phytochemicals Phytochemicals

More plants with phytochemicals

Sweet Clover

Sweet Clover

Melilotus officinalis

What is sweet clover?

Sweet clover is a biennial herb, growing up to 150 cm. Sweet clover forms many branches. The light yellow flowers are formed at the top in clusters. The leaves are trifoliate and have toothed margins. The leaflets are oval. The fruits of the sweet clover are black almost spherical one-seeded pods.

Parts used

The leaves and flowers of sweet clover are harvested in spring and dried.


These are typical phytochemicals found in sweet clover: sweet clover contains following phytochemicals: melilotin, caffeic acid, monoterpenes, flavonoids, coumarin, ferulic acid.

Benefits of sweet clover

Sweet clover has emollient, anti-oedemic, venotonic and carminative properties. Sweet clover is used to treat venous insufficiency, elephantiasis, hemorrhoids and digestive disorders. It increases the blood flow in the veins. Sweet clover is also used to treat minor sleeping problems.

Ointments made from sweet clover are used to treat wounds and hemorrhoids. Sweet clover also helps reduce the risk of phlebitis and thrombosis.

Other facts

Sweet clover is a plant native to Europe and North Africa and temperate regions of Asia, but can now be found as roadside weed all over the world. Sweet clover has a sweet vanilla smell, caused by coumarin, which becomes more intense when the plant is dried. The dried sweet clover is used as scent for tobacco, herbal drinks or clothing (linen). Coumarin, which is the main phytochemical of sweet clover, is in fact produced from another chemical melilotoside after tissue breakdown. When sweet clover is not properly dried it can produce an anticoagulant dicoumarol. Therefore, sweet clover should never be given together with anticoagulants. Cattle fed with spoiled sweet clover can make them sick.

Other names

Yellow melilot, ribbed melilot, common melilot, sweet clover, plaster clover, sweet lucerne, hart's tree.

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