Melilot officinalis (pharmacy)

Name: Melilot officinalis (pharmacy)

Diseases and effects: Cough, diseases of the respiratory organs, abscesses, insomnia, flatulence, abscesses, boils, diseases of the mammary glands, articular rheumatism, swelling, cardiovascular diseases, neurasthenia, migraine, climacteric neurosis.

Active substances: Coumarin, dihydrocoumarin (melilotin), dicoumarol and p-coumaric acid glycoside melitoside, purine derivatives (allantoin and allantoic acid), choline and mucous substances.

The material was provided by Lisichka Lesnaya \r

Family: Legumes (Fabaceae)\r

Botanical description

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A biennial herb with a tap root and an upright, branched stem up to 2 m high.\r

The leaves are alternate, trifoliate, with sharply serrated margins of lanceolate or rounded leaves.\r

Flowers in axillary racemes, yellow, drooping, 5-7 mm long, the flag is almost equal to the wings, somewhat longer than the boat (butterfly-type corolla). The threads of 9 stamens are fused, the tenth is soldered with the rest only in the middle. The flowers are collected in dense inflorescences-brushes, which end the main stem and numerous branches. Calyx bell-shaped, five-toothed, remaining with the fetus, naked.\r

Fruits  -oval beans, grayish, bare, transversely wrinkled, 3-4 mm long. Seed greenish-yellow, one, rarely two. Sometimes small immature fruits are found in non-cordial numbers – beans from 3 to 5 m long, indistinct or transversely wrinkled, naked or covered with sparse hairs.\r

The whole plant is very fragrant due to the coumarin contained in it. The coumarin smell intensifies when the aerial parts of plants are dried (the characteristic smell of dry hay). At the time of flowering, sweet clover thickets are fragrant with honey, because the flowers are rich in nectar. Blossoms in May-August, fruits ripen in July-September.\r

Distribution and habitat

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Sweet clover is found in almost all regions of the European part (except the Far North), also in the forest-steppe and steppe regions of Western, less often in Eastern Siberia, the Far East.\r

It grows in meadows, in the steppe, in thickets of shrubs, along roads, rarely forms thickets on railway embankments, sandy shores of reservoirs, and young deposits. Often as a weed. Sometimes it is sown on lobes as a honey and fodder plant. It grows well on soils of varying degrees of moisture, prefers rich soils.\r

Storage and procurement of raw materials

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As a medicinal raw material, flowering tops of plants (grass) are used, in which the bulk are leaves and flowers.\r

Raw materials are dried in attics, in sheds, under sheds. The grass has a strong smell, so the raw materials will need to be stored in a well-closed container in a place protected from light.\r

Active ingredients

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Coumarin (0.4-0.9%), dihydrocoumarin (melilotin), dicoumarol and p-coumaric acid glycoside melitoside. Among the accompanying substances are purine derivatives (allantoin and allantoic acid), choline and mucous substances. The stems contain almost no biologically active substances.\r

Similar chemical composition and pharmacological action have high sweet clover [M. altissimus Thuill.] – herbaceous monocarpic (biennial) up to 1.5 m tall with golden yellow flowers, occasionally found in wet meadows in the European part, and white sweet clover [M. albus Medik.] – monocarpic (biennial, rarely annual) up to 1.5 m tall with white flowers, common with sweet clover. The stalks of the white sweet clover contain fiber, the extract of the “grass” has an insecticidal effect.\r

An interesting feature of sweet clover is their ability to intensively extract molybdenum from the soil. It accumulates mainly in leaves and seeds. In the aboveground part of the plant, molybdenum can be 300 times more than it is in the soil.\r

Experimental and clinical studies have established that coumarin depresses the central nervous system, has anticonvulsant and narcotic effects.\r

Healing action and application

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Sweet clover is among the botanical barometers – its flowers exude a strong aroma before rain, and bees and other insects, attracted by the smell, hover over it especially abundantly at this time.\r

Sweet clover is used in the food industry, in particular in the processing of fish, to which it gives a pleasant smell and taste, in the alcoholic beverage industry and for flavoring tobacco and soap, sweet clover leaves are used in the preparation of cheese. Dry leaves and flowers – a spice of a salty-bitter taste for soups, salads, second courses, marinades; also a good filler for aromatic sachets.\r

Valuable fodder plant. Excellent honey plant.\r

In folk medicine, a decoction of sweet clover grass is used as an expectorant for diseases of the respiratory organs, it is part of emollient preparations for poultices, which accelerate the resorption and opening of abscesses. Sweet clover extract is part of a sweet clover patch used for the same purpose.\r

As part of teas, sweet clover is recommended as a sedative for insomnia and flatulence. Externally, an infusion of herbs in the form of washings, baths and compresses is used for abscesses, abscesses, boils, inflammation of the mammary glands and articular rheumatism. Crushed leaves are applied to tumors and used as a wound healing agent.\r

Sweet clover is recommended to be used as an anticonvulsant and cardiovascular agent. As part of the fees, it is used to treat rheumatism, neurasthenia, migraine, and is recommended in menopause. Sweet clover contributes to the elimination of side effects of radiation therapy.\r

Plant preparations have a stimulating biogenic effect – 2 times more effective than aloe extract.\r

A closely related species – white sweet clover (M. album) has similar healing properties.\r

High doses of sweet clover products can cause central nervous system depression, nausea, vomiting, drowsiness, and very high doses can cause liver damage and hemorrhage. \r

Infusion of sweet clover: 2 tbsp. spoons of dry crushed sweet clover grass pour 0.5 liters of boiling water in a thermos, leave for 1-2 hours, strain and drink 1/3-1/2 cup 2-3 times every day with increased excitability, menopausal neurosis, melancholia, neurasthenia, headaches accompanying hypertension and migraine.

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