Meadowsweet; useful herb for skin problems


Meadowsweet (Filipendula ulmaria) is a well-known medicinal plant that blooms in midsummer. Meadowsweet is also a quite well-known plant among herbal enthusiasts. In cosmetics, you meet it quite often. Especially in the field of natural cosmetics, Meadowsweet has become more and more popular ingredient. Why it would be worth trying Meadowsweet to make cosmetics? There are many good reasons for this. This time I will introduce you to the positive effects of Meadowsweet in cosmetics.

Aspirin is named after the Meadowsweet

Meadowsweet is rich in salicylates. Aspirin is an old painkiller and anti-inflammatory drug that is based on salicylates because it contains acetylsalicylic acid. The name aspirin comes from the old Latin name for Meadowsweet, Spiraea ulmaria. The letter A of aspirin comes from acetylsalicylic acid. The origin of this information is from the book Practical Herbs, written by Henriette Kress.

Meadowsweet is an aromatic herb

Meadowsweet is easy to recognise by its strong aroma. Meadowsweet contains a lot of sweet-smelling essential oils. The scent of the flower is at its best as soon as the flowers open. Once the flowers have faded, the smell becomes musty and unpleasant. If you use Meadowsweet flowers as a room fragrance, you should notify this.

The look-a-like species of the Meadowsweet is the dropwort. Some details are different in the dropwort (Filipendula vulgaris) but the easy way to recognize it is the fact that it does not smell at all. A dropwort is not as effective as a Meadowsweet because it is not as rich in essential oils.

How does a Meadowsweet affect the skin?

The popularity of Meadowsweet is based on the essential oils and salicylates it contains.

  • The scent of essential oils is the reason why many use Meadowsweet in their products.
  • Another particularly important plant chemical in Meadowsweet is salicylates. Salicylates affect the skin in many ways. They are used especially on acne skin to soothe inflammation. Salicylates do reduce the inflammation.
  • The Meadowsweet inhibits excessive bacterial activity in the skin. This effect is due to the essential oils contained in the plant as well as the salicylates. According to tradition, salicylates have an antiperspirant effect. Therefore, the Meadowsweet is especially good for refreshing, relaxing foot baths as well as deodorants.
  • Meadowsweet is rich in tannins, which have an astringent effect. The astringent effect is desirable in many cosmetic products. Meadowsweet is therefore particularly suitable for toners and ointments.
  • Meadowsweet flowers are rich in skin moisturizing mucus. If you want moisturizing properties for your product, then choose flowers instead of leaves.

Meadowsweet is not the best option for everyone

Meadowsweet is not suitable for everyone’s skin. It is a very powerful herb that is rich in easily irritating plant chemicals. One of the most problematic ingredients is salicylates. Salicylate sensitivity is a problem for many asthmatics. Even if you don’t have asthma, you can still be sensitive to anything that contains salicylates. If you are using a Meadowsweet for the first time, test your skin’s tolerance. Instructions can be found here.

The strong and abundant essential oils of Meadowsweet do irritate the sense of smell of some people. Meadowsweet can easily cause headaches or sickness for sensitive people. Therefore, use Meadowsweet extracts only in very mild dilutions.

How to pick Meadowsweet?


You can pick both flowers and leaves. If you also need to pick flowers, you may want to pick the plants while some of the buds are still closed. You can also pick flowers with plenty of buds. Over blossomed flowers should be forgotten and focus only on the leaves. For cosmetics, Meadowsweet leaves can be picked as long as they look good, meaning usually up to autumn. The tannins of the plants, the astringent effect, is increasing in late summer.

Remove the flowers and leaves from the stems and dry them separately, for example in a dryer or on a towel on a table. The plants are completely dry when they crumble in the hand.

You can also dry branches in small bundles. Hang the bundles in an airy, dark place upside down.

I think drying separately has its advantages. Flowers and leaves are then easier to store in their own cans and used separately. In leaves and flowers, the composition of essential oils is different. The aroma of the leaves is almond-like but the flowers odour is sweet honey -like.

If you dry the plants in bunches, you need to remove the leaves and flowers from their stems when they are dry. Then the leaves and flowers may not remain as whole.

How we can use Meadowsweet in cosmetics?

You can use the plant either fresh or dried. Fresh plants should be used whenever available. Some do also freeze Meadowsweet. Personally, I do not prefer freezing. I prefer to dry.

I could sometimes tell you more about freezing fresh plants. There is a reason why fresh herbs are not recommended to freeze.

Herbal oil can be extracted from the Meadowsweet. It is a good product as a base for creams. However, Meadowsweet is most useful as a water extract in toners, face masks, herbal steam, or foot baths. Therefore, it is not necessary to prepare very large quantities of oil extracts.

Meadowsweet is a very popular ingredient in industrial cosmetics

You can find Meadowsweet in a great variety of industrial creams, lotions and shampoos. Meadowsweet is also commonly used in supermarket cosmetics. I think the reason for this is the wonderful scent of Meadowsweet. Although, in many products the scent is derived from synthetic perfumes and they contain hardly any Meadowsweet. Perhaps the image of a nice smell of a plant is the reason for the purchase decision.

Meadowsweet is suitable for accurate products

Meadowsweet is not a herb for every product. It is hardly worth adding it to all products. The strong medicinal effect of Meadowsweet makes it special. Therefore, use Meadowsweet only with caution.

Products for which Meadowsweet is suitable

  • Acne treatment products; salicylates reduce inflammation
  • Foot care products; rich essential oils balance the bacterial activity of the feet and relax tired feet
  • Deodorants; salicylates as well as essential oils are very effective in preventing odour. Salicylates have also been claimed to reduce sweating (let’s try to see if this is true)
  • Relaxing creams and relieving pain; salicylates are painkillers
  • Scalp cleansers; as an antimicrobial herb, Meadowswee works well on itchy scalp and dandruff.

Meadowsweet is a valuable medicinal herb that should be used carefully


It is definitely worth drying the Meadowsweet for the winter. It is at its best right now. Flowers may not last long, but leaves can be collected throughout the summer. Even if you don’t have any use for Meadowsweet right now, it’s a good idea to get it dried in the closet. It can quickly soothe spring-winter tired skin. On chilly autumn evenings, you get an incredibly relaxing foot bath from dried Meadowsweet.

Share your experience with Meadowsweet !

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