(Filipendula ulmaria)

Meadowsweet is a common wild plant in Britain, Europe, parts of Asia and North America. The flowers, leaves and finer stems are used in herbal medicine. It is often called the herbalists “bicarbonate of soda” due to its antacid action.

Meadowsweet was used historically by herbalists for a wide variety of conditions, including treating rheumatic complaints of the joints and muscles. Nicholas Culpeper, a 17th-century English chemist, mentioned its use to help break fevers and promote sweating during a cold or flu. Traditional herbal references also indicate its use as a diuretic for people with poor urinary flow. It was also thought to have antacid properties and was used by herbalists to treat stomach complaints, including heartburn.

What it does

This herb contains flavanol glycosides, including quercetin, phenolic glycosides, volatile oil and polyphenols. The volatile oil contains salicylates which the body breaks down to salicylic acid, which is a compound very similar to aspirin. Meadowsweet is antacid, diuretic, astringent, relieves stomach pain, mildly analgesic and anti-inflammatory.

Potential Uses

Colds Osteo arthritis Flu
Rheumatoid arthritis Cystitis Dyspepsia
Flatulence Gastritis Heartburn
Indigestion Stomach ulcers Water retention

Other information

The low levels of salicylates mean that this herb is not a realistic replacement for aspirin.


If you are very sensitive to salicylates this herb is best avoided.

At the time of writing there were no well known negative drug interactions with meadowsweet.


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