Alternate Names :
Principal Proposed Uses
Other Proposed Uses
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 venous insufficiency (a condition closely related to varicose veins) as well as for the treatment of phlebitis and hemorrhoids . 1 When used for this purpose, however, sweet clover is generally combined with bioflavonoids such as oxerutin . However, there is no meaningful evidence as ytet that sweet clover taken alone is effective for these conditions. Sweet clover contains coumarins, substances related to the prescription blood-thinner warfarin . Most scientific study relevant to sweet clover involves prescription drugs that combine coumarins and bioflavonoids. These medications have also been used to treat venous insufficiency, as well as numerous other conditions, including elephantiasis, hemorrhoids, mild digestive disturbances and various forms of edema . 2-7 However, it isn't clear whether sweet clover extracts containing coumarins would work in the same way as the coumarin portion of these pharmaceutical products. Topical treatments made from sweet clover are sometimes recommended for the treatment of hemorrhoids and minor injuries , 9 but as yet there is no real scientific evidence to support these proposed uses.