Meadowsweet Seed Pack


Filipendula ulmaria. 

A native perennial with beautiful white flowers that contains precursors of salicylic acid – the anti-inflammatory compound aspirin was originally made from. 

Meadowsweet may be best known best known for its association with aspirin, but from a herbalist’s point of view it is its beneficial effects on digestion for which it is most highly prized. 

It is a relatively common plant in the UK; it thrives in damp places and is often found growing alongside river banks or roadside ditches, lighting up the roadways at the end of summer. Its affinity for dampness makes it a good herb to grow in heavy clay soils, although it does seem to tolerate most soil types. It can grow in full sunshine or partial shade. 

Harvest the blossoms and leaves on a sunny day when they come into flower in mid-summer. 

Sowing and Growing 

Meadowsweet is a herb that benefits from some stratification to break the seed’s dormancy. This can be done in two ways; either you sow seed directly outdoors in the autumn (a good method if you have a lot of seed) or cold-moist stratify for 3-4 weeks before sowing indoors in the spring (probably more reliable if you have less seed). Sow on the surface as the seeds require light to germinate, and keep the soil moist. In our experience, stratified meadowsweet normally germinates within a couple of weeks. 

Pot up as soon as the seedlings have grown its true leaves then plant out when it has grown to around 4-6 inches. Its affinity for dampness makes it a good herb to grow in heavy clay soils, although it does seem to tolerate most soil types. It can grow in full sunshine or partial shade and is happy to compete with most weeds – a good plant for less managed parts of the garden. 

Uses and benefits 

Meadowsweet was one of the three herbs held most sacred to the Druids (vervain and water-mint being the other two). It’s still deeply respected by herbalists as it has such as profoundly beneficial effect on digestion. However, its also known for two things; one for containing precursors to salicylic acid (also found in plants like willow, members of the Salix family) from which Aspirin was synthesised, and the other for giving its name to Aspirin, the most widely used drug ever made. Its previous Latin name was Spirea ulmaria – bringing the ‘’-spri-’ to ’Aspirin’. In the body, these salicylate precursors are metabolised to release small amounts of salicylic acid, which has a well-known anti-inflammatory effect. Aspirin (acetylsalicylic acid) is a synthetic elaboration of this compound. 

This discovery was of course made as meadowsweet has a long-use for relieving aches and pains, whether from a fever or from rheumatism. 

So, back to digestion. Meadowsweet’s natural ability to survive the quagmire of a European Winter are in some ways reflected in its ability to relieve the upset of a digestive quagmire; it’s especially renowned for quenching acidity and heartburn. It has some tannins in that lend an astringency that tightens the mucous membranes, helping digestive wounds and ulcers. 

Do not use meadowsweet if you have a salicylate sensitivity. 

Harvesting and Preparation 

Harvest meadowsweet blossoms and leaves when they come into flower mid-Summer. Avoid any mildewy or damaged leaves and too much stem.

Dry on drying racks in a drier overnight or leave in a well-ventilated and warm place then store in an airtight container.

Make an infusion using 1-2 tsp of the cut herb in a cup of freshly boiled water, covered, and allowed to cool. It combines well with lemon balm, marshmallow and chamomile.

To make a tincture use 1:5@45%. 

Minimum 100 seeds per pack.