Meadowsweet is used for colds, bronchitis, dyspepsia, heartburn,
peptic ulcer disease, and rheumatic disorders including gout. It
is also used as a diuretic and urinary antiseptic for acute
There are no safety concerns when used appropriately.
(4) One case report on the use of a blend of
herbs including meadowsweet has been reported in a child
presenting with bleeding from the upper digestive
As tannins precipitate proteins it is suggested that it is taken
between meals if you have a low protein diet. This also applies
to tea, red wine and dark chocolate. I have not witnessed any
such concerns in clinical practice. Theoretically salicylates may
be associated with Reyes syndrome although no cases have been
reported with meadowsweet.
Pregnancy:Consult a medical
Breastfeeding; Consult a medical herbalist.
Volatile oils containing salicylaldehyde, ethylsalicylate,
methylsalicylate, methoxybenzaldehyde and others.
Phenolic glycosides; spirein, monotropitin (gaultherin), these
are the primeverosides of salicyl aldehyde and methyl methyl
salicylate.; also isosalicin.
Miscellaneous; phenylcarboxylic acids, traces of coumarin,
ascorbic acid (vitamin C).
No clinical studies have been done.
Mechanism of action.
Meadowsweet has stomachic, mild urinary antiseptic, diuretic,
anti-rheumatic, astringent, and antacid activities.(1)
In laboratory studies meadowsweet demonstrates anti-inflammatory
effects on pro-inflammatory mediators (cytokines) and on
Meadowsweet is a rich source of anti-oxidants.(14)It
contains tannins and salicin, a plant salicylate.
(2,4) In animals, meadowsweet decreases motor
activity, lowers temperature, induces muscle relaxation, and
increases the effect of codeine related pain relieving
substances. (1) In animals the flower extract
increases life expectancy, decreases vascular permeability,
increases bronchial, intestinal, and uterine tone and promotes
uric acid excretion. In laboratory studies it inhibits the growth
of bacteria (bacteriostatic activity).(1) Water
extracts of Meadowsweet contain high concentrations of tannins
with astringent effects. (1)Meadowsweet exhibited
protective properties in liver cells exposed to
toxins.(6) This extract produced a normalizing effect
on activity of protective enzymes including markers of cell
breakdown, lipid peroxidation, and antioxidant defense system in
liver cells. In animal studies meadowsweet demonstrated a
positive effect on renal blood flow resulting in a diuretic
Interestingly a recent study showed an anxiolytic effect of
Meadowsweet extract on mice, this is in keeping with the herbal
tradition of digestive health being central to your sense of
In laboratory research meadowsweet demonstrated anti-bacterial
actions including H. Pylori which is implicated in the pathology
of peptic ulcers.(11,13)
Meadowsweet demonstrates inhibitory properties on the enzyme
xanthine oxidase which is the primary target for the treatment of
For a small percentage of people Meadowsweet can cause minor
digestive problems.(5) There is no way to predict this
except they are often people who have poor tolerance to
Wheeze (bronchospasm) has rarely been reported.(1)
In keeping with Willow Bark there may theoretically be side
effects of overall increased salicylic acid exposure. This is
unlikely with low dose aspirin but vigilance is recommended.
Interactions with herbs and supplements:
Interactions with Drugs.
Salicylate drugs as described.
Salicin doesn't seem to have the antiplatelet effects of aspirin
on blood clotting. (4)
Meadowsweet contains salicin, a plant salicylate. Theoretically,
meadowsweet might have an additive effect with other
salicylate-containing drugs such as aspirin,
NSAIDs andcholine magnesium trisalicylate. (4)
Narcotic drugs e.g. codeine.
Theoretically, meadowsweet can enhance the effects of codeine
like drugs. (1)
Interactions with foods.
Interactions with laboratory
Interactions with diseases or
Aspirin allergy: Use meadowsweet cautiously in individuals with
aspirin allergy because of salicylate constituents.
Asthma: In theory meadowsweet might exacerbate asthma due to
bronchospastic effects. Observe for effects on symptoms if you
are asthmatic. (1) In fifteen years of herbal
medicine practice I have not observed this effect nor has it been
reported by others, but it is worth bearing in mind.
Recommended dose: 6-12mls per day 1:5 tincture 30% alcohol.
Infusion: range from 1-1½ tsps. per day.
Powder/capsule: range from 1.5-3gms per day.
Liquid extract: 2-6mls 1:2 in 30% alcohol per day.
Dr. Clare’s Blend: ½ tsp. per day.
Newall CA, Anderson LA, Philpson JD. Herbal Medicine: A Guide
for Healthcare Professionals. London, UK: The Pharmaceutical
Schulz V, Hansel R, Tyler VE. Rational Phytotherapy: A
Physician's Guide to Herbal Medicine. Terry C. Telger, transl.
3rd ed. Berlin, GER: Springer, 1998.
7. Elaine M Drummond, Niamh Harbourne, Eunice Marete, Danika
Martyn, JC Jacquier, Dolores O'Riordan andEileen R
Gibney.. Inhibition of Proinflammatory Biomarkers in
THP1 Macrophages by Polyphenols Derived From Chamomile,
Meadowsweet and Willow bark. Phytotherapy Research
Anxiolytic activity of biologically active compounds from
11. RauhaJP, RemesS, HeinonenM et al. Anu Hopiab,
Marja Kähkönenb, Tytti Kujalac, Kalevi
Pihlajac, Heikki Vuorelaa, Pia
Vuorela. Antimicrobial effects of Finnish plant
extracts containing flavonoids and other phenolic compounds.
International Journal of Food Microbiology. Volume
56, Issue 1, 25 May 2000, Pages 3–12
12. Kazazi F,
Halkes SBA, Quarles van Ufford HV, Beukelman CJJ, Van den
Berg AJJ. Inhibition of xanthine oxidase activity by Filipendula
species. Planta Med 2009; 75 - PA3
13. Cwikla C, K
Schmidt K, Matthias A, KM Bone KM, RP Lehmann RP, E
Tiralongo E. Investigations into the antibacterial activities of
herbal medicines against Helicobacter pylori and Campylobacter
jejuni. Planta Med 2008; 74 - PA103.
14. Barros L, Cabrita
L, Vilas Boas M, Carvalho AM, Ferreira ICFR. Chemical,
biochemical and electrochemical assays to evaluate phytochemicals
and antioxidant activity of wild plants.