The Queen of Worts

June 15, 2017

Meadowsweet in bloom
Photo Franz Xaver
June is when the Meadowsweet blooms, steeping boggy buggy weedy places in a sweet pervasive perfume. This is a medium-sized shrub with clusters of white flowers, a Eurasian transplant to the Northeastern United States but not a troublesome one. Meadowsweet is one of the nine herbs transformed into the flower-faced maiden Blodeuwedd in the romance Mabinogion. This plant also goes by the name Bridewort, and it is associated with weddings and used in love spells. It once had a function in funerary rites.

Meadowsweet was the first plant from which salicylic acid, or aspirin, was synthesized. It has traditionally been used for digestion as well as inflammation and pain, unlike plain aspirin which is hard on the stomach. Perhaps people were buried with Meadowsweet for a pain free experience in the afterlife.


John Lust, The Herb Book (New York: Bantam Books, 1974).

Patricia Monaghan, The Encyclopedia of Celtic Mythology and Folklore (New York: Checkmark Books, 2008).

The Order of Bards, Ovates and Druids, “Druid Plant Lore,”

The White Goddess, “Meadowsweet,”

Barbara G. Walker, The Woman’s Dictionary of Symbols and Sacred Objects (San Francisco: Harper and Row, 1988).