends 2.53.5 grams of the flower or 45 grams of the
herboften in a tea or infusionper day. Unfortunately, to
achieve an aspirin-like effect, one would realistically need to consume about
5060 grams of meadowsweet daily. This means that willow bark extracts
standardized to salicin are a far more practical as a potential herbal
substitute for aspirin for minor aches and pains or mild fevers. Tinctures,
24 ml three times per day, may alternatively be used.
People with sensitivity to
aspirin should avoid the use of meadowsweet. It should not be used to lower
fevers in children as it may possibly lead to Reye's syndrome. Certain
medications may interact with meadowsweet. Refer to the drug interactions
safety check for a list of those medications.
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