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Queen of Meadow



Scientific Names Queen of Meadow

Filipendula ulmaria L.


Rose family


Common Names



Lady of the meadow


Meadow queen


Pride of the meadow



Parts Usually Used

The entire plant

Description of Plant(s) and Culture

Meadowsweet is a perennial plant; a creeping rootstock sends up a reddish, angular stem, 2-3 feet tall, branched near the top and bearing alternate, pinnate leaves, the leaflets entire or irregularly cleft, serrate, and downy white beneath. The terminal leaflet is 3-5 lobed and doubly serrate. Small yellowish-white or reddish flowers grow in panicled cymes from June to August. The sweetness comes from its tiny flowers that crown the top of each stem in dense clusters. Another variety: Dropwort or goatsbeard (F. hexapetala) is a related European and Asian plant with a tuberous root and fernlike leaves. Medicinally it is equivalent to meadowsweet. Also, F. rubra, used much like meadowsweet. Also called meadowsweet: (Spiraea tomentosa); (Eupatorium purpureum) also called Gravel Root and Joe-Pye Weed; and (Spiraea ulmaria).

Medicinal Properties

Astringent, diaphoretic, diuretic, antirheumatic, analgesic, antispasmodic

Biochemical Information

Salicylic aldehyde and spireine both in the form of a glycoside; methyl salicylate, gaultherine and spiraeoside, a flavonoid glycoside, sugar and tannin

Legends, Myths and Stories

Queen Elizabeth I was so fond of this herb that the floors of her apartments were always strewn with it. Filipendula ulmaria (Spiraea ulmaria) probably contains chemical forerunners of aspirin. Salicin, the popular analgesic derived from poplars and willows, probably decomposes in the digestive tract to salicylic acid, a compound first isolated from meadowsweet flower buds in 1839. Some 60 years later, the pharmaceutical company Bayer produced acetylsalicylate, a similar substance, artificially. They called this new “wonder drug” aspirin, Spiraea ulmaria, the old botanical name for this herb. The semisynthetic acetyl-salicylic acid (aspirin) is said to have fewer side effects than the natural compound from which it is derived. Still, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs including aspirin, account for 10,000-20,000 deaths per year. Probably all medicines, natural and synthetic, have side effects. The pleasing drink formula is as follows: Equal quantities of meadowsweet, dandelion and agrimony boiled together for 20 minutes in double the quantity of water. Add 2 lb. of sugar to each gallon of strained liquid together with 1/2 oz. of yeast and the juice of a lemon. Leave the mixture to ferment and bottle later.


Queen of Meadow contains salicylic acid, which makes it useful for colds, flu, fever, problems of the respiratory tract, gout, rheumatism, arthritis, dropsy, problems with water retention, and for bladder and kidney problems. Also is taken for diarrhea and dysentery, enteritis, gastritis, indigestion, heartburn, soothing and healing to the lining of the stomach, upset stomach, high blood pressure, diabetes, and disorders of the blood. Externally, the decoction can serve as a wash for wounds or sore eyes. It makes a pleasing and refreshing drink.


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*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). These products are intended to support general well being and are not intended to treat, diagnose, mitigate, prevent, or cure any condition or disease.