MEADOWSWEET


By Biomedical Engineer Mark Lubin

13 Patents issued or pending with USPTO



It is believed that the tannin and mucilage content in meadowsweet moderates the adverse gastrointestinal side effects of isolated salicylates.  For this reason, it is often used for heartburn, hyperacidity, acid reflux, gastritis, and ulcers. Meadowsweet has also been used to promote the excretion of uric acid.  The tannins within meadowsweet have been documented to have beneficial effects upon digestion as well.  Thus, meadowsweet is often recommended for digestive disorders such as indigestion, diarrhea and colitis.  Meadowsweet is also often recommended for the removal of excess uric acid because of its diuretic and detoxifying effects, and accordingly been used for kidney stones.  Herbalist David Hoffman documents its ability to reduce excess acidity in the stomach and ease nausea.  Meadowsweet has been described as astringent, aromatic, antacidic, cholagogue, demulcent, stomachic, and analgesic.  


The German Commission E monograph suggests the flower and herb for pain relief in the form of tea or decoction, and the American Herbal Products Association gives the herb a Class 1 rating (the same as the FDA's GRAS rating).


Blumenthal M, et al.  Expanded Commission E Monographs.  Integrative Medicine Communicatons, 2000.


Culpeper, N.  The English Physitian. 1653.


Duke, JA.  CRC Handbook of Medicinal Herbs. CRC Press: Boca Raton, FL, 1985


Duke, JA.  CRC Handbook (and Database) of Biological Activities of Phytochemicals, CRC Press: Boca Raton, FL, 1992.

 Database http://www.ars-grin.gov/duke


Ellingwood F.  American Materia Medica, Therapeutics, and Pharmacognosy. Portland: Eclectic Med. Publ., 1983


Foster S, Hobbs C.  Medicinal Plants & Herbs. Boston, Houghton Mifflin, 2002.


Griffith HW.  Healing Herbs: The Essential Guide.  Tuscon: Fisher Books,2000.


Gundermann KJ, et al.  Phytodolor—effects and efficacy of a herbal medicine. Wien Med Wochenschr. 2007;157(13-14):343-7.


Hoffmann D.  Holistic Herbal. London: Thorsons (1990), 1983-2002.


Mabey R,  Mcintyre, M.  The New Age Herbalist.  Prentice Hall, 1988.


Miceli N, et al.  Comparative Analysis of Flavonoid Profile, Antioxidant and Antimicrobial Activity of the Berries of Juniperus communis L. var. communis and Juniperus communis L. var. saxatilis Pall. J Agric Food Chem. 2009 Jul 6.


Schaunberg P, Paris F.  Guide to Medicinal Plants.  New Canaan, CT: Keats Publ., 1977.


Weiss RF.  Herbal Medicine. Gothenburg, Sweden: Beaconsfield, 1988


Wichtl M, Bisset NG, eds.  Herbal Drugs and Pharmaceuticals.  1994 Stuttgart: Medpharm Scientific Publishers.


Wood M.  The Book of Herbal Wisdom. Berkeley, CA: North Atlantic, 1997.



Meadowsweet – Research


Meadowsweet flower extracts exhibited several hepato-protective effects:  The extract was found to be effective against toxic hepatitis, to provide a normalization of liver enzymes, liver antioxidant effects, and lipid peroxidation within the liver (Shilova et al. 2008).  It was also observed to exhibit significant antioxidant activity, with high levels of safety (Shilova 2006; Ryzhikov and Ryzhikova 2006).


Meadowsweet extract decreased inflammation, which included suppressing proinflammatory cytokines, decreasing IL-2 synthesis, and eliminating hypersensitivity in mice (Churin et al. 2008).


Meadowsweet inhibited MMP-1 fibroblast T-cells, which promotes elastin production (Lee et al. 2007).


It has been shown to be antimicrobial (Radulovic et al. 2007) and It was observed being cytotoxic to cancer cells in research sponsored by the Russian Academy of Sciences (Spiridonov et al. 2005).  


Meadowsweet’s anticoagulant and fibrinolytic properties were considered similar to heparin in two other studies (Kudriashov et al. 1990, 1991).

Meadowsweet extract's phenolic phytochemicals were found to have significant antioxidant and free radical scavenging potential (Sroka et al. 2005; Calliste et al. 2001).  The plant's antioxidant capacity was one of the highest levels in one test of 92 different plant extracts (Heinonen 1999).  


Meadowsweet showed significant inhibition of several bacteria (Rauha et al. 2000).  Meadowsweet extract also exhibited the ability to reduce blood clotting.  In vivo and in vitro research showed that meadowsweet has anticoagulant and fibrinolytic properties (Liapina and Koval'chuk 1993).  


Contrasting with NSAIDs, meadowsweet was also found to be curative and preventative for acetylsalicylic acid-induced ulcers in rats even though it produces some of the same beneficial physiologic effects as ASA (Barnaulov and Denisenko 1980).


Furthermore, meadowsweet has been found to inhibit the growth of H. pylori, the microorganism thought to cause or contribute to the majority of ulcer disorders (Cwikla et al. 2009).  As far as side effects go, in a clinical study of 48 human patients with cervical dysplasia treated with a meadowsweet ointment, 67% (32 cases) had a reduction in the tumors and 52% (25 cases) had complete regression of the tumor.  Ten patients were completely cured within a year (Peresun’ko et al. 1993).


Meadowsweet is available as tincture and dried bulk and is commonly used for muscle aches, headaches, colds and flu, digestive upsets, menstrual cramps, arthritis and congestive heart failure (Skidmore 2001, Lininger 1999, Gruenwald 1998, Duke 2000).  The herb contains salicylates and phenolic glycosides, which are thought to contribute to its medicinal properties (Skidmore 2001, Gruenwald 1998, Duke 2000, Tyler 1996).  Because of the presence of salicylates, concentrated meadowsweet extracts can demonstrate antiplatelet activity.  However, no interaction has been reported between meadowsweet and NSAIDs, and concerns about prescribing NSAIDs to patients taking this herb remain theoretical.


It has been reported that acetaminophen is associated with nephrotoxicity, when used in combination with aspirin (Desjardins 1998).  Although no data of direct relevance is available, it is reasonable to assume that the combined use of acetaminophen and herbs containing salicylate can also result in nephrotoxicity, particularly over long-term and at high doses.  Appropriate precautions need to be taken by patients and health practitioners in order to avoid or minimize such possible interactions.  Salicylate-containing herbs with the potential for causing interactions with acetaminophen include meadowsweet and willow (Lininger 1999, Duke 2000, Tyler 1996).  It should also be noted that the concomitant use of acetaminophen and salicylates can induce additive inhibitory effect on platelet function.



Barnaulov OD, et al.  Anti-ulcer action of a decoction of the flowers of the dropwort, Filipendula ulmaria.

 Farmakol Toksikol. 1980 Nov-Dec;43(6):700-5.


Calliste CA, et al.  Free radical scavenging activities measured by electron spin resonance spectroscopy and B16 cell antiproliferative behaviors of seven plants. J Agric Food Chem. 2001 Jul;49(7):3321-7.


Churin AA, et al.  Effect of Filipendula ulmaria extract on immune system of CBA/CaLac and C57Bl/6 mice.

 Eksp Klin Farmakol. 2008 Sep-Oct;71(5):32-6.


Cwikla C, et al.  Investigations into the antibacterial activities of phytotherapeutics against Helicobacter pylori and Campylobacter jejuni. Phytother Res. 2009.


Desjardins PJ, et al.  Peripherally acting analgesics and antipyretics, in:

 Pharmacology and Therapeutics for Dentistry, 4th ed. St Louis: Mosby Inc., 1998.


Duke JA.  The Green Pharmacy Herbal Handbook.  Emmaus, PA: Rodale Press, 2000.


Heinonen M, et al.  Antioxidant activity of plant extracts containing phenolic compounds. J Agric Food Chem. 1999 Oct;47(10):3954-62.


Kudriashov BA, et al.  The content of a heparin-like anticoagulant in the flowers of meadowsweet (Filipendula ulmaria).

 Farmakol Toksikol 1990 Jul-Aug;53(4):39-41.


Kudriashov BA, et al.  Heparin from meadowsweet (Filipendula ulmaria) and its properties.

 Izv Akad Nauk SSSR Biol. 1991 Nov-Dec;(6):939-43.


Lee HS, et al.  Candida albicans induces cyclo-oxygenase 2 expression and prostaglandin E2 production in synovial fibroblasts through an extracellular-regulated kinase ½ dependent pathway.  Arthritis Res Ther.2009;11(2):R48.


Liapina LA, et al.  A comparative study of the action on the hemostatic system of extracts from the flowers and seeds of meadowsweet.  Izv Akad Nauk Ser Biol. 1993 Jul-Aug;(4):625-8.


Peresun'ko AP, et al.  Clinico-experimental study of using plant preparations from the flowers of Filipendula ulmaria for the treatment of precancerous changes and prevention of uterine cervical cancer.  Vopr Onkol  1993;39(7-12):291-5.


Radulovic N, et al.  Antimicrobial synergism and antagonism of salicylaldehyde in Filipendula vulgaris essential oil.

 Fitoterapia  2007 Dec;78(7-8):565-70.


Rauha JP, et al.  Antimicrobial effects of Finnish plant extracts containing flavonoids and other phenolic compounds.

 Int J Food Microbiol  2000 May 25;56(1):3-12.


Ryzhikov MA, et al.  Application of chemiluminescent methods for analysis of the antioxidant activity of herbal extracts.

 Vopr Pitan  2006;75(2):22-6.


Shilova IV, et al.  Hepatoprotective and antioxidant activity of meadowsweet extract during experimental toxic hepatitis.

 Bull Exp Biol Med  2006 Aug;142(2):216-8.


Shilova IV, et al.  Hepatoprotective properties of fractions from meadowsweet extract during experimental toxic hepatitis.

 Bull Exp Biol Med  2008 Jul;146(1):49-51.


Skidmore-Rose L.  Mosby’s handbook of herbs and natural supplements.  St Louis, MO: Mosby Inc., 2001.


Spiridonov NA, et al.  Cytotoxicity of some Russian ethnomedicinal plants and plant compounds.

 Phytother Res  2005 May;19(5):428-32.


Sroka Z, et al.  Phenolic extracts from meadowsweet and hawthorn flowers have antioxidative properties.

 Z Naturforsch C  2001 Sep-Oct;56(9-10):739-44.


Tyler VE.  The Honest Herbal: A Sensible Guide to the Use of Herb and Related Remedies, 3rd ed.  

 New York: Pharmaceutical Products Press, 1996.

 

Meadowsweet – Safety & Toxicity


While there are no documented reports of interactions with other drugs, the salicylates content of meadowsweet leads to a cautious use in the presence of salicylates sensitivity (Abebe 2002).


This same caution applies in patients taking blood-thinner such as warfarin or NSAIDs such as ibuprofen and naproxen due to meadowsweet's anti-clotting properties (Kudriashov 1990, 1991).  Meadowsweet’s anticoagulant and fibrinolytic properties were considered similar to heparin in two other studies (Kudriashov et al. 1990, 1991).  It is these similarities that produce the cautionary warnings about using this herb or its extracts with certain types of pharmaceuticals such as warfarin.


Spasmolytic activity in certain situations precludes patients with asthma from using meadowsweet. (Barnaulov et al 1978).


Extracts of meadowsweet have not demonstrated any allergic reactions (Gruenwald 2000) or overt toxicity, use during pregnancy or nursing should be avoided.


Herbal liquid extracts are expressed as [1:1 (g/ml)], meaning that each ml is 50% pure extract, or 500mg.  Typical recommended therapeutic dosage of meadowsweet liquid extract is 3ml (Blumenthal et al, 2000, Barnes et al, 2002), 5 t.i.d. or 15,000mg, equivalent to 7,500mg pure meadowsweet extract.     


Each 2-capsule dose of Arthri Comfort contains less than 0.7mg pure meadowsweet extract, less than approximately 0.01% of the standard dose.


Abebe W. Herbal medication: potential for adverse interactions with analgesic drugs. J Clin Pharm Ther. 2002 Dec;27(6):391-401.


Barnaulov OD, et al.  Preliminary evaluations of the spasmolytic properties of some natural compounds and galenic preparations.   Rastit Rasur 1978; 14:573-579.


Barnes J, et al.  Herbal Medicines, 2nd ed.  Pharmaceutical Press:London, 2002


Blumenthal M, et al.  Expanded Commission E Monographs.  Integrative Medicine Communicatons, 2000.


Duke, JA.  CRC Handbook (and Database) of Biological Activities of Phytochemicals, CRC Press: Boca Raton, FL, 1992.

 Database http://www.ars-grin.gov/duke


Gruenwald J, et al., eds.  PDR for Herbal Medicines, 2nd ed,  Montvale: Medical Economics Co., 2000.


Kudriashov BA, et al.  Heparin from meadowsweet and its properties.  Izv Akad Nauk SSSR Biol. 1991 Nov-Dec;(6):939-43.


Kudriashov BA, et al.  The content of a heparin-like anticoagulant in the flowers of meadowsweet.

 Farmakol Toksikol. 1990 Jul-Aug;53(4):39-41.


Lininger SW, et al.  A-Z Guide to Drug-Herb–Vitamin Interactions.  Rockline, CA: Prima Publishing, 1999.


Lininger SW, et al.  The Natural Pharmacy. New York: Three Rivers, 1999.