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Chemical constituents include salicylic acid, flavone glycosides, essential oils, and tannins. In 1897, Felix Hoffmann created a synthetically altered version of salicin, derived from the species, which caused less digestive upset than pure salicylic acid. The new drug, formally acetylsalicylic acid, was named aspirin by Hoffmann's employer Bayer AG after the old botanical name for meadowsweet, Spiraea ulmaria. This gave rise to the class of drugs known as non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs).Meadowsweet is a perennial plant in the Rosaceae family. Although edible, meadowsweet is more recognized as an herbal medicine used to help with many maladies. In particular the flower head contains salicylic acid. The flowers produce nectar and pollen attracting various bees, wasps, adult long-horned beetles (Cerambycidae), and the moth Ctenucha virginica (Virginia Ctenucha).
The meadowsweet is an easy-care flowering plant that should be watered only in dry summers. In autumn the plant can be cut back after the above-ground parts of the plant have died. In harsh winters, however, the dead leaves also serve the plant as winter protection and can also provide a winter home for insects. If the leaves are cut back for optical reasons, they can remain on the bed as cuttings.century, chemists isolated salicylic acid from Meadowsweet. The acid was a disinfectant so it not only made rooms smell better but helped the fight against bacteria. It was a painkiller and anti-inflammatory but hard on the stomach. Only after it was synthesised did it become an acceptable candidate for mass production and sold in tablet form as 'aspirin' – 'a' for acetyl and ' –spirin' for Spirea, the original botanical name for Meadowsweet.
Meadowsweet was the key headache-busting ingredient from which aspirin was synthesized; Bayer Pharma-ceuticals used dried meadowsweet leaves for its original methyl salicylic acid formulation. In Colonial times, meadowsweet was used as an anti-inflammatory to reduce the symptoms of arthritis and rheumatism. And, because the herb is gentle on the stomach, it also was used to treat stomach upsets, feverish colds, diarrhea and heartburn. Meadowsweet belongs to the rose family (Rosaceae), and was Queen Elizabeth I’s favorite strewing herb. The 16th-century herbalist Gerard believed it outranked all other strewing herbs because its aromatic leaves didn’t cause headaches, unlike many other strongly scented leaves. Meadowsweet’s popularity as a strewing herb at weddings earned it its alternate name, bridewort. (Source: www.motherearthliving.com)