It never ceases to amaze me when I think of the myriad uses of so many naturally wild growing herbs and plants. Not only do they provide food for man and beast, but their healing powers are truly astonishing.
Meadowsweet (Latin: Filipendula Ulmaria) is a lovely wildflower with clusters of cream white flowers, is one such plant. The delicious scent of almonds wafts through any room where a bunch of Meadowsweet is placed.
In fact, back in times when people and animals lived in the same spaces, it's pleasing aroma was used to cleanse the air of "foul humours." I imagine they must have been quite foul, considering that people rarely bathed as well!
But Meadowsweet is much more than a room deodorizer. It has many medicinal and healing effects.
A thousand years ago, it was one of the sacred healing plants of the Druids. In 1897, chemist Felix Hoffman was looking for a cure for his father's rheumatism and stumbled upon the powers of Meadowsweet, which was then called "Spirea." The flowers and buds of Meadowsweet are rich in salicin, the main ingredient in aspirin.
In fact, the word aspirin was created from "A" for acetylic acid and "Spir" from Spirea. When consumed, they mix with stomach acids to produce salicylic acid, much as aspirin does. It reduces fever, eases aches and pains of arthritis and stops a headache. It's also a favorite for herbalists who use it for gastritis, heartburn and even peptic ulcers! It's properties as a natural blood thinner and anti-clotting remedy are known in Russia where it's been investigated by top scientists.
When Meadowsweet grows in America, it attains whopping size, sometimes over seven feet high. Known as "Queen of the Prairie", the regal plant comes in shades of rose pink, changing to a paler pink as the flowers mature.
Got the flu? Try a cup of delicious Meadowsweet tea to ease fever and the aches. Take two heaping teaspoons of dried Meadowsweet and steep in pure boiling water for 10 minutes.
A word of caution...if you are currently taking any blood thinning drugs, DON'T take Meadowsweet. It might intensify the medications effects and cause the blood to become too thin, causing capillary bleeding and bruising. In fact, never take any herb if you're on medication unless you consult your healthcare professional first If you would like to grow your own Meadowsweet, there are numerous sites online where the plants, roots and seeds are sold.
With all the lovely heritage homes here in Bayport and Sayville, the restoration of Victorian Gardens is a project I hope to pursue this Spring and Summer and I intend to plant Meadowsweet!
Dr. Kleine regrets she cannot give advice by phone or e-mail. For an appointment, call 631.472.8139 or e-mail us at Drfootsi@myway.com