Meadowsweet (Spriea Ulmaria)

Botanical Name : Spriea Ulmaria
Family : ROSACEAE Rose Family
Genus: Filipendula
Synonyme : Spirea ulmaria L.
Common Names : Meadowsweet , Queen of the Meadow,  Quaker Lady , Pride of the Meadow, Meadow-Wort, Meadow Queen, Lady of the Meadow, Dollof, Meadsweet and Bridewort.
Kingdom: Plantae
Division: Magnoliophyta
Class: Magnoliopsida
Order: Rosales
Species: F. ulmaria

Habitat :  It is found in the North Temperate and Arctic regions of Arctic Europe, Asia Minor, and North Asia,  grows in damp meadows.
The Meadow-sweet is found in all parts of Great Britain as far north as the Shetland Islands, up to 1200 ft. in Yorkshire. It is found in the West of Ireland.

Description :

Meadowsweet  is a perennial herb .The stems are 1–2 m (3-7 ft) tall, erect and furrowed, reddish to sometimes purple. The leaves  are dark green on the upper side and whitish and downy underneath, much divided, interruptedly pinnate, having a few large serrate leaflets and small intermediate ones. Terminal leaflets are large, 4–8 cm long and three to five-lobed.

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Meadowsweet has delicate, graceful, creamy-white flowers clustered close together in handsome irregularly-branched cymes, having a very strong, sweet smell. They flower from June to early September.

 

Meadowsweet leaves are commonly galled by the bright orange rust fungus Triphragmium ulmariae which creates swellings and distortions on the stalk and / or midrib.

Meadowsweet is known in Irish as Airgead Luachra meaning Rush Silver. Perhaps it derives its name from its leaves which are a silvery green underneath and the fact that the herb grows in damp areas. Meadowsweet was considered a sacred herb in ancient Celtic rituals. Few of its medicinal uses were known in the past when it was used mainly for scouring milk churns in Co Mayo and strewing on floors. At the same time in parts of Ireland country people tended to be wary of the plant and some wouldn’t allow it into the home believing it induced sleep from which they could not awake. In Co Kerry a black dye was obtained and used from the roots.

Its medicinal properties have only been used in recent times, possibly since it was discovered that the plant contained salicylic acid, one of the main ingredients for Aspirin. The old name of the plant was Spirea (Ulmaria) from which Aspirin derives is name.

Properities & Constituents :

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Active ingredients: compounds of salicylic acid, flavone-glycosides, essential oils and tannins.
Astringent* Diuretic* Tonic* Depurative* Febrifuge* . Meadowsweet contains chemicals called tannins. Since tannins have a drying effect on mucous membranes, meadowsweet is helpful in decreasing the congestion and mucus associated with a cold. Meadowsweet has also been used for heartburn, stomach ulcers, diarrhea, infections and to ease the pain of sore joints and muscles.


Medicinal Uses:

Common Uses: Colds * Congestion/Chest & Sinus * Diarrhea * Gout * Influenza * Lupus * Rheumatoid Arthritis *

Like Aspirin, Meadowsweet is used mainly to relieve pain. It is suitable as a diuretic, being useful for kidney and bladder complaints such as cystitis. Since it contains mucilage, it is ideal for problems concerning the stomach lining – gastritis, ulcers, hiatus hernia etc. It also reduces stomach acidity and is good for rheumatic conditions, as it rids the body of excess uric acid.

To prepare Meadowsweet add 1 pint of almost boiling water to 1 oz. of the flowers. Cover and leave to infuse for 10 minutes and take 3-4 cups per day between meals. This can be taken regularly for three weeks. Compresses soaked in the above infusion or poultices made from the flowers will relieve pain when applied directly to joints affected by rheumatism and neuralgia.

The whole herb possesses a pleasant taste and flavour, the green parts having a similar aromatic character to the flowers, leading to the use of the plant as a strewing herb, strewn on floors to give the rooms a pleasant aroma, and its use to flavour wine, beer and many vinegars. The flowers can be added to stewed fruit and jams, giving them a subtle almond flavor. It has many medicinal properties. The whole plant is a traditional remedy for an acidic stomach and the fresh root is often used in infinitesimal quantities in homeopathic preparations. It is effective on its own as a treatment for diarrhea. The flowers, when made into a tea, are a comfort to flu sufferers. Dried, the flowers make lovely pot pourri.

In 1897 Felix Hoffmann created a synthetically altered version of salicin, derived from the species, which caused less digestive upset than pure salicylic acid. The new drug, formally Acetylsalicylic acid, was named aspirin by Hoffman’s employer Bayer AG after the old botanical name for meadowsweet, Spiraea ulmaria. This gave rise to the hugely important class of drugs known as NonSteroidal AntiInflammatory Drugs, or NSAIDs.

This plant contains the chemicals used to make aspirin, a small section of root, when peeled and crushed smells like Germolene, and when chewed is a good natural remedy for relieving headaches. A natural black dye can be obtained from the roots by using a copper mordant.

About one in five people with asthma has Samter’s triad, in which aspirin induces asthma symptoms. Therefore, asthmatics should be aware of the possibility that meadowsweet, with its similar biochemistry, could theoretically also induce symptoms of asthma.


Precautions:

Should not be used by anyone who has asthma or is allergic to aspirin.
Can cause stomach upset or kidney damage if used too much or for too long

Disclaimer:The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplements, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.


Resources:

http://www.askaboutireland.ie/reading-room/environment-geography/flora-fauna/selected-wild-flowers-of/meadowsweet-(filipendula-/
http://www.anniesremedy.com/herb_detail134.php
http://chestofbooks.com/flora-plants/flowers/British-Wild-Flowers-1/Meadow-sweet-Spiraea-Ulmaria-L.html
http://organizedwisdom.com/Meadowsweet
http://fr.academic.ru/dic.nsf/frwiki/1562560

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Filipendula_ulmaria

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One thought on “Meadowsweet (Spriea Ulmaria)”

  1. One of the best things about Meadowsweet is that is has no known side effects. So, you can take it like aspirin for pain and not have to worry about stomach upset or thinning of the blood.

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