Chestnut Herbal School
Meadowsweet - Filipendula ulmaria

Meadowsweet - Filipendula ulmaria

Meadowsweet is an easy to grow perennial with many medicinal uses and a tasty wintergreen flavor in tea and tincture. In my opinion it is underutilized here in the United States, I have learned about its medicinal virtues by reading English herbalists work. I use it for heartburn, peptic ulcers and upper GI heat. Meadowsweet (Filipendula ulmaria, Roasaceae) contains methyl salicylates, which impart its characteristic wintergreen aroma and taste. Similar to its pharmaceutical counterparts, meadowsweet is used for inflammation and pain. Meadowsweet is often in my formulas for sore muscles, arthritis, and pulled muscles. Aspirin was named for meadowsweet's former genus, Spirea, one of the original sources of salicylate isolation.

Interestingly, plants may produce methyl salicylates to attract beneficial insects, which in turn prey on the insects which are eating the plants. They may also serves as plant pheromones, or airborne hormones, used to let the "neighborhood" know about local plant pathogen presence.

I find it fascinating to consider the plant's perspective and evolutionary purpose in manufacturing the compounds we use as medicine.

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