Meadowsweet grows well in the meadows (where it got its name) of Europe and certain parts of Asia. It is a perennial shrub with beautiful flowers and pleasant scent. It is the perfect ornamental plant for your garden as it eliminates unpleasant smells. However, that is not all there is to the plant; it is more than just for decorative purposes.
Every part of the plant, including its roots, leaves, flowers, and twigs, can be useful in treating a number of ailments. Meadowsweet has tonic, astringent, diuretic, analgesic, anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, and anti-oxidant qualities.
Meadowsweet is an uncommon ingredient in preparing food. However, for years, it has been used as an ingredient for making beers and wines. Also, the herb can be prepared as decoctions, tea, juice, powders, or even capsules. It contains a host of medicinal compounds, including flavonoids, essential oils, phenolic, quercetin glycosides, salicylic acid, tannins, and several others.
The Health Benefits of Meadowsweet
Meadowsweet provides a range of health benefits, including eliminating free radicals, inducing sweat, treating cold, improving the skin, aiding digestive health, stopping premature skin aging, and protecting the intestines and stomach. Other benefits include regulating blood pressure, boosting the immune system, combating inflammation, and fighting bacterial infection.
Let’s discuss the many health benefits of meadowsweet.
Recent studies have found that meadowsweet, to a large extent, is strong against bacterial infections. According to these studies, the herb fights off dangerous infections caused by E. coli, Staphylococcus aureus, Staphylococcus epidermidis, Proteus vulgaris, and Pylori bacteria.
Strong Antioxidant Properties
Meadowsweet has a host of antioxidants that help to improve overall health. Antioxidants are effective in reducing the risk of suffering from chronic illnesses like cancer and Alzheimer’s.
The antioxidants found in meadowsweet are able to eliminate free radicals and protect the body from oxidative stress, which is often linked to cell mutations and cellular breakdown.
Improves Skin Appearance
Meadowsweet helps to improve the skin’s appearance by tightening the pores and removes dirt and excess sebum. It contains salicylic acid that helps to eliminate pimple-inducing bacteria and can dry up pimples.
Prevents Premature Skin Aging
Meadowsweet is rich in antioxidants which help to inhibit photo-oxidative damage that may result in the skin’s premature aging and lead to fine line, wrinkles, age spots, etc. Usually, the photo-oxidative damage is caused by an excessive exposure to UV rays, such as being in the sun for too long daily.
For so many years, meadowsweet was used in traditional medicine for treating colds and other related symptoms. While there are currently no clinical trials to determine its potency, the anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties of meadowsweet make it very effective. The roots of the herb are able to treat certain respiratory issues, including sore throats, coughs, shortness of breath and break down mucus.
When taken as a tea, meadowsweet is a soothing diaphoretic. It improves circulation and releases heat from the body by opening the pores. It is commonly recommended for people who feel feverish but find it hard to sweat. Sweat is a natural cooling mechanism that the body uses to control overheating.
Meadowsweet is excellent for relieving pain, especially throbbing pain in a fixed location. It is able to do this is due to its salicylic acid content.
In case you aren’t aware, salicylic acid is also the primary active compound in aspirin. However, meadowsweet is better than aspirin owing to the tannins found in the herb. Tannins are able to protect the stomach and intestines while aspirin contains no tannins and may frequently cause stomach upset as an adverse effect.
It is also effective for treating headaches as it gives a cooling effect and promotes circulation in the body.
Supports Digestive Health
It can act as a digestive aid by relieving acid indigestion, soothing the digestive tract and mucous membranes of the stomach lining.
Some studies have also suggested that meadowsweet can accelerate the healing of chronic ulcers, stop lesions from forming in the stomach, and relieve heartburn, hyperacidity, and gastritis. Additionally, meadowsweet has salicylate content, which helps to treat diarrhea in children. Meadowsweet has a pleasant taste, making it a good remedy for children.
Furthermore, meadowsweet is potentially effective in preventing the growth of H. pylori bacteria. There are many people with H. pylori living inside them, and while it is not unusual, this bacterium is the cause of numerous digestive problems such as gas, ulcers, and even stomach cancer. However, a decoction prepared from boiled meadowsweet roots can be helpful in getting rid of ulcers.
Swelling resulting from an excessive accumulation of fluids in tissues and cells is known as edema. While edema may go on its own, there are instances where diuretics are needed.
As hot tea, meadowsweet is a potent diuretic. Diuretics are effective in managing certain health conditions such as high blood pressure and edema. Consuming tea made from meadowsweet helps the body eliminate excess water and sodium. This, in turn, reduces the amount of fluid that flows through the blood vessels and minimizes the pressure on the vessel walls.
In people with kidneys problems where their kidneys can no longer filter potassium, meadowsweet accelerates water elimination.
Boosts the Immune System
Every part of the herb has substantial amounts of phenolic compounds such as ulmarioside and flavonoid that is unique to meadowsweet. Studies have recently shown how ethyl acetate extracts can be potentially effective in preventing the proliferation of T-cell and free radicals.
Due to its salicylic acid content, meadowsweet is effective in reducing inflammation in joints, gout, arthritis, and alleviating pain.
Precautions and Side Effects
Generally, meadowsweet is considered safe for consumption but there are a few precautions to take note of.
People who suffer from asthma and those who are sensitive to salicylate or sulfite should avoid taking meadowsweet.
Pregnant women and nursing mothers are also advised to avoid the herb as there is some evidence that it can result in utero-activity.
The Bottom Line
Meadowsweet contains a good amount of compounds such as phenolic glycosides, flavonoids, salicylates, tannins, and quercetin glycosides that all improve overall health.
The herb can also provide a range of health benefits owing to its analgesic, astringent, diuretic, anti-bacterial, antioxidant, and anti-inflammatory properties. Most noteworthy is the fact that meadowsweet is a safer alternative to aspirin, and is an excellent option for people who are sensitive to aspirin.