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Meadowsweet

Meadowsweet

Botanical Description & Habitat

Filipendula ulmaria, Spiraea ulmaria

Family
Rosaceae

Common Names

Pride of the meadowMeadow wort
Meadow queenBridewort
Doll-off



Habitat
European meadows, eastern U.S. and Canada

Medicinal Parts
The whole plant is used, even the roots

Historical Properties & Uses

Source of meadowsweet oil
Meadowsweet has been used as a spring tonic, stomachic, astringent, analgesic, diaphoretic, febrifuge, antispasmodic, blood purifier, sedative, carminative.

The tea, in particular, is used for stomach problems, including lack of appetite, cramps, flatulence, gastritis, enteritis and ulcers. Liver and gallbladder problems are treated with meadowsweet tea; it is said to promote the flow of bile. Fresh juice is used to purify the blood and to treat internal bleeding, as in menstrual flow irregularities, hemorrhoidal bleeding and blood in the urine

The diuretic and diaphoretic properties are used to treat edema as a complication of heart disease, gout, rheumatism and ascites.

Meadowsweet flower and herb have approval status by the German Commission E for colds.

References:

Blumenthal, M (Ed.): The Complete German Commission E Monographs: Therapeutic Guide to Herbal Medicines. American Botanical Council. Austin, TX. 1998.

Method of Action

Salicylic Compounds Account for Several Meadowsweet Actions
Meadowsweet is a source of salicylic acid and methyl salicylate, two the earliest sources for aspirin. These components undoubtedly account for the disinfectant, analgesic, anti-rheumatic, febrifuge, anti-biotic, antiseptic properties of the herb. As a headache remedy, meadowsweet is often combined with white willow bark, which also contains salicylate compounds.

The Essential Oil Accounts for Stomachic Properties
The essential oil of meadowsweet also contains salicin and related aromatic substances accounting for the gastro-intestinal actions accorded the herb.

The plant has been shown to be astringent, which would account for its styptic properties in controlling internal and external bleeding.

In Europe, meadowsweet is often used in herbal combinations for rheumatism and arthritis, not so much for its own effects, but because it is believed to interact in positive, as yet inexplicable, ways with the other herbs so as to increase the effectiveness of the whole product.

The British Pharmacopoeia recommends meadowsweet as a stomachic, mild urinary antiseptic, antirheumatic, astringent and antacid, in the treatment of atonic dyspepsia with heartburn and hyperacidity, acute catarrhal dystitis, rheumatic muscle and joint pains, and diarrhea in children, with a specific recommendation for the treatment and prevention of peptic ulcers.

Drug Interactions & Precautions

Possible Interactions
Meadowsweet's analgesic effects may be additive with other analgesics and anesthetics. It may be inhibited by barbiturates even though CNS depressant effects may occur.

The analgesic property of this herb may be reversed or eliminated by p-chlorophenylalanine, cyproheptadine HCl, and phenobarbital.

The CNS depressant tendency of this analgesic may be potentiated by chlorproxthixene HCl, haloperidol, and tranquilizers.

The antacid nature of this herb may decrease or delay the absorption of nalidixic acid and the sulfonamides.

Due to the spasmolytic nature of this herb it may interact in unknown ways with CNS depressants or stimulants.

Meadowsweet should not be used with methotrimeprazine, a potent CNS depressant analgesic.

Due to presence of salicylates, this herb may potentiate the effects of other anticoagulant agents, such as heparin.

Meadowsweet, because of its salicylate-like constituents may potentiate pas toxicity in patients using aminosalicylate drugs.

By competing for renal tubular secretion, salicylates prolong the half life of penicillin g, increasing both its effectiveness and its toxicity.

Comments
In the absence of other hard data, it may still be assumed observable interactions may occur between the many central nervous system drugs and the psychoactive principles in meadowsweet.

Salicylates block renal tubular secretion of methotrexate (cancer drug) thereby increasing the amount of active drug.

Plasma salicylate concentration may be increased by ammonium chloride, vitamin C, and paba, and decreased by antacids.

The salicylate action of this herb will increase the renal clearance of naproxen, and inhibit the uricosuric effect of sulfinpyrazone. The same is true of the analgesic propoxyphene HCl.

Safety Factors & Toxicity

The FDA classifies meadowsweet as an herb of undefined safety. Methyl salicylate is much more toxic than salicylates in general, and it can be absorbed through the skin. Apparently, fatalities have resulted from absorption. Continued use of meadowsweet is said to result in photosensitization of the skin.

This herb has approval status by the German Commission E.

References:

Blumenthal, M (Ed.): The Complete German Commission E Monographs: Therapeutic Guide to Herbal Medicines. American Botanical Council. Austin, TX. 1998.

Preparation & Administration

Use three times daily

Infusion
Use 4-6g of dried herb

Liquid Extract
Use 1.5-6ml of 1:1 in 25% alcohol

Tincture
Use 2-4ml of 1:5 in 45% alcohol

This herb has approval status by the German Commission E.

Recommended daily dosages in Germany are as follows:

2.5 - 3.5 g flower.
4 - 5 g herb.

References:

Blumenthal, M (Ed.): The Complete German Commission E Monographs: Therapeutic Guide to Herbal Medicines. American Botanical Council. Austin, TX. 1998.

Note: This Herbal Preparation information is a summary of data from books and articles by various authors. It is not intended to replace the advice or attention of health care professionals.

References

Blumenthal, M (Ed.): The Complete German Commission E Monographs: Therapeutic Guide to Herbal Medicines. American Botanical Council. Austin, TX. 1998.

Braun, H. & Frohne, D. Heilplanzen-Lexikon Fuer Aerzte und Apotheker. Gustav Fisher Verlag, Stuttgart, New York, 1987.

British Herbal Pharmacopoeia, British Herbal Medicine Association, 1983.

Duke, J.A. CRC Handbook of Medicinal Herbs, CRC Press, Inc., Boca Raton, Florida, 1985.

Lust, John, The Herb Book. Bantam Books, New York, 1974.

Mowrey, Daniel B., Ph.D. Exper. Psych., Brigham Young University. Director of Nebo Institute of Herbal Sciences. Director of Behavior Change Agent Training Institute. Director of Research, Nova Corp.

Newall CA, Anderson LA, Phillipson JD. Herbal Medicines A Guide for Health-care Professionals. London: The Pharmaceutical Press, 1996:21,45,63,282.

Weiss, R.F. Herbal Medicine. Beaconsfield Publishers, LTD, Beaconsfield, England, 1988.

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Filipendula ulmaria


? Southwest School of Botanical Medicine