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Sweet Clover

Sweet clover

Definition

Sweet clover (Melilotus officinalis ) is a biennial plant that grows to heights of 2-4 ft (0.6-1.2 m) and produces small yellow flowers emitting a fragrance resembling that of hay or vanilla. It is a member of the legume, or Leguminosae, family. During its first year of growth, most of its energy goes into developing its root system. In the second year it flowers between May and September, sets its seeds, and dies. Its seeds may remain viable for over 30 years. The plant is also called hart's tree, hay flower, king's clover, melilot, sweet lucerne, or wild laburnum. Sweet clover grows in North America, Europe, Australia, and the temperate regions of Asia. In the early 1900s, sweet clover was grown for forage and to build up the soil, since its roots help to keep nitrogen in the soil. In the twenty-first century it is used to support honey production. In some agricultural areas of the United States, however, sweet clover is now considered a nuisance because it spreads rapidly and can take over open fields or prairies.

General use

Sweet clover is valued for its medicinal uses because the flower contains coumarinic acids. Coumarin is the active ingredient in prescription anticoagulants (blood-thinning medications). Its presence in sweet clover allows it to reduce inflammation and swelling by increasing the flow of blood between the heart and the veins. As an herbal remedy, sweet clover is used in the treatment of bruises, hemorrhoids , and varicose veins . Its wound-healing properties have been confirmed in tests conducted on animals.

Taken internally as a tea or as a tisane, sweet clover relieves discomfort in the legs, particularly night cramps, itching , and swelling. The herb also supports the traditional medical treatments of vein inflammation, blood clots , and congestion of the lymph nodes. Applied externally as a poultice, sweet clover speeds the healing of bruises and eases the swelling of hemorrhoids.

Preparations

Commercial preparations of sweet clover are available as dried crushed herb, as ointments, and as suppositories.

To prepare a sweet clover infusion, boiling water is poured over 1-2 tsp of the crushed flowers and stems. The infusion is allowed to steep for 5-10 minutes, then strained into a cup. For the treatment of varicose veins, 2-3 cups per day is recommended.

To prepare as a poultice, the crushed herb is mixed with a small amount of boiling water, then spread on a soft cloth. The cloth is applied to the affected area until the cloth is cold. The poultice is applied as needed.

Precautions

The sale of herbal products is not regulated in the United States. They are sold as dietary supplements without proof of safety or a standard of quality control. In addition, the lack of comprehensive scientific research leaves the consumer without a standard to follow. There-fore, persons interested in using sweet clover or any other herbal remedy should always consult a physician or pharmacist before beginning a program of herbal therapy.

Side effects

Long-term ingestion of high doses of sweet clover can cause headache and stupor. In isolated cases, temporary liver damage can result. These side effects disappear when the treatment is halted.

Interactions

Although sweet clover does not have any identified interactions, prescription drugs containing coumarin have been known to interact adversely with other prescription drugs, especially blood thinners, aspirin, and heart medications. Persons taking prescription drugs of any type should check with their physicians before begining a regimen of sweet clover.

Coumarin can also cause birth defects and bleeding in the fetus. Therefore, the use of sweet clover should be avoided during pregnancy .

Resources

BOOKS

PDR for Herbal Medicines. Montvale, NJ: Medical Economics Company, 1998.

Mary McNulty

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"Sweet Clover." Gale Encyclopedia of Alternative Medicine. . Retrieved August 19, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/medicine/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/sweet-clover

sweet clover

sweet clover or melilot (mĕl´əlŏt), Eurasian and North African leguminous herbs of the genus Melilotus of the family Leguminosae (pulse family). Sweet clovers, now widely naturalized in North America, are used as forage, cover, and soiling crops. Attractive to bees for their fragrant blossoms, they are also honey plants. Melilotus is a different genus from that of the true clovers. Sweet clover is classified in the division Magnoliophyta, class Magnoliopsida, order Rosales, family Leguminosae.

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"sweet clover." The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.. . Encyclopedia.com. 19 Aug. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"sweet clover." The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.. . Encyclopedia.com. (August 19, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/reference/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/sweet-clover

"sweet clover." The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.. . Retrieved August 19, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/reference/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/sweet-clover

melilot

melilot Sweet clover, a wild plant (Melilotus officinalis) which commonly grows in fields and on waste ground, especially on sandy soil; used as forage. The dried leaves have a sweet hay‐like aroma.

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"melilot." A Dictionary of Food and Nutrition. . Encyclopedia.com. 19 Aug. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"melilot." A Dictionary of Food and Nutrition. . Encyclopedia.com. (August 19, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/education/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/melilot

"melilot." A Dictionary of Food and Nutrition. . Retrieved August 19, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/education/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/melilot

sweet clover

sweet clov·er / swēt ˈklōvər/ • n. another term for melilot.

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"sweet clover." The Oxford Pocket Dictionary of Current English. . Encyclopedia.com. 19 Aug. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"sweet clover." The Oxford Pocket Dictionary of Current English. . Encyclopedia.com. (August 19, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/humanities/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/sweet-clover

"sweet clover." The Oxford Pocket Dictionary of Current English. . Retrieved August 19, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/humanities/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/sweet-clover

melilot

melilot: see sweet clover.

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"melilot." The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.. . Encyclopedia.com. 19 Aug. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"melilot." The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.. . Encyclopedia.com. (August 19, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/reference/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/melilot

"melilot." The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.. . Retrieved August 19, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/reference/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/melilot

melilot

melilotallot, begot, Bernadotte, blot, bot, capot, clot, cocotte, cot, culotte, dot, forgot, garrotte (US garrote), gavotte, got, grot, hot, jot, knot, lot, Mayotte, motte, not, Ott, outshot, plot, pot, rot, sans-culotte, Scot, Scott, shallot, shot, slot, snot, sot, spot, squat, stot, swat, swot, tot, trot, twat, undershot, Wat, Watt, what, wot, yacht •robot • hotshot • peridot • microdot •Wyandot • polka dot • fylfot • mascot •Caldecott • carrycot • apricot •boycott • dovecote • sandlot • melilot •polyglot • Camelot • ocelot •monoglot • sub-plot • Lancelot •cachalot • counterplot • Wilmot •guillemot • motmot • bergamot

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"melilot." Oxford Dictionary of Rhymes. . Encyclopedia.com. 19 Aug. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"melilot." Oxford Dictionary of Rhymes. . Encyclopedia.com. (August 19, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/humanities/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/melilot

"melilot." Oxford Dictionary of Rhymes. . Retrieved August 19, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/humanities/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/melilot