Botanist's Glossary

Meadowsweet - Spiraea ulmaria

  • Description
    • Meadowsweet or spiraea ulmaria (Rosaceae family) is a herbaceous perennial that grows from 50 cm to 1.8 meters tall. It has pinnate leaves and small cream-white fragrant flowers. It often grows in abundance, in damp meadows and along river banks. The plant is also known as "queen of the meadow" due to its delicate, dominating beauty. It was an important plant in European medicine and is still a popular ingredient in herbal remedies.
  • Traditions
    • In the 19th century, the remarkable diuretic and anti-inflammatory properties of meadowsweet were "officially" recognized. In the 1850's, research into the active ingredients in this plant and the white willow found constituents that can be converted to salicylic acid. This was the basis for the synthesis of aspirin.
  • Properties
    • Meadowsweet is used in beauty products for its astringent and anti-irritant properties. It helps prevent the development of bacteria. When combined with lemon essential oil and rice vinegar, it has an antibacterial effect that is of particular interest in the care of combination and oily skin.