Meadowsweet: Background. Actions

2010

Common Name

Meadowsweet

Other Names

Bridewort, dolloff, dropwort, fleur d’ulmaire, gravel root, lady of the meadow, meadow-wort, queen of the meadow, spireae flos

Botanical Name / Family

Filipendula ulmaria (family Rosaceae)

Plant Part Used

Aerial parts

Chemical Components

Phenolic glycosides, essential oil, tannins, mucilage, flavonoids (up to 6% in fresh flowers) and ascorbic acid. The herb also contains various salicylate constituents including methyl salicylate, salicin and salicylic acid.

Historical Note

Meadowsweet was one of the most sacred herbs used by ancient Celtic druid priests, hundreds of years ago. Modern-day aspirin owes its origins to the salicin content isolated from meadowsweet in the early 1800s. In fact, the name aspirin relates to this herb’s former genus name ‘Spiracea’.

Meadowsweet: Main Actions

GASTROPROTECTIVE EFFECTS

In vivo tests have identified protective effects against stomach ulcers induced by acetylsalicylic acid, but no protection was seen against ulcers produced under high acid environments or due to stimulation by histamine. Based on these observations, it appears that the effect may involve a PG-mediated mechanism.

ANTI-INFLAMMATORY AND ANALGESIC

The high salicylate content of the herb suggests it may have anti-inflammatory and analgesic activity. Clinical studies using another salicylate-containing herb, willowbark, has shown that doses of 120-240 mg salicin daily has analgesic, antinociceptive and anti-inflammatory activity. Whether the salicin content found in meadowsweet is of sufficient quantity and bioavailability to produce the same effects is unknown.

Meadowsweet: Other Actions

In vitro tests have identified antioxidant and anticoagulant activity. Bacteriostatic activity has also been reported in vitro against Staphylococcus aureus, S. epidermidis, Escherichia coli, Proteus vulgaris and Pseudomonas aeruginosa.