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Meadowsweet Filipendula

(Last edited: Monday, 30 March 2015, 10:09 PM)

meadowsweetAlso known as: Bridewort, Dropwort, Filipendula, Lady of the Meadow, Meadow Queen, Meadow-Wort, Queen of the Meadow, Spiraeae Flos, Spireae Herba.

Scientific Name: Filipendula ulmaria, Filipendula spiraea.

Family: Rosaceae.

Parts used: Flowers, stems, leaves.

Traditional use.

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 cystitis.



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 system.(15)

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 herbalist.

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.

Flavonoids; spiraeoside, rutin, quercitin, hyperoside, avicularin.

Tannins (polyphenols); mainly hydrolysable tannins.

Miscellaneous; phenylcarboxylic acids, traces of coumarin, ascorbic acid (vitamin C).

Scientific evidence.

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 scavenger cells.([1],7,8) 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 effect.(9)

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 well-being.(10)

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 gout. (12)


Adverse Reactions.

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 prescription drugs.

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:

None known.


Interactions with Drugs.


Salicylate drugs as described.

Salicin doesn't seem to have the antiplatelet effects of aspirin on blood clotting. (4)

Salicylate medication

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.

None known.


Interactions with laboratory tests.

None known.


Interactions with diseases or conditions.

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.




  1. Newall CA, Anderson LA, Philpson JD. Herbal Medicine: A Guide for Healthcare Professionals. London, UK: The Pharmaceutical Press, 1996.


  1. 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.


  1. Wichtl MW. Herbal Drugs and Phytopharmaceuticals. Ed. N.M. Bisset. Stuttgart: Medpharm GmbH Scientific Publishers, 1994.


  1. McGuffin M, Hobbs C, Upton R, Goldberg A, eds. American Herbal Products Association's Botanical Safety Handbook. Boca Raton, FL: CRC Press, LLC 1997.


  1. Gruenwald J, Brendler T, Jaenicke C. PDR for Herbal Medicines. 1st ed. Montvale, NJ: Medical Economics Company, Inc., 1998.

         Phenolic Extracts from Meadowsweet and Hawthorn Flowers Have Antioxidative Properties. Zbigniew Sroka, Wojciech Cisowski, Magdalena Seredyn ́ska and Maria Łuczkiewicz.

Z. Naturforsch, 56c, 739Ð744 (2001); received July 13, 2000/April 6, 2001.

6. I. V. Shilova, T. V. Zhavoronok, N. I. Souslov, T. P. Novozheeva, R. N. Mustafin, A. M. Losseva. Hepatoprotective properties of fractions from meadowsweet extract during experimental toxic hepatitis. Bulletin of Experimental Biology and Medicine. July 2008, Volume 146, Issue 1, pp 49-51.

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

Volume 27, Issue 4, pages 588–594, April 2013

        8. Elaine M. Drummond, Harbourne N, Marete E, Jacquier J.C, O'Riordan D, Gibney E.R. An In Vivo Study Examining the Antiinflammatory Effects of Chamomile, Meadowsweet, and Willow Bark in a Novel Functional Beverage. Journal of dietary Supplements. December 2013, Vol. 10, No. 4 , Pages 370-380.


        9. Bernatoniene J,  Savicka A, Bernatoniene J, Kalvéniené Z, Klimas R. Kaunas University of Medicine.

        The Effect of Meadowsweet (Filipendula ulmaria) Flower Extract and Hydrothiazide on Renal Physiological Function in Rats.

Book: Functional Foods for Chronic Diseases.


10. V. V. Udut, A. I. Vengerovskii, N. I. Suslov, I. V. Shilova, A. V. Kaigorodtsev, N. Yu. Polomeeva, A. M. Dygai. Pharmaceutical Chemistry Journal.  November 2012, Volume 46, Issue 8, pp 492-494

Anxiolytic activity of biologically active compounds from Filipendula vulgaris

            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.

                            Food Chemistry. Volume 127, Issue 4, 15 August 2011, Pages 1600–1608.

        15. Annali dell'Istituto Superiore di Sanità

        Ann. Ist. Super. Sanità vol.47 n.3 Roma Jan. 2011.

[1] Phytother Res. 2013 Apr;27(4):588-94.

Inhibition of proinflammatory biomarkers in THP1 macrophages by polyphenols derived from chamomile, meadowsweet and willow bark.

Drummond EM, Harbourne N, Marete E et al.

Entry link: Meadowsweet Filipendula

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