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Video: Medicinal Melilot
How to collect sweet clover or grow it in the garden and use
When I hear the words "medicinal sweet clover", a picture that will be remembered for a long time immediately arises in my memory: a country road, summer, a hot day.
You walk in this warm haze, and suddenly a light breeze brings a pleasant honey aroma. What could it be? And, yes, here they are - overgrown plants covered with yellow fragrant flowers, over which bees fly, collecting nectar.
Indeed, sweet clover is a very good honey plant. Those who love honey and understand it will immediately remember honey exhibitions, at which, along with linden, buckwheat, flower honey, melilot honey is also offered, and sellers will certainly notice that this honey is medicinal. By the way, it is special in appearance - amber or white. Apparently, the color of honey is determined by the color of the flowers - it can be amber or white.
What kind of plant is this - medicinal sweet clover?
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Melilot is a genus of herbaceous plants belonging to the legume family. There are many types of sweet clover, but the most common and useful are two of them - sweet clover (Melilotus officinalis) and white clover (Melilotus albus). Outwardly, they are very similar and differ mainly only in the color of their flowers. Often their thickets are located nearby. And the different color of honey is also, apparently, determined by the flowers from which the bees collected pollen and nectar.
And their very Latin name speaks of the melliferousness of plants, because the word "meli" means honey. The Russian name - "sweet clover", as the reference literature claims, comes from the ancient name of gout, as well as from the designation of diseases of the lower part of the human abdominal cavity. If you know the meaning of these concepts, then we can already conclude that sweet clover is a medicinal plant.
And the yellow sweet clover is called just that - medicinal sweet clover, although experts say that white sweet clover has the same composition, which means that it can also treat the same diseases, however, it is recognized as a poisonous plant, and only experienced healers can use it. We will talk about medicinal sweet clover.
So, sweet clover is a biennial herb. In various localities, there are other popular names for it - most often - burkun, sweet clover, bottom grass. It has a high branched stem, leaves are ovoid, oval, serrate on the sides, gray-green in color. The flowers are bright yellow, butterflies, collected in inflorescences, emit a strong aroma. They open and bloom on the plant almost all summer. After flowering by autumn, the plant ripens fruits - small beans 3-4 mm long, which contain one or two seeds.
The height of the sweet clover in different areas can be different - from 50 to 150 cm. This, apparently, depends on the fertility of the soil, the presence of sufficient moisture in it. It is found in the fields, along dirt and railways, at the edges of the forest. Since sweet clover is an excellent honey plant and also blooms all summer, it is often sown next to apiaries, especially if these are large apiaries.
Since the sweet clover is a biennial plant, it will bloom only in the second year. The seeds are sown into the soil in early spring, the seeding rate is about 200 seeds per 1 square meter. In the first year, dense juicy greens will grow, which are sometimes used as green manure, plowing into the soil to increase fertility, as is done, for example, with white mustard. And the sweet clover will bloom only next year. From the buds of renewal remaining on the root, stems will again appear, on which flowers will open in summer. And bees and bumblebees will start circling above them.
Melilot also has one more property useful for gardeners and summer residents, farmers: like most legumes, it ties small nodules on its roots, in which bacteria live, capable of fixing nitrogen from the air and converting it into compounds available for assimilation by plants. As a result, fertility rises in the fields or beds where the sweet clover grew.
This listing of the beneficial properties of sweet clover is enough to grow it in fields and gardens. However, it also has medicinal benefits.
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Medicinal properties of sweet clover
The Latin name of the plant is Melilotus officinalis, in which the first word says that it belongs to the genus of sweet clover, and the second one indicates a specific species and means “medicinal” in Russian. This means that a very long time ago, people noticed the ability of this plant to heal diseases. What kind of ailments helps to drive away sweet clover?
Here I want to tell you about a meeting that happened one summer. I walked along a dirt road that ran parallel to the railroad embankment. Among the lush forbs on the side of the road stood out tall, succulent plants of flowering sweet clover. And in the midst of this exuberant flowering, I saw an old friend who cut off the upper parts of this plant with a sickle and put them in a bag. I asked if he had a goat?
He explained that he collects the grass for himself - he will be treated. It turned out that his rheumatism worsened, so he prepares a sweet clover, then he brews it in a basin with boiling water, insists for a while, and then pours it into the bath and sits down there himself. He noted that he was experiencing noticeable relief after this procedure. His mother was still treated in this way, from her he learned about this property of sweet clover.
True, my mother did not have a bath in the village, she simply prepared an herbal infusion of sweet clover and with the lotions of this infusion treated the joints inflamed with rheumatism. He also explained that it is necessary to collect sweet clover grass for medicinal purposes during its flowering period. To obtain raw materials, cut off flower brushes and tops of shoots with leaves. So he armed himself for this purpose with a sickle.
I asked: what if rheumatism gets sick in the fall, winter or spring? He replied that the sweet clover should be stored for future use: collect the grass with flowers and dry it under a canopy in the shade, scattering it in a thin layer and stirring it regularly so that it doesn’t rip. Then it will dry well and retain the bright color of the leaves and the color of the flowers. The finished raw material has the aroma of fresh hay. Then at any time you can brew dry herb and use it as directed. And then the pain will recede, because sweet clover has anti-inflammatory properties. The raw materials prepared in this way can be stored for up to two years.
Sweet clover is used in folk and traditional medicine not only for the treatment of rheumatism and other rheumatic diseases. It is also used as an antiseptic, wound healing, sedative and pain reliever. It is recommended to use sweet clover as an anticonvulsant, and is also used for angina pectoris and thrombosis of the coronary vessels, for migraine, insomnia, upper respiratory tract diseases, cystitis.
Such properties are determined by its rich chemical composition. Sweet clover herb and its flowers contain coumarin, tannins, coumaric acid, purine derivatives, protein, essential oils and other useful substances. The most valuable is coumarin. Research by scientists has shown that this substance, contained in melilot, depresses the central nervous system, helping to prevent seizures.
It improves blood flow, blood pressure and brain activity. The dicamarin released from the melilot is an anticoagulant, it lowers blood clotting, and therefore is used in the treatment of thrombophlebitis. Coumarin is also used for leukopenia to increase the number of leukocytes.
The sweet clover grass and its flowers also contain mucous substances, which have a softening and enveloping effect. From the resins available in them, pharmacists are now making a melilot patch, which helps to dissolve and open up abscesses and tumors.
Melilot also contains saponins, which have general tonic, diaphoretic, anti-inflammatory and diuretic effects.
In traditional medicine, its herb is mainly used for gynecological diseases and as an effective laxative, and in folk medicine - sweet clover has long been used in the form of infusions, tinctures, decoctions, teas, and outwardly these decoctions and infusions are used in the form of baths, compresses, ointments, lotions for washing the inflamed areas of the body and relieving inflammatory processes in the joints, as well as for the treatment of abscesses, boils. Here is one of the recipes for such an infusion for external use: pour 30 g of grass with a glass of boiling water and leave to infuse for half an hour. Then it must be filtered and used for compresses, lotions in the treatment of articular rheumatism, boils and abscesses.
And finely chopped and crumpled fresh leaves of sweet clover are used in compresses. They soften swellings and draw pus out of abscesses and wounds.
As a sedative, you can take a sedative infusion inside.
To prepare it, take 2 teaspoons of dry melilot herb, crushed into powder, pour 400 ml (two glasses) of cold boiled water into them and leave to infuse for two hours in a sealed container. Then it is filtered and taken 2-3 times a day for half a glass. This infusion helps in the treatment of hypertension, headache and insomnia. This infusion is contraindicated with increased leukocyte counts.
Decoction for insomnia
To obtain it, take the raw materials of two plants - melilot and hops: 1 teaspoon of dry chopped herbs of sweet clover and 1 teaspoon of hop cones are placed in a container and pour boiling water (250 ml). Put on the stove and then boil for five minutes. Then remove from the stove and set aside for an hour, then strain. Take before meals three times a day for a quarter of a glass (50 ml).
To obtain it, 2 teaspoons of dry herb clover officinalis are poured with half a liter of vodka and insisted for half a month in a dark place. Then take 5-10 drops of tincture for insomnia, headaches, neurasthenia, hysterics.
Melilotus officinalis is considered a conditionally poisonous plant, and experts call white melilot poisonous. Only experienced healers can make preparations from it.
Therefore, all preparations from the melilot clover must be prepared according to a strict dosage, if you do not adhere to it and take a lot of decoction or infusion of clover at once, then liver damage and even paralysis are possible. There may be insomnia, headache, vomiting. Traditional healers do not recommend adults to take more than two glasses of broth or infusion per day.
And it is better not to prepare preparations from white sweet clover yourself.
Melilotus officinalis is contraindicated in pregnancy and lactation, as well as in kidney disease and with reduced blood coagulation.
It is also important to properly dry the clover. If moisture gets on it and it rots, then the content of dicoumarin, which is an anticoagulant, will greatly increase in it, i.e. reduces blood coagulation. And, therefore, using such a herb, you can get hemorrhage.
In any case, drugs from the medicinal clover, which helps in the treatment of many ailments, should be taken orally only after consulting a doctor.