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Research seeds: Meadowsweet


In this article, we discuss the “ In vitro and in vivo assessment of meadowsweet (Filipendula ulmaria) as anti-inflammatory agent

Plant name and species

 Meadowsweet (Filipendula ulmaria (L) Maxim)

Aim of study

Meadowsweet has been traditionally used across many European countries to treat inflammatory diseases as it has antipyretic, antirheumatic, astringent and analgesic properties. This study investigates the activity of the aerial parts and roots.

Study method

The active compounds in the extract were investigated using a high-performance thin layer chromatography (HPTLC) machine. The anti-inflammatory activity was tested on cells using a method which tested cyclooxygenase-1 (COX-1) and cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2) enzymes and COX-2 gene expression. COX-1 and COX-2 are vital for the inflammatory process as they convert arachidonic acid into prostaglandins, and prostaglandins largely control inflammation.

Herbal preparation

Methanolic extracts of both the root and aerial parts of meadowsweet were investigated.

Sample size

The plant extracts were tested on cells so there was no human sample size.

Results of study

The extracts showed that the molecules rutoside, spiraeoside and isoquercitrin were present. The extract which had the aerial parts of the plant was able to block the COX-1 enzyme activities by 62.85% and COX-2 by 46.43%. The root extract wasn’t as effective, but it still blocked COX-1 and COX-2 enzymes by 32.11% and 20.20% respectively.


The COX-1 and COX-2 enzymes are heavily involved in the inflammatory processes of the gut for example with acid reflux, arthritis and acid dyspepsia. COX inhibitors are currently prescribed in pharmaceutical form as anti-inflammatory medicines, used to treat pain and a variety of conditions. This study shows some of the mechanisms of action of how meadowsweet works for its traditional uses. For example meadowsweet is used to treat acid reflux (including hiatal hernia and GORD) as well as arthritis, and acid reflux, gastritis and gastric ulcers.


This study shows that meadowsweet has potent anti-inflammatory actions in vitro, and further investigation on people should be conducted.

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