Meadowsweet (Xiu Xian Ju)
Botanical Name: Filipendula ulmaria, Spiraea ulmaria
Meadowsweet is a common and beloved wild flower. It is popular as a cure for diarrhea, especially in children, general aches, fever, stomach disorders and headaches. Bayer Pharmaceuticals used the dried leaves of the plant as its original source for salicylic acid used to treat pain and headaches. Meadowsweet is gentle on the stomach.
Below is an overview of Meadowsweet (Xiu Xian Ju), combining and interpreting the best of Western Science, Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), Shamanism, Folklore and more. Gain a balanced and thorough understanding of the healing properties of Meadowsweet (Xiu Xian Ju).
Western Name: Meadowsweet
Also Known As: Mead Wort, Queen of the Meadow, Pride of the Meadow, Lady of the Meadow, Dollof, Bridewort
Organs/Systems: Stomach, Bladder, Muscles and Joints
Key Western Actions & Medicinal Uses: Aromatic, Astringent, Diuretic, Sub-tonic, Alterative, Febrifuge, Depurative, Decongestant. Rheumatism, gout, infections, fever, headaches, diarrhea, colds, heartburn, peptic ulcer, congestion, flu, gastritis.
Pin Yin: Xiu Xian Ju
Also Known As: N/A
Meridians: Stomach, Bladder
Key TCM Actions & Medicinal Uses: Clears Heat/Resolves Damp/Reduces Inflammation: swollen gums, ulcers, bloating, bladder infections with painful urination, gastritis, muscle pain, headache, arthritis, fever. Regulates Water Metabolism/Promotes Urination: Bladder infections, edema, high blood pressure.
Parts Most Frequently Used: Leaves and Aerial Parts of the Plant, Flowers
Flavors/Temps: Aromatic, Sweet, Bitter, Cool
Caution: Considered safe.
History/Folklore: The history of meadowsweet includes the archeological discovery of the plant found with the cremated remains of three people from the Bronze Age. The plant has long been used to make mead, beer and ales. It is one of the 50 herbs used to make the 14th century English drink called “Save,” which is mentioned in Chaucer’s story, The Knight’s Tale.
Meadowsweet’s common name, “Bridewort,” derives from the custom of strewing the blossoms on the floors of churches for festivals and weddings and in bridal garlands. The name, “ulmaria” means “elmlike” and is derived from the leaves resembling those of elm trees. Like slippery elm the plant contains salicylic acid, which has long been used as a pain killer. The whole plant has a pleasant taste and is used as a strewing herb, tossed on floors to give rooms a pleasant scent and used to flavor wine, beer, jams and many vinegars. Scandinavians use meadowsweet as a spice in certain varieties of mead.
The Druids considered meadowsweet, water-mint and vervain as three of their most sacred herbs. Among other things, they used the flower as a tribute on burial sites. It was a plant often used as an offering during ceremonies or at sacred sites.
The whole plant is a traditional remedy for an acidic stomach. The fresh root is used in homeopathy and the dried flowers are used in potpourri. The fresh leaves can be used to flavor sorbets and fruit salads and a leaf dropped into a glass of red wine or tea to soothe the stomach and ease headache pain.
The plant contains chemicals used to make aspirin. Chewing the fresh peeled root will help sooth headaches. It is very good for treating weak or injured connective tissue, messy wounds, skin, and phlegmy inflammations. Meadowsweet increases the flow of urine while killing germs, making it a good herb for people suffering from urinary tract infections (UTIs). Soaked in rainwater the astringing and conditioning qualities of the plant make it a good skin conditioner. Meadowsweet is a symbol for grace and refinement. Used in spells and potions to attract love and create happiness. Burning the dried herb in your home will cleanse the air of negative energies and lift the spirit.
Salicylic acid, Flavone glycosides, Polyphenolic tannins, Essential oils, Quercetin, Spiraein, Monotropitin, Mucilage, Ascorbic acid.
Leaves vs. Flowers
Meadowsweet is unusual in that the scent of the leaves and flowers are quite different. The leaves are almond scented and the flowers are sweet and wintergreen scented.
Queen Elizabeth I
Meadowsweet was Queen Elizabeth I’s favorite herb for strewing on floors to scent her rooms.
Eye Bath and Body Bath
Meadowsweet is a good herb for soothing sore eyes, joint pain and muscles.
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