Monday, 27 June 2016

Meadowsweet by Unit

Meadowsweet by Unity
Filipendula ulmaria

Other Names: Queen of the meadow, Bridewort, Little Queen, Lady of the meadow, Bride of the meadow, Meadsweet, Mead wort, Pride of the meadow, Meadow maid, Honey sweet, Dollor, Meadow wort, Bridgewort, Dollof, Lace-makers herb.

Planetry ruler: Jupiter
Element : Air
Gender : Female
Associated Deities: Aine, Blodeuwedd, Gwena, Venus
Magical properties : Love, peace, marriage, happiness, fertility, divination

Meadowsweet is an aromatic perennial herb and a member of the Rosaceae family. It is native to Europe and Western Asia and has been introduced and naturalised in North America. Meadowsweet likes fertile, moist soil and is often found growing in marshy areas, wet woodland, meadows, ditches and along rivers and streams. It has a reddish creeping root and furrowed branching stems. The finely serrated leaves are dark green on top and grey - green on the underside. The flowers are tiny, cream coloured, 5 petalled and grow in clusters, they are almond scented and bloom between June - August. The flowers contain prussic acid and should not be placed in a closed room.
Meadowsweet has been found in the cremated remains of 3 people and at least 1 animal in a Bronze age cairn at Fan Foel Carmarthenshire. Similar finds have been found in other areas of the UK.


Meadowsweet is one of the 3 most sacred herbs of the druids ( the other two are water mint and vervain). In Welsh mythology, Gwydion and Math created a woman out of oak blossom, broom and meadowsweet and named her Blodeuwedd ( Flower face).

The common name, meadowsweet is said to be derived from the Anglo-Saxon word medesweete, which owes its origin to the fact that the plant was used to flavour mead.

In Chaucer's Canterbury Tales is it called Meadwort and was one of the ingredients in a drink called 'Save'.

The name Bridewort became poular because of it's use in bridal bouquets, it was also strewn on the path leading to the church and in the newly weds home. It was believed to bring happiness and joy to the bride.

Meadowsweet was a popluar strewing herb in Tudor times, being a favourite of Elizabeth 1.

The Celtic hero Cuchulainn was given meadowsweet to calm his fits of rage and fevers.

Medicinal Uses
In 1872 a French chemist identified Salicin which he took from Meadowsweet. This led to the discovery of Salicylic acid in 1838 and the eventual discovery of aspirin in 1899.

The dried aerial parts of the plant can all be used medicinally, however 1 in 5 people with asthma has 'Samter's Triad' in which aspirin induces asthma symptoms. Therefore asthmatics should be aware of the possibility that meadowsweet may also induce symptoms.

The root can be chewed as a natural remedy for headaches and a natural black dye can be obtained from the root by using a copper mordant.

An infusion can be drank to treat acid stomach, gastritis, heartburn, diarrhoea, fevers, rheumatism, arthritis, gout and bladder complaints.

Distilled water of the flowers makes an eyewash to treat itching and burning.

A skin tonic can be made by soaking the flowers in distilled water for 24 hours.

Magical uses

In some parts of Britian it was believed to be unlucky to bring meadowsweet into the home, this may be because of the prussic acid contained in the flowers which can have unpleasant effects in confined spaces.

Meadowsweet is believed to help in identifying a thief. When placed on water it would sink if the thief was a man and float if it was a woman.

The dried flowers can be used in sachets and incense for love, marriage, fertility, abundance, peace and happiness.

The fresh or dried flowers can be used in bouquets and decorations for handfastings. They can also be added to the ritual drink.


Infused Oil

Loosely fill a jar with fresh or dried Meadowsweet flowers. Fill with sunflower or olive oil and pop a lid on. Leave on a sunny window sill and shake daily for 2-4 weeks. Strain and bottle. This oil is perfect for a Handfasting anointing oil .

Meadowsweet Beer

2 oz meadowsweet flowers
2 oz raspberry leaves
2 oz betony flowers
2 oz agrimony flowers
3ib white sugar
2 gallons water
juice of 1 lemon

Place the herbs in a large pan and cover with some of the water. Boil and simmer for 10 minutes. Remove from heat and strain. Heat the remaining water and dissolve the sugar in it. Mix the 2 liquids together, stirring all the time. Cover and leave to cool. Bottle in screw bottles when almost cool.


Sources :
Herbcraft - Anna franklin and Susan Lavender
Hedgerow medicine - Julie Bruton Seal and Matthew Seal
Jekka's complete Herb Book - Jekka McVicar

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