Filipendula ulmaria


Meadowsweet has a long history of herbal use and for good reason – it has been proven to contain salicin, a natural form of the key ingredient in aspirin. Early doctors knew nothing about salicin, but did know that meadowsweet was useful in the treatment of headaches, arthritis pain and flu, and that it seemed to lower body temperature during a fever. During the Middle Ages, almond-scented meadowsweet blossoms were scattered on floors to improve the smell of rooms (unlike in modern times, people then did not bathe regularly and often shared their space with animals).

Parts used

Flower heads and leaves.


Salicin, which breaks down in the stomach to form salicylic acid, and flavonoids including rutin, spiraeoside and hyperoside.

Medicinal uses

The leaves and flowering stems of meadowsweet have anti-inflammatory, antiseptic, aromatic, astringent, diuretic and tonic effects, and also promote sweating during fevers. Unlike salicylic acid in aspirin, which can cause gastric ulcers, the constituents of meadowsweet protect the inner lining of the stomach and intestines while acting medicinally. Filipendula ulmaria is an approved German Commission E herbal medicine for cough, bronchitis, fever and cold.
Meadowsweet is prescribed to:

  • Help in the treatment of coughs, colds, flu and bronchitis.
  • Relieve pain caused by headache, tension, neuralgia and neuritis.
  • Soothe pain associated with gout and rheumatism.
  • Reduce fever.
  • Treat hyperacidity, heartburn, gastritis and peptic ulcers.
  • Treat diarrhoea, especially in children.
  • May help reduce high blood pressure.

Flora Force Products containing Meadowsweet

Domestic & culinary uses

Although not used in South African cuisine, research shows that young meadowsweet leaves are used as a flavouring in soups and as a tea, and the flowers add flavour to alcoholic beverages and stewed fruits.


Meadowsweet originates from Europe, including Britain, Asia and Mongolia. However, it now grows in temperate regions around the world, where it requires rich, moist soil and warm days.

Photo credits

  1. By J.F. Gaffard Jeffdelonge at fr.wikipedia (photo by Jeffdelonge) [GFDL or CC-BY-SA-3.0], via Wikimedia Commons
Information in our herb library is intended only as a general reference for further exploration. It is not a replacement for professional health advice and does not provide complete dosage information, format recommendations, toxicity levels, or possible interactions with prescription medicines. Accordingly, this information should only be used under the direct supervision of a suitably qualified health practitioner such as a registered homeopath, naturopath or phytotherapist.