Do you get fevers when you are sick? Do you suffer from headaches or joint pain? Instead of taking aspirin, try the herbal supplement Meadowsweet. It is the natural version of aspirin without the digestive upsets and bleeding that may accompany the synthetic product. It also helps to soothe digestive upsets, as well as the pains and aches of inflammatory ailments.
What is meadowsweet?
Meadowsweet is a stout perennial wildflower that thrives in the rich, wet soils of marshes, bogs, ditches, damp meadows and moist woods in sun or partial shade. The plant, with its fernlike foliage, pinnate leaves and fragrant, cream-white flower clusters, dislikes acid soil and grows up to six feet tall with a creeping, underground root.
Meadowsweet was introduced to North America from Europe. Currently, it grows wild throughout eastern Canada and the United States. Meadowsweet's name is derived from its older name, Meadowsweet, which, like meadwort (its oldest English name from Anglo-Saxon times), refers to the plant's use as a flavoring for mead, a honeyed liquor.
What are its medical uses?
Probably the most famous use of Meadowsweet is for its aspirin-like qualities without the unpleasant side effects of synthetic acid. The salicylic acid content provides natural relief for colds, flu, fevers and headaches. It is a great overall pain reliever.
Meadowsweet's anti-inflammatory qualities help to soothe and reduce inflammation and are beneficial for the relief of rheumatic pains and the pain of arthritis, aching joints and muscle cramps. Some herbalists regard Meadowsweet as the best plant remedy for hyperacidity and heartburn. Meadowsweet is an antacid herb that heals and soothes the digestive tract and strengthens and tones the system. It also helps to control peptic ulcers and gastritis. Unlike synthetic aspirin, Meadowsweet offsets the acidic effects of salicylic acid. Long use of aspirin can lead to gastric ulceration and bleeding, but Meadowsweet does not produce these side effects and is actually a gentle digestive remedy for acidity.
Meadowsweet promotes sweating, and as such, helps to reduce fevers and clear the body of toxins through the skin. As an antiseptic, Meadowsweet is effective against organisms that cause diphtheria, dysentery and pneumonia. Meadowsweet is an astringent that tightens and tones tissues. The tannins in the herb have been helpful in relieving diarrhea.
As a mild diuretic, Meadowsweet promotes the flow of urine and is beneficial for the elimination of excess fluid in the system. It is helpful in cases of certain urinary infections and cystitis. Used externally, Meadowsweet has been used as a compress for rheumatic pains, neuralgia and sore, aching joints and muscles. It has also been used as cooling eyewash that relieves conjunctivitis and other eye complaints.
Precautions: Those who are allergic to aspirin should not use Meadowsweet. It is not recommended for pregnant or nursing women without first consulting a physician and children under the age of sixteen years of age with symptoms of flu, chicken pox or other types of viral infection should not use Meadowsweet, because, like aspirin, there may be a risk of developing Reye's syndrome.