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Meadowsweet, a plant of damp locations like wet meadows and marshy ground, was also known in Chaucer's time as meadwort from its use as a flavorant for meads and ales. Indeed, the plant has a sweet smell like new mown hay, due to the large amount of coumarins in it. Additionally, it was used as analgesic; like willow bark it contains salicylic acid (the active component of aspirin) as well as other anti-inflammatory compounds. Perhaps because of this, Gerard said the herb steeped in wine had the power to make the heart merry.
Oft repeated magical lore reputes that meadowsweet was one of the most sacred plants of the druids, and indeed the herb has been found in bronze age burial sites, or barrow mounds, throughout Wales and Scotland. Given this, its sweet scent, and the power to ease pain and suffering, meadowsweet is associated with the ancient dead, the elves, and the dwellers in the hollow hills.