Scientific Name(S): Filipendula ulmaria L. Maxim., Spiraea ulmaria L. Family: Rosaceae
Common Name(S): Meadowsweet, queen of the meadow, dropwort, bridewort, lady of the meadow
Description: Meadowsweet is a perennial herb, growing in damp meadows, ditches and bogs, at the edges of ponds, on river banks and in damp open woodland. Common throughot Europe, it is also be found in the eastern US and Canada as far west as Ohio. The creeping rootstock sends up a reddish, angular stem, up to 120cm tall, branched near the top and bearing alternate long-petioled leaves composed of two to five pairs of ovate, serrate leaflets which are widely tomentose beneath. The small, creamy-white five-petaled flowers with over twenty protruding stamens grow in panicled cymes from June to August.
Uses of Meadowseet:
Meadowsweet has been used for colds and respiratory problems, acid indigestion or peptic ulcers, joint problems, skin diseases, and diarrhea.
Side Effects of Meadowseet:
Few toxic events have been reported. Do not use in patients with salicylate or sulfite sensitivity, and use caution in asthmatics.
Toxicology: The German Commission E Monographs lists no known side effects, contraindications (except those with salicylate sensitivity), or drug interactions with use of meadowsweet. The FDA has classified the plant as an "herb of undefined safety."
Use caution because of the toxicity profile of salicylates. Methyl salicylate can be absorbed through the skin, resulting in fatalities, especially in children.
Bronchospasm has also been documented from use of the plant; therefore, use caution in asthmatics. Uteroactivity has also been observed from meadowsweet, warranting avoidance during pregnancy and lactation.
Summary: Meadowsweet is an herb that has been used for centuries and has been granted "approved" status by the German Commission E. It contains salicylate derivatives, which make it useful for analgesia. The plant has been used for cold therapy, GI disturbances, and joint problems. It also possesses bacteriostatic actions and antitumor activity. Few toxic events have been reported.
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