If you’ve ever seen Meadowsweet growing wild in a meadow, you’ll know why it is called the Queen of the Meadow. This ubiquitous plant with brilliantly white flowers dominates the meadows it calls home. Its contemporary common name, meadowsweet, may not just refer to the plant’s favorite living space, but also to its common use as a flavoring agent in meads and ales.
Meadowsweet (Filipendula ulmaria) is a sweet-smelling astringent herb that is commonly used for excessive diarrhea, ulcers, pain, stomach aches, fevers and gout.
Let’s make a delicious-tasting meadowsweet elixir. Before we get to our recipe, here’s a bit more about this beautiful plant.
Meadowsweet was one of the three most sacred herbs used by ancient Celtic Druid priests. It is mentioned in the Knight’s Tale by Geoffrey Chaucer (fourteenth century C.E.), and described in old European herbals, including those of John Gerard (The Herball, 1597) and Nicholas Culpepper (The English Physitian, 1652).
–Commission E Monograph
Meadowsweet for Pain
Meadowsweet is high in salicylic acid, which is well known for its ability to relieve pain. I find the plant to be a mild to moderate pain reliever that is especially suited to stagnant pain (in a fixed location, possibly with a pounding sensation) and for those with symptoms of heat.
The Iroquois used the mashed and powdered dried root as part of a compound decoction with yarrow for side pain, and nausea.
–Robert Dale Rogers
Meadowsweet is especially suited to headaches in which the person has a hot head and feels a pounding sensation in the head. Meadowsweet is cooling and it promotes circulation, which can relieve stagnant energy in the head.
Besides having the ability to relieve pain, meadowsweet is also anti-inflammatory in nature. Taken daily as a tea or tincture it can help relieve chronic arthritic pain and inflammation.
Stomachaches and Acid Reflux
My two favorite herbs for stomach aches and nausea are ginger and meadowsweet (okay, twist my arm, peppermint too).
Meadowsweet shines as an herb for stomach aches, nausea and poor digestion and is especially helpful for those who find herbs like ginger to be too warming. Meadowsweet removes stagnation (like when you eat a meal and it stays in your stomach too long) and relieves discomfort in the stomach.
If someone asks you what to do for reflux but isn’t going to come in and do a consult or listen to a lengthy exposition on the nuance of gastric tissues and processes I say, “You could try meadowsweet and see if that helps.”
This is a home remedy for pain. This meadowsweet elixir recipe extracts the medicinal properties of the herb with alcohol and glycerine. Glycerine is added to this recipe because it does a good job of extracting tannins found in the plant.
If you avoid alcohol, you can also enjoy the benefits of meadowsweet by simply making a tea from it.
What you’ll need…
- 100 grams dried meadowsweet flowers (roughly 2 cups)
- 400 milliliters vodka (50% ABV is best)
- 100 milliliters vegetable glycerine
- Place the meadowsweet flowers in a jar.
- Add the vodka and glycerine to the jar.
- Shake well. Let this macerate for 4 to 6 weeks and check on it often.
- You may find that as the flowers soak up the alcohol and glycerin, the liquid will no long cover the herb.
- To remedy this, you can take a clean stone or weight and use it to weigh down the flowers below the liquid. If necessary, you can add a bit more alcohol to cover the herb. I opened my jar frequently and pushed down the flowers and that seemed to work just fine.
- Once you are done macerating the herb, it’s time to strain off the mixture. The easiest way to do this is strain it through a cheesecloth, which you then squeeze the dickens out of until you get all the moisture from the flowers. A tincture press works well, too.
- Once it is strained you can bottle and label it. Here’s an image of my label, which you can print for your own use.
- A standard dose is 30 to 60 drops as needed. Depending on age, weight and sensitivity, someone may find that more or less works best for them.
Meadowsweet is safe for most people. However, it should be used with caution for the following people:
- children under 16 who have the flu or chickenpox symptoms (because of the rare but serious Reye’s syndrome)
- people with asthma (may stimulate bronchial spasms)
- people who are allergic to aspirin