Moisture Loving Meadowsweet (Filipendula Ulmaria)

 

Foraging recently I saw a small patch of meadowsweet.  My beauties are growing on a riverbank and can be seen from June to September.

If you new to foraging take a look at my “Foraging Tips for Beginners” post;

https://theforagingherbalist.com/foraging-tips-for-beginners/

Its not surprising that meadowsweet grows here because they tend to grow in damp and wet areas. Therefore they also grow in ditches, fens, marshes, damp meadows and woods.

Meadowsweet is a herbaceous perennial which means that its a plant whose growth dies down annually.  Despite this its roots or other underground parts survive.

Its a member of the rosaceae (rose) family and grows straight and vertically. Meadowsweet also likes to grow in sun and partial shade and in clay or loam soils.

If your thinking of growing your own meadowsweet take a look at this article by the Telegraph;

https://www.telegraph.co.uk/gardening/howtogrow/3342950/How-to-grow-meadowsweet.html

Other names for Meadowsweet

There are many other names for meadowsweet which include;

  • Bridewort because it was often scattered in churches for weddings.
  • Meadowwort because its grows in meadows and wort because this is the Old English name for “wyrt” and often relates to a medicinal herb.
  • Meadwort which comes from the Anglo-Saxon medu-swete and means “mead sweetner”. This is because of its use in flavouring mead during medieval times.
  • Queen of the meadow, meadows Queen or lady of the meadow because it often has a commanding presence in damp meadows.

Identifying Meadowsweet

As well as in ditches, on meadows and riverbanks meadowsweet also grows in other wet and damp areas. For example woods, marshes and fens.

Growing up to 1.2 metres high it has large heads of frothy or fluffy looking creamy-white flowers. The flower heads top tall stems and  are umbrella shape in appearance. They also emit a sweet fragrance which some say smells like almonds.

Meadowsweet leaves are dark green, deep-veined and have a greyish-white underside. They are tooth edged and divided into two to five pairs of leaflets. What catches my eye the most is the tiny pairs of additional leaflets as shown above.

Eating and Drinking Meadowsweet

Uses for the leaves include;

  • Cut while young and after chopping add to soups.

Uses for the flowers include;

  • Add flowers to jam because they add a subtle almond flavour.
  • As well as adding to mead the flower’s uses include adding to beer, vinegar and wine. 
  • Add to cold drinks in summer because this sweetens them.

Tea can also be made from the flowering tops which include the flowers, buds, leaves and stems of the herb.

Meadowsweet Tea

Drying the Flowering Tops to Make Meadowsweet Tea

When I arrive home from foraging I take the bag I use to collect the meadowsweet outside. I then open the bag to allow any remaining bugs to escape.

Next I briefly rinse my flowering tops in a colander and leave them on the draining board until the water evaporates. Then I lay them onto kitchen roll and leave them to dry for a week or two. To do this I put them out of the way and cover them with further kitchen roll. This avoids them getting dusty while they dry.

When the flowering tops are dry  I cut them into smaller pieces and store them in brown paper bags. Finally I label the bags with herb name, expiry date, uses of the tea, and details on how to prepare. I always put an expiry date of one year from storing on my dry herbs.

Making the Tea

I make meadowsweet tea from the dry flowering tops as follows;

  1. Bring a cup of bottled water to the boil. I prefer bottled water because I do not like to consume the chemicals in tap water.
  2. Add 1-2 teaspoons of the dry flowering tops.
  3. Place a plate on top of the cup and infuse for 15 minutes.
  4. Drink and before meals may be best if suffering from acid indigestion or stomach problems.

Uses for the tea which may help to support the body include;

  • Easing indigestion, heartburn and other upper gastro-intestinal conditions.
  • Gastric ulcers and reflux.
  • Its anti-inflammatory properties may ease arthritis and rheumatism.
  • Easing cystitis which is a urinary tract infection. This happens due to a bladder infection causing inflammation of the bladder.
  • Liver disorders.
  • Foul breath.
  • Expelling salt and water from the body because it is a diuretic.

Cautions

  • Contains aspirin and therefore must not be given to children unless there is no other option.
  • Do not take if allergic to aspirin because you are likely to be allergic to meadowsweet as well.

Magical Meadowsweet

Magically meadowsweet is a herb possessing very gentle vibrations and its uses include;

  • Adding to love essences.
  • Placing on the alter as a decoration and an offering when mixing love charms and sachets.
  • Spreading it around the home to gain peace and harmony.

 

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Finally

Be aware that you never know if you’re intolerant to something new until you try it for the first time. Therefore only try a tiny amount first and wait a day or two to check that there is no adverse reaction. 

If you have any pre-existing medical conditions or are taking any medications, always check with your doctor to ensure that using any of these suggestions don’t contradict them.

 

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