Queen of the meadows: possible benefits and contraindications

The queen of the meadows is a plant valued for its content in pharmacological compounds. What is it for? In this space we detail it.

Last update: 24 March, 2022

Meadowsweet is a herbaceous shrub that comes from the Rosaceae family. Its scientific name is filipendula meadowsweet and It is characterized by its tall bouquets of white wild flowers that draw attention for their beauty. It is native to humid areas of Europe, but also grows in Asia and North America.

Although some cultivate it for ornamental purposes, the plant concentrates active compounds such as salicylates and tannins, which give it medicinal uses. In fact, as a study shared in Medical Plant, anti-inflammatory, antirheumatic and diuretic properties are attributed to it. Find out more about its uses.

What is the queen of the meadows?

the queen of the meadows (Filipendula ulmaria) It owes its name to its showy bouquets of flowers that stand out over other herbs. It also receives other names, such as “ulmaria”, “altareina” or “mead herb”. The latter is due to the fact that its pollen is used in the manufacture of a fermented alcoholic beverage based on honey and water.

In particular, it is a perennial species that usually grows in forests, swampy areas, meadows and wetlands Central and Northern Europe, as well as in Asia and North America. According to history, it was the plant revered by the Druids, used to cast “love spells”.

It was also considered a “magic flower”, so it was used at weddings. Some believers claimed that their presence contributed to peace, love and harmony. In any case, its use spread for its medicinal contributions.

Specifically, and as compiled by a publication in Southern Cross University, has substances with pharmacological action, such as spiraein, methyl salicylate, salicylic acid, salicin and salicylaldehyde. It is also a source of tannins and volatile oils that, together, give it the following qualities:

  • Anti-inflammatory and analgesic.
  • Astringent.
  • Antacid and antiulcerogenic.
  • Mild urinary antiseptic.
  • Digestive.


Meadowsweet and aspirin

One of the components of meadowsweet, salicylic acid, was first isolated in 1838. After this, in 1890 it was first used to make aspirin.

In fact, the name of this medicine comes from the term spiraea, used in ancient times to refer to the plant, since its flowers grow in a way similar to a spiral.

Aspirin acetylsalicylic acid was discovered in meadowsweet and is named after the shape of the plant.

Meadowsweet Compounds

The main plant compounds in meadowsweet are tannins and salicylates. These explain much of its medicinal properties.

According to the magazine moleculesthe nutritional profile of this plant includes the following:

  • Tannins (elagitannins known as rugosines).
  • Flavonoids (kaempferol and quercetin).
  • Organic acids (such as citric, malic and salicylic acids).
  • Amino acids.
  • Minerals (such as magnesium, calcium, zinc, selenium).

Potential Meadowsweet Benefits

Due to its pharmacological composition, the queen of the meadows has been used in traditional medicine as a natural remedy against various ailments. However, to date the evidence on its efficacy is limited. Therefore should be used with caution just as a supplement.

natural anti-inflammatory

One of the main applications of the queen of the meadows has to do with the control of inflammatory processes. As explained by a study published in Phytotherapy Research, this is largely due to its polyphenol content. After being assimilated, they seem to decrease inflammatory blood markers.

On the other hand, through Journal of Ethnopharmacologyan animal study revealed that the flowers of F. meadowsweet They have potential as a natural medicine for diseases with an inflammatory component. Its compounds could be useful in reducing pain responses.

In turn, this explains its use in conditions such as arthritis, rheumatism, and gout. For now, more evidence is required to accurately assess the role of this plant in these diseases.

skin diseases

There are those who use this plant as a topical treatment to reduce skin inflammation or acne. However, to date there is no research to support these ideas. However, its defenders suggest that the content of salicylic acid and tannins is beneficial against these dermatological conditions.

On this, a study shared in Clinical, Cosmetic and Investigational Dermatology notes that salicylic acid promotes peeling and exfoliation. In this way, it can reduce acne, sun damage and blemishes.

Meanwhile, tannins have astringent effects that help cleanse pores clogged by excess oil. Because of this, Some anti-acne products are formulated with extracts derived from meadowsweet. However, more studies are necessary.

Digestive system

Since ancient times, the filipendula meadowsweet It has been used as a supplement to combat digestive disorders. In particular, it appears to inhibit the growth of bacteria such as E. coli and E.faecalis, associated with problems such as food poisoning.

In addition to the above, it is said to have antacid qualities that They reduce indigestion and the risk of ulcers. Linked to this, it should be noted that meadowsweet is considered a natural antiulcer.

The reason? The tannins from it contribute to form a protective layer in the stomach that inhibits the action of acids. An investigation in Journal of Ethnopharmacology confirms these gastroprotective properties.

Soothing

One of the traditional uses of meadowsweet is as a natural tranquilizer for nervous states. The consumption of your infusion can reduce the feeling of knot in the stomach and the feeling of anguish.

Diuretic

There are few references about the diuretic properties of this plant. Despite this, in traditional medicine it is used as ally to increase diuresis and reduce fluid retention.

Other possible uses of the queen of the meadows

Due to its methyl salicylate content, meadow grass is believed to have carminative qualities that help reduce gas and bloating. These properties can be enhanced with a mixture of the plant with anise or cumin grains.

Its astringent effects are also used as a natural remedy against diarrhea. Both its tannins and its essential minerals help restore the normal functions of the digestive system in this condition.

Similarly, it is believed to help the following:

  • Relief of headaches and migraines.
  • circulatory problems
  • Fatigue reduction.
  • Menstrual pain relief.
  • Treatment of bruises and muscle pain (topical route).
  • Relief of carpal tunnel syndrome (topical route).
  • Decrease in fever.
  • Urinary infections.


Side effects and contraindications of meadowsweet

Due to limited evidence on meadowsweet, its level of safety and effectiveness are unknown. For now, it is believed that a moderate and punctual consumption of tea and other supplements it is safe for most healthy adults.

In any case, before consuming any presentation of the plant, it is advisable to consult a doctor. Possible drug interactions or complications from pre-existing disease should not be ruled out. Therefore, professional assessment is essential.

What is clear is that its simultaneous use with aspirin should be avoided, since it contains salicylic acid, which is the active compound of said drug. In excess it can lead to nausea, vomiting, stomach pain, rapid breathing, among other symptoms.

The plant is contraindicated in the following cases:

  • Children.
  • Pregnancy and lactation.
  • Patients with hemorrhagic diseases.
  • People with a history of allergy to aspirin.
  • Patients with pre-diagnosed chronic diseases.
  • People who have surgery scheduled in the next few days.
There is speculation about the use of the plant in osteoarthritis and other rheumatic pathologies, considering its salicylic acid content.

Dosage and presentations

Right now, Meadowsweet is available as loose tea or tea bags. In general, the consumption of 4 grams of the dried plant per cup of water (250 ml) is recommended. It can also be prepared as a compress for topical use.

tea preparation

Pour a tablespoon of dried meadowsweet flowers and leaves (4 grams) into a cup of hot water. Cover the drink and let it sit for 5 to 8 minutes. Strain and consume. You can also use a tea bag.

Note: avoid bringing the plant to a boil, as it can lose its salicylic acid.

Preparation of the poultice

Add about 30 grams of plant flowers in a liter of hot water. Cover the infusion and let it steep until lukewarm. Then, dip the compresses in the liquid and apply them to the painful area for 8 to 10 minutes.

What is there to remember about the meadowsweet?

Like other plants used in traditional medicine, meadowsweet lacks sufficient scientific research. Due to this, and although certain benefits are attributed to it, it should be used with caution.

For no reason can it replace the medications or treatments prescribed by the doctor. In fact, before using it as a supplement, it is better to consult with the professional.

For now, it is believed to have potential as an antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, and pain reliever. However, more studies are required.

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