Sweet CloverMelilotus species
Sweet clover, long popular as food for grazing animals, is used medicinally as well. It contains various substances in the coumarin family. These chemicals are thought to help strengthen the walls of blood and lymph vessels. However there is no more than preliminary evidence that sweet clover is effective for any medical condition. In addition, use of sweet clover presents some safety concerns. (See Safety Issues for more information.)
Sweet Clover and Its History
The name Melilotus originates from the Greek word for honey, meli , and a term for clover-like plants, lotos . There are four common species in this genus of Eurasian origins: Melilotus alba , M. indica , M. officinalis , and M. altissimus .
The fresh or dried leaves and flowering stems of sweet clover were traditionally used as a diuretic.
What Is Sweet Clover Used for Today?
Germany's Commission E
has authorized use of sweet clover extract for symptoms of
Sweet clover contains coumarins, substances related to the prescription blood-thinner
treatments made from sweet clover are sometimes recommended for the treatment of
Sweet clover products are standardized to their coumarin content. For treating symptoms of venous insufficiency/ varicose veins, a daily dosage of a sweet clover preparation or extract providing 3 to 30 mg of coumarin is taken internally. 8
The safety of any medicinal use of sweet clover has not been established in humans. Sweet clover contains various substances in the coumarin family. Many (but not all) of these substances thin the blood, and might cause excessive bleeding in some individuals. In particular, sweet clover should not be combined with blood-thinning drugs such as warfarin (Coumadin), heparin or drugs in the aspirin family.
Safety in pregnant or nursing women, young children, or individuals with severe liver or kidney disease has not been established.
6. Desprez-Curely JP, Cluzan R, Pecking A. Benzopyrones and post-mastectomy lymphedemas. Double-blind trial placebo versus sustained release coumarin with trioxyethylrutin (ter). In: Progress in Lymphology X: Proceedings of the Xth International Congress of Lymphology; 1985; Adelaide, South Australia.
7. Piller NB, Morgan RG, Casley-Smith JR. Double-blind trial of 5,6 benzo-[alpha]-pyrone in human lymphoedema. In: Progress in Lymphology X: Proceedings of the Xth International Congress of Lymphology; 1985; Adelaide, South Australia.
Last reviewed April 2009 by EBSCO CAM Review Board
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