Munson Health
 
Sweet Clover

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Alternate Names :

  • Melilot
 

Uses

 

Principal Proposed Uses

  • None
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.)
 

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.
 

Interactions You Should Know About

If you are taking blood-thinning drugs such as warfarin (Coumadin), heparin , clopidogrel (Plavix), pentoxifylline (Trental ) or drugs in the aspirin family, you should not use sweet clover.
 

References

1
Blumenthal M, ed. The Complete German Commission E Monographs: Therapeutic Guide to Herbal Medicines. Austin, TX: American Botanical Council; 1999, P218-P219.

2
Bruneton J . Pharmacognosy, Phytochemistry, Medicinal Plants . 2nd Ed. Paris, France: Lavoisier Publishing; 1999,269-271.

3
Casley-Smith JR. Benzo-pyrones in the treatment of lymphoedema. Int Angiol . 1999;18:31-41.

4
Casley-Smith JR, Casley-Smith JR. Modern treatment of lymphoedema. II. The benzopyrones. Australas J. Dermatol . 1992;33:69-74.

5
Knight KR, Hurley JV, Hickey MI, et al. Combined coumarin and omental transfer treatments for canine proximal obstructive lymphoedema. Int J Exp Pathol . 1991;72:533-542.

6
Desprez-Curely JP, Cluzan R, Pecking A. Benzopyrones and post-mastectomy lymphedemas. Double-blind trial placebo versus sustained release coumarin with trioxyethylrutin (ter). In: Progress in Lymphology X: Proceedings of the Xth International Congress of Lymphology; 1985; Adelaide, South Australia.

7
Piller NB, Morgan RG, Casley-Smith JR. Double-blind trial of 5,6 benzo-[alpha]-pyrone in human lymphoedema. In: Progress in Lymphology X: Proceedings of the Xth International Congress of Lymphology; 1985; Adelaide, South Australia.

8
Blumenthal M, ed. The Complete German Commission E Monographs: Therapeutic Guide to Herbal Medicines. Austin, TX: American Botanical Council; 1999, P218-P219.

9
Blumenthal M, ed. The Complete German Commission E Monographs: Therapeutic Guide to Herbal Medicines. Austin, TX: American Botanical Council; 1999, P218-P219.

 

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