Meadow sweet (Filipendula ulmaria)

Traditional Indications 

Meadow sweet is an alterative, anti-inflammatory, antiseptic, aromatic, astringent, diaphoretic, diuretic, stomachic and tonic. Meadowsweet has a very long history of herbal use; it was one of the three most sacred herbs of the Druids. The flower head contains salicylic acid, from which the drug aspirin can be synthesised. Unlike the extracted aspirin, which can cause gastric ulceration at high doses, the combination of constituents in meadowsweet act to protect the inner lining of the stomach and intestines whilst still providing the anti-inflammatory benefits of aspirin. The herb is a valuable medicine in the treatment of diarrhoea. It is considered specific in the treatment of children's diarrhoea. It is also considered to be a useful stomachic, being used to treat hyperacidity, heartburn, gastritis and peptic ulcers, for which it is one of the most effective plant remedies. (1)


In vitro and in vivo studies have confirmed Meadow sweets anti-inflammatory activity of meadowsweet extracts, providing support of the traditional use of this plant in the treatment of different inflammatory conditions. The active constituents rutoside, spiraeoside, and isoquercitrin were able to inhibit COX-1 and -2 enzyme activities. (2)

Another study supports documented traditional use of investigated herbs and indicates that flavonoid and tannin components are partially responsible for antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and gastroprotective effects. Isolated flavonoids included spiraeoside, kaempferol 4'-O-glucoside, astragalin 2'-O-gallate, mixture of hyperoside 2'-O-gallate and isoquercitrin 2'-O-gallate, and a tannin tellimagrandin II. (3)

A study showed meadowsweet displayed antihyperalgesic and antiedematous activities thus can be used to treat hyperalgesia (abnormally increased sensitivity to pain, which may be caused by damage to nociceptors or peripheral). The results of the present study support the use of F. ulmaria and F. vulgaris flowers in folk medicine for relieving pain in diseases with an inflammatory component. (4)

1. PFAF. Filipendula ulmaria.
2. Katanić J, Boroja T, Mihailović V, Nikles S, Pan S-P, Rosić G, et al. In vitro and in vivo assessment of meadowsweet (Filipendula ulmaria) as anti-inflammatory agent. Journal of ethnopharmacology. 2016;193:627-36.
3. Samardžić S, Arsenijević J, Božić D, Milenković M, Tešević V, Maksimović Z. Antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and gastroprotective activity of Filipendula ulmaria (L.) Maxim. and Filipendula vulgaris Moench. Journal of ethnopharmacology. 2018;213:132-7.
4. Samardžić S, Tomić M, Pecikoza U, Stepanović-Petrović R, Maksimović Z. Antihyperalgesic activity of Filipendula ulmaria (L.) Maxim. and Filipendula vulgaris Moench in a rat model of inflammation. Journal of ethnopharmacology. 2016;193:652-6.



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