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Meadowsweet

Uses

Botanical names:
Filipendula ulmaria

Parts Used & Where Grown

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 The flowers and flowering top are primarily used in herbal preparations, although there are some historical references to using the root.

What Are Star Ratings?

Our proprietary “Star-Rating” system was developed to help you easily understand the amount of scientific support behind each supplement in relation to a specific health condition. While there is no way to predict whether a vitamin, mineral, or herb will successfully treat or prevent associated health conditions, our unique ratings tell you how well these supplements are understood by the medical community, and whether studies have found them to be effective for other people.

For over a decade, our team has combed through thousands of research articles published in reputable journals. To help you make educated decisions, and to better understand controversial or confusing supplements, our medical experts have digested the science into these three easy-to-follow ratings. We hope this provides you with a helpful resource to make informed decisions towards your health and well-being.

3 Stars Reliable and relatively consistent scientific data showing a substantial health benefit.

2 Stars Contradictory, insufficient, or preliminary studies suggesting a health benefit or minimal health benefit.

1 Star For an herb, supported by traditional use but minimal or no scientific evidence. For a supplement, little scientific support.

This supplement has been used in connection with the following health conditions:

Used for Why
1 Star
Common Cold and Sore Throat
Refer to label instructions
Meadowsweet is reputed to break fevers and to promote sweating during a cold or flu. It also has a mild anti-inflammatory effect and a pain-relieving effect.

Meadowsweet has been used historically for a wide variety of conditions. It is reputed to break fevers and to promote sweating during a cold or flu. Meadowsweet contains salicylates, which possibly give the herb an aspirin-like effect, particularly in relieving aches and pains during a common cold. While not as potent as willow, which has a higher salicin content, the salicylates in meadowsweet do give it a mild anti-inflammatory effect and the potential to reduce fevers during a cold or flu. However, this role is based on historical use and knowledge of the chemistry of meadowsweet’s constituents; to date, no human studies have been completed with meadowsweet.

1 Star
Influenza
Refer to label instructions
The salicylates in meadowsweet give it a mild anti-inflammatory effect and the potential to reduce fevers during a cold or flu.

While not as potent as willow, which has a higher salicin content, the salicylates in meadowsweet do give it a mild anti-inflammatory effect and the potential to reduce fevers during a cold or flu. However, this role is based on historical use and knowledge of the chemistry of meadowsweet’s constituents; to date, no human studies have been completed with meadowsweet.

1 Star
Osteoarthritis
Refer to label instructions
Meadowsweet has been historically used to treat complaints of the joints and muscles. The herb contains salicylates, chemicals related to aspirin, that may account for its ability to relieve osteoarthritis pain.
Meadowsweet was historically used for a wide variety of conditions, including treating complaints of the joints and muscles.2 The herb contains salicylates, chemicals related to aspirin, that may account for its reputed ability to relieve the pain of osteoarthritis.
1 Star
Rheumatoid Arthritis
Refer to label instructions
Meadowsweet has been used historically for a wide variety of conditions, including treating rheumatic complaints of the joints and muscles.

Meadowsweet was used historically for a wide variety of conditions, including treating rheumatic complaints of the joints and muscles.3

Traditional Use (May Not Be Supported by Scientific Studies)

Meadowsweet was used historically by herbalists for a wide variety of conditions, including treating rheumatic complaints of the joints and muscles.1 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 heartburn.

How It Works

Botanical names:
Filipendula ulmaria

How It Works

While the flowers are high in flavonoids, the primary constituents in meadowsweet are the salicylates, including salicin, salicylaldehyde, and methyl salicylate.4 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 meadowsweet’s constituents, and to date, no human trials have examined the therapeutic potential of meadowsweet.

How to Use It

The German Commission E monograph recommends 2.5–3.5 grams of the flower or 4–5 grams of the herb—often in a tea or infusion—per day.5 Unfortunately, to achieve an aspirin-like effect, one would realistically need to consume about 50–60 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, 2–4 ml three times per day, may alternatively be used.

Interactions

Botanical names:
Filipendula ulmaria

Interactions with Supplements, Foods, & Other Compounds

At the time of writing, there were no well-known supplement or food interactions with this supplement.

Interactions with Medicines

Certain medicines interact with this supplement.

Types of interactions: Beneficial Adverse Check

Replenish Depleted Nutrients

  • none

Reduce Side Effects

  • none

Support Medicine

  • none

Reduces Effectiveness

  • none

Potential Negative Interaction

  • Bismuth Subsalicylate

    Bismuth subsalicylate contains salicylates. Various herbs including meadowsweet (Filipendula ulmaria), poplar (Populus tremuloides), willow (Salix alba), and wintergreen (Gaultheria procumbens) contain salicylates as well. Though similar to aspirin, plant salicylates have been shown to have different actions in test tube studies.6 Furthermore, salicylates are poorly absorbed and likely do not build up to levels sufficient to cause negative interactions that aspirin might.7 No reports have been published of negative interactions between salicylate-containing plants and aspirin or aspirin-containing drugs.8 Therefore concerns about combining salicylate-containing herbs remain theoretical, and the risk of causing problems appears to be low.

    The interaction is supported by preliminary, weak, fragmentary, and/or contradictory scientific evidence.

Explanation Required

  • none

The Drug-Nutrient Interactions table may not include every possible interaction. Taking medicines with meals, on an empty stomach, or with alcohol may influence their effects. For details, refer to the manufacturers’ package information as these are not covered in this table. If you take medications, always discuss the potential risks and benefits of adding a supplement with your doctor or pharmacist.

Side Effects

Botanical names:
Filipendula ulmaria

Side Effects

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.

References

1. Zeylstra H. Filipendila ulmaria. Br J Phytotherapy 1998;5:8–12.

2. Zeylstra H. Filipendila ulmaria. Br J Phytotherapy 1998;5:8–12.

3. Zeylstra H. Filipendila ulmaria. Br J Phytotherapy 1998;5:8–12.

4. Newall CA, Anderson LA, Phillipson JD. Herbal Medicines: A Guide for Health-Care Professionals. London: The Pharmaceutical Press, 1996, 191–2.

5. Blumenthal M, Busse WR, Goldberg A, et al. (eds). The Complete German Commission E Monographs: Therapeutic Guide to Herbal Medicines. Austin: American Botanical Council and Boston: Integrative Medicine Communications, 1998, 169.

6. Wichtl M, Bisset NG, eds. Herbal Drugs and Phytopharmaceuticals. Stuttgart: Medpharm GmBH Scientific Publishers.

7. Janssen PL, Katan MB, van Staveren WA, et al. Acetylsalicylate and salicylates in foods. Cancer Lett 1997:114(1–2):163–4.

8. McGuffin M, Hobbs C, Upton R, Goldberg A, eds. (1997) American Herbal Product Association’s Botanical Safety Handbook. Boca Raton, FL: CRC Press, 1997, 154–5.

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