Meadowsweet (Filipendula Ulmaria)

Proving date: 2014
Proving completed by:  Misha Norland, Mani Norland & The School of Homeopathy
Common name :
Meadowsweet

Read full proving: Meadowsweet (Filipendula Ulmaria)

About Meadowsweet

Meadowsweet contains Salicylic acid, the chemicals used to make aspirin, a small section of root, when peeled and crushed smells like Germolene, and when chewed is a good natural remedy for relieving headaches.

Having read the proving summaries from students, looking at the themes and considering the substance I feel there is a nice little story that can be told that links in with the meadow sweet plant being described as the lady or queen of the meadow.

The meadow is a common place, a field enjoyed by all, it makes on think of nature, spring and summer time, alive with bees, bugs and birds. Warm, sunny and relaxing. If you were the lady or queen of such a place surely everyone would want to talk to you, it would be fun, exciting, sociable. You would feel connected, happy and joyful. You would hold your head up high and look out over the meadow. This feels like a fairly tale, where one would giggle, sing and dance. At its heights there is bliss, euphoria and pure whiteness, like a goddess (the little white flower heads looking up to the sun).

Meadowsweet has a pleasant taste and flavour and is traditionally used as a strewing herb to flavour wine, beer and mead – always good for social gatherings! It is also strewn on floors to give rooms a pleasant aroma.

One can also imagining going to a meadow to be alone, silent and calm - a place to enjoy being in nature and reflect on ones thoughts. But this quiet place can become exaggerated, so one feels isolated, excluded, detached and disconnected. So withdrawn that they become numb. Salicylic acid occurs naturally in the plant in greater quantities than anything else in nature and are synthesised for use in Aspirin to numb headaches.

Physically there was a strong connection to the digestive tract, the ‘earthy’ processes, with a great deal of diarrhoea, abdominal pain, nausea, flatulence and constipation. The whole plant is a traditional remedy for an acidic stomach, and the fresh root is used in herbal remedies.

She may become angry, swearing and indignant or she may numb out. Hide the pain and create a barrier. And then there is the dark side, the night and the dirty earth. The common meadow is no place for a queen. Now we see depression, remorse and guilt. Things are black and full of despair. There is disgust, sexual desires and rape. It is not a safe place for a lady!

It is like Meadowsweet produces Salicylic acid in its roots to numb the despair, detached and dirty underworld. The common plant holds its head up high above the other flowers with a crown of graceful small pure white flowers giving of a sweet pleasant aroma. But she has to drink, water has to come up her stem, it ‘leaks’ through bringing with it strong feelings and emotions from the dark underworld. She tries to rise above, stay sociable, connected and pleasant (the goddess), but sometimes she just wants to be alone, and if the ‘leaks’ get to bad then she becomes anxious, despairs and gets depressed, dark and moody.

History
Meadowsweet took its name ‘Queen of the meadow’ in Europe for bringing happiness and joy, also by how it could dominate a damp meadow. Meadow sweet was held scared among the druids along with water-mint and vervain. A druid was a member of the educated, professional class among the Celtic people of Gaul, Britain, Ireland during the Iron Age. The best known among the druids were the religious leaders.

In 1597 botanists John Gerard said of the herb meadowsweet  ‘The smell thereof makes the heart merry and joyful and delighted the senses’. During the 16th century Queen Elizabeth I, desired meadowsweet above all other herbs in her chamber, when it was customary to strew floors with rushes and herbs for its pleasant smell and calming energy. English physician Nicholas Culpeper wrote in 1652 about the planets therapeutic effects on the stomach.

Meadow sweet flowers were used to flavour alcoholic beverages in England and Scandinavia and was one of fifty ingredients in a drink called the ‘Save’, In the 14th century being called ‘medwort’ or ‘meadwort’ as it was one of essential ingredients in making mead. This was the mead or honey wine herb, and the flowers were often put into wine and beer.

Folklore
In Russian folklore the heroic knight Kudryash became terrified at the prospect of his own death and refused to fight. In shame, Kudryash planned to drown himself, a fair maiden emerged from the water giving him a garland of meadowsweet flowers, they told him that ‘no harm would befall of him if he wore it in battle’. Kudryash remained unscathed and undefeated.

Fresh meadowsweet is placed on the altar for love spells, or dried is used in various love mixtures. It is also strewn about the house to keep peace and the scent of Meadowsweet is said to cheer the heart. If gathered on midsummer, Meadowsweet will give you information regarding thieves: if you have been robbed, place Meadowsweet on water. If it sinks, the thief is a man. If it floats, a woman. 

Meadowsweet is used for love, peace and happiness. The fresh plant is used as an altar decoration or in a bridal bouquet. The scent of meadow sweet is said to cheer the heart.

Medical Uses
Meadowsweet is used to treat a variety of illnesses such as arteriosclerosis, arthritis, cellulitis, cervicitis, colds, cystitis, diarrhoea, dropsy, dyspepsia, oedema, fever, flu, gastritis. Gout headache, heartburn, hyperacidity, insomnia, nausea, nephritis, pain, prostate enlargement, rheumatism, ulcers, urinary tract infection, and vaginitis.

Meadow sweet is used in much of the same way as aspirin, however the herb contains a buffering agent that counter aspirins side effect of causing gastric bleeding, preventing over acidity in the stomach and being one of the best remedies for heartburn. It is a valuable herbal remedy for diarrhoea, and it is believed to be very effective in the treatment of diarrhoea in children. It is frequently used as a natural treatment for afflictions of the blood and used for natural pain treatment.

Meadowsweet can be used topically as an eyewash to treat conjunctivitis and eye inflammation, and also to heal wounds. In addition it can be used as a compress to relieve muscle aches and rheumatic joints. Meadowsweets flower essence can help to relax tension in the head and neck, or as a relaxing bath herb.

Aspirin
Aspirin (acetylsalicylic acid or ASA) has only been manufactured and marketed since 1899. Medicines made from willow and other salicylate-rich plants appear in Egyptian pharonic pharmacology papyri.

Salicin was found in meadowsweet by Swiss pharmacist Johann Pagenstecher in 1830. By 1853 Charles Frédéric Gerhardt determined the chemical structure of salicyclic acid and chemically synthesises acetylsalicylic acid.

The first rigorous clinical trial of salicin in 1876 finds that it induces remission of fever and joint inflammation in patients with rheumatism. Felix Hoffmann a German chemist created a synthetically altered version of salicin in 1897, derived from the species, which caused less digestive upset than pure salicylic acid. The new drug, formally acetylsalicylic acid, was named ‘Aspirin’ by Hoffman's employer Bayer AG after the old botanical name for meadowsweet (Spiraea ulmaria).

Aspirin entered the Guinness World Records in 1950 for being the most frequently sold painkiller. Its popularity declined after the development of paracetamol in 1956 and ibuprofen in 1962. In the 1960-1970s John Vane (English pharmacologist) discovered the basic mechanism of aspirin's effects, while clinical trials and other studies from the 1960-1980s established aspirin's efficacy as an anti-clotting agent that reduces the risk of clotting diseases.

Herbal/ Homeopathic Uses
The entire herb possess a pleasant taste and flavour. Traditional herbalist simmered the flowers in wine to treat fevers and to cure depression. Meadow sweet is astringent and helps with indigestion, in addition to having diuretic properties, which is helpful in cases of oedema. The fresh flower tops drunk in tea are said promote sweating, along with being used to treat respiratory infections, gout and arthritis.

The fresh root is used in many homeopathic preparations for various ailments. The active ingredients in meadowsweet are essential oils, flavonoids, phenolic glycosides, salicylic acid, and tannins. Meadowsweet is used in homeopathy to treat bronchitis, coughs and other respiratory conditions.

Mythology
Blodeuwedd
(flower face) was created by two magicians Gwydion and Math; she was made from the flowers of broom, meadowsweet and oak, and is the virgin Goddess of spring. She was the wife to Lleu Lalw Gyffess. He was placed under a tynged by his mother so that he would never have a human wife. To counter act this curse the magicians took the flowers and produced the fair maiden Blodeuwedd.

She caused much devastation by having an affair, then conspiring to kill her husband. Through her deceit she tricks her husband into revealing how he may be killed, as Lleu cannot be killed by any conventional means, with this new information she arranges his death.  Lleu is struck by a spear and is transformed into an eagle; Gwydion switches him back into human form and nurses him back to health, before he reclaims his land back from Blodeuwedd. Gwydion sees Blodeuwedd fleeing, overtaking her he strikes his powers turning her into an owl, the creature hated by all other birds.

Amanda Biggs Proving Supervisor writes:
“It wasn’t until we heard the mythology around meadowsweet that certain things in her experience started to make sense, including one thing she later admitted she hadn’t told me at the time! This was a feeling of being somehow special, like a chosen person. The myth of Blodeuwedd is part of the famous Mabinogion and is of a woman ‘Flowerface’ who was created for a god (because his mother had spited him and cursed his ability to marry a mortal woman) out of various (stories differ as to how many exactly) types of flowers including meadowsweet, and lived well with him until one day she fell in love with another man. So they colluded to kill the husband (as so often happens in myths!) – Blodeuwedd tricked her husband into revealing the rare circumstances in which he could be killed, which required a special spear that had to take exactly a year to make only on Sundays and then be used in a suitably unlikely position – one foot a goat, wearing a fishing net etc! When they managed to kill him, he transformed into an eagle then was later restored, while Blodeuwedd was punished by being turned into an owl, which apparently were unpopular birds, and were separated from the company of most birds because of being nocturnal.

The myth is said to have layers to it – on one level it is about the empowerment of the woman to choose real love instead of what she was given to, a tale of self-realisation. On another (and probably more the original intention) it is a straight Celtic fertility myth, with Blodeuwedd being the summer goddess and the male gods representing the summer and winter seasons, and the need of both of them to combine with the woman, one dying to make way for the other as seasons do. From this perspective it was necessary to ‘make’ Blodeuwedd, in order for her husband to be a king, as only those who had undergone fertility rites and fully declared their love for the earth via a priestess or otherworldly woman could be true kings. This is interesting as it makes her more central than the men, in fact the source of their power, which underlines the goddess aspect again. The myth is from a time of goddess worship, before the coming of the masculine traditions, and has to be seen in this light – e.g. there were no ‘love goddesses’ in Celtic culture equivalent to Aphrodite, as they were always made of natural parts of the land such as flowers and fruit. I think the myth came through very strongly in my prover, and leaked into the lives of those around her.”

Astrological
Meadow sweet has strong connections to the planet Jupiter. Jupiter style herbs appear to promote growth by expanding the consciousness of the mind and our awareness. Giving us greater understanding and thereby helping with ones own spirituality, in addition to also creating new and different opportunities.

‘Jupiter is the regent of the meadowsweet. The flowers are alexipharmic and sudorific, likewise astringent, binding, and useful in fluxes of all sorts’

Nicholas Culpeper 1653

Frans Vermeulen writes about meadowsweet as:
Bringing out the hero – Russian herbalist often tell the story of the brave knight.

Medical uses- It is used asstomachic, mild urinary antiseptic, anti , anti- rheumatic, astringent , antacid, anit-inflammatory, diurectic, diaphoretic, anti emetic and tonic. In Germany it is used to treat the common cold. Here the high salicylate content reduces fever through diaphoresis. Recommend for water retention, bladder and kidney ailments, it can also serve as a wash for wounds and inflamed eyes. A decoction of the shredded rhizome and flower is recommend for nervous disorders.

Mind – Nocturnal feeling of remorse for a slight fault committed long go with the most frightful of stings of conscience and horror of self. Disconnected with self, instinctual side. Problems with sexuality difficulty integrating lower body parts. The need to be independent and they often don't have stable relationships. Generals- Aversion to smoking, hot feeling in the whole body and general outbreak of sweat and rush of blood in the head after eating. Burning pains.
Sensations- Head is encircled and squeezed by a hoop, enlarged after washing in cold water. Something hot mounting up onto the eyes, eyelids heavy as lead. Pressing feeling in oesophagus. rectum as if drawn in.  Inspired air in the room as if very cold. Hot feeling all over.
Locals- Pressing, pulsating headache, heartburn, stool in balls, stitches from bladder to rectum. Palpitations and anxiety, ascending heat and suffering from cramp.

Jan Scholten writes about meadow sweet as:
They are left alone by their lover or they feel left alone, without real love anymore. Remorse over a  long past slight indiscretion, with most fearful qualms of conscience and loathing of himself. On account of this he could not rest but was obliged to walk about.

Mind- Morbid conscientiousness, hydrophobia, dullness, laughing (when talking about serious things), angry person. Dreams no one is driving the car, plane, loss of control, floating and flying. Dreams vivid, confused.

General- triple warmer, heat indoors, open air, wet weather. Sweat profusely, chest, face and hands, heat and eating. Aversion to smoking. Time, afternoon, 1am. Sleep discomfort after siesta, overpowering, sleepiness, difficulty falling asleep, restlessness, frequent waking. Physical sneezing,  motion, moving head, bites of mad animals, rabid dogs, snakes.

Body- Astringent , energy, exhaustion, weak, stretching of limbs and yawning. Infection, nervous, vertigo as if all senses vanished. Head full and heavy. Eyes burning, heavy, vision indistinct and foggy. Face red, heat, congestion. Mouth toothache. Throat heat, warmth, pain, burning, pressing. Lungs cold, inspiration, cough, dry and loose. Heart palpitations. Chest pain, pressing. Stomach belching, nausea, vomiting. Abdomen moving  and griping. Rectum pain, prickling, burning, sore, stool urge.

Urinary cystitis, bright yellow, gritty, oily film. Male prostate gland, violent erections with great sexual desire. Limbs heaviness, cramp in muscle, pain.

Read full proving here: Meadowsweet (Filipendula Ulmaria)

Anxious/Worry<br>Concentration/Confusion<br>Mistakes/Accidents<br>Digestion<br>Goddess/Joy<br>Isolate/Isolated<br>Pain/Body Parts<br>Relax<br>Sex/Rape/Libdo<br>Sleep<br>Sociable Connection<br>Threat/Anger/Swearing<br>Water/Fluid/Leak<br>Despair/Depressed
Anxious/Worry
Concentration/Confusion
Mistakes/Accidents
Digestion
Goddess/Joy
Isolate/Isolated
Pain/Body Parts
Relax
Sex/Rape/Libdo
Sleep
Sociable Connection
Threat/Anger/Swearing
Water/Fluid/Leak
Despair/Depressed

Proving Themes
Botanical Name:
Filipendula ulmaria

Common Names:
Queen of the Meadow,
Pride of the Meadow,
Meadow-Wort,
Lady of the Meadow,
Doll of Meadsweet,
Bridewort

Kingdom:Plantae
(unranked) : Angiosperms
(unranked) : Eudicots
(unranked) : Rosids
Order : Rosales
Family : Rosaceae
Genus : Filipendula
Species : F.ulmaria

Kingdom Taxonomy
Meadowsweet is used for love, peace and happiness. The fresh plant is used as an altar decoration or in a bridal bouquet. The scent of meadow sweet is said to cheer the heart.