– PLANT DESCRIPTION:
This annual or biennial plant is 2-7 feet high. Bigger plants branch as often as possible and are fairly bushy in appearance, while shorter plants are less spread and rather lanky. The stems are generally pretty much erect, albeit some of the time they sprawl over the ground. They are glabrous, wrinkled, and angular; at times the lower stems are ribbed light red.
The terminal leaflet has a short petiolule (stalk at its base), while the lateral leaflets are almost sessile. there are a couple of little linear stipules at its base. Spike-like racemes of yellow blossoms are copiously created from the axils of the middle to upper leaves, while the upper stems eventually terminate in such racemes. Every raceme is up to 6″ long and has many flowers. These flowersare approximately arranged along the raceme and somewhat hanging. They may happen one or two sides of the raceme, or in whorls. Yellow Sweet Clover spreads by reseeding itself, and it often forms colonies at favorable sites. (1)
Prefers a full or partial sun, moist to slightly dry conditions, and a somewhat heavy clay-loam soil. The mature size of this plant is highly variable, contingent upon moisture availability and the richness of the soil. Its adds nitrogen to the soil by shaping a association with rhizobium microbes. (2)
The root of yellow sweetclover was consumed as a sustenance by the Kalmuks. Young shoots can be cooked and utilized like asparagus. Young leaves can be eaten in salads and the leaves and seedpods cooked as a vegetable. They have likewise been used as flavoring. Just new fresh leaves ought to be utilized since the dried leaves can be poisonous. This is perhaps because of the presence of coumarin, the substance that gives some dried plants the smell of new mown hay. The blossoms, raw or cooked, are edible. The blooms and seeds can be utilized as an flavoring.
– CHEMICAL COMPOSITION:
The characteristic constituent of melilotus is the aromatic, crystallizable coumarin (C9H6O2), which is the anhydrid of ortho-coumaric acid. The latter, and hydrocoumaric (melilotic) acid likewise occur in the plant. Cumarin forms with melilotic acid a crystallizable compound (Zwenger and Bodenbender). Melilotol of Phipson, is a volatile oil, probably the anhydrid (lactone) of melilotic acid. As much as 0.2 per cent has been obtained by distilling the fresh herb with water. (3)
– MELILOTUS USES & BENEFITS:
- Swollen, twisted veins and haemorrhoids:
Melilot, used either externally or internally, can help treat swollen and twisted veins and haemorrhoids though it requires a long-term treatment for the effect to be realised.
- Phlebitis and thrombosis treatment and anticoagulant:
Use of the plant also helps to reduce the risk of phlebitis and thrombosis. Melilot contains coumarins and, as the plant dries or spoils, these become converted to dicoumarol, a powerful anticoagulant. Thus the plant should be used with some caution, it should not be prescribed to patients with a history of poor blood clotting or who are taking warfarin medication.
The flowering plant is antispasmodic, aromatic, and has agents that relieves and removes gas from the digestive system, that induces urination, that softens and soothes the skin when applied locally, and agents that induces the removal (coughing up) of mucous secretions from the lungs. It is mildly sedative and has agents that help in healing wounds, fresh cuts, etc., usually when used as a poultice. A tea has been used in the treatment of sleeplessness, nervous tension, neuralgia, palpitations, swollen and twisted veins, painful congestive menstruation, in the prevention of thrombosis, flatulence and intestinal disorders.
- External Uses:
Externally, it is used to treat eye inflammations, rheumatic pains, swollen joints, severe bruising, boils and erysipelas, whilst a decoction is added to the bath-water. The flowering plant is harvested in the summer and can be dried for later use. A distilled water obtained from the flowering tops is an effective treatment for conjunctivitis.
The plant also contains dicumarol, which is a broad spectrum bactericide.
- The leaves contain coumarin and they release the pleasant smell of newly mown hay when they are drying.
The leaves can be dried and used as an insect repellent, especially in order to repel moths from clothing. They can be put in pillows, mattresses etc.
- Poorly dried or fermented leaves produce a substance called dicoumarol.
This is a potent anti-coagulant which is extremely poisonous in excess, it prevents the blood from coagulating and so it is possible to bleed to death from very small wounds. Dicoumarol is used in rat poisons. The plant can be used as a green manure, enriching the soil with nitrogen as well a providing organic matter.
The leaves repel insects. They have been placed in beds to repel bedbugs.
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