Meadowsweet is one of the most common herbs, growing wild throughout Europe and Asia, and naturalized to grow throughout North America's Eastern coast. It was one of the three sacred herbs renowned by Druids, along with vervain and water-mint. Its historical medicinal uses are confirmed enough that it is licensed as a standard medicinal tea in Germany by the German E Commission.
Meadowsweet acquired some fame in the late 1800's when the German drug company, Bayer, synthesized acetylsalicylic acid, based on the structure of the naturally occuring salicylic acid found in meadowsweet--and named its new product, aspirin, after the plant's old botanical name, Spirea. Due to the high amounts of salicin in meadowsweet, it is often used as an analgesic (pain-relieving) herb, including in the treatment of migraines.* However, meadowsweet's cooling, bitter, and mucilaginous properties mean it can also be used to address mild digestive discomfort and gastritis.*
Use in persons with sensitivity to aspirin or other salicylate containing drugs is cautioned. Use in persons with glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase (G6PD) deficiency is cautioned.