Herb: Annual Yellow Sweetclover

Latin name: Melilotus indicus

Synonyms: Melilotus indica

Family: Leguminosae

Medicinal use of Annual Yellow Sweetclover:

The seed is made into a gruel and used in the treatment of bowel complaints and infantile diarrhoea. The plant is discutient, emollient, astringent, strongly laxative and narcotic. It is used externally as a poultice or plaster on swellings. The plant contains coumarin, which is an anticoagulant. The plant also contains dicumarol, which is a broad spectrum bactericide.

Description of the plant:


100 cm
(3 1/4 foot)

June to

Habitat of the herb:

Fields and waste places in S. England and Wales.

Edible parts of Annual Yellow Sweetclover:

Leaves - cooked.

Other uses of the herb:

The leaves repel insects. They have been placed in beds to repel bedbugs.

Propagation of Annual Yellow Sweetclover:

Seed - sow spring to mid-summer in situ. Pre-soaking the seed for 12 hours in warm water will speed up the germination process, particularly in dry weather. Germination will usually take place within 2 weeks.

Cultivation of the herb:

Fields and waste places in S. England and Wales.

Known hazards of Melilotus indicus:

The dried leaves can be toxic, though the fresh leaves are quite safe. This is due to the presence of coumarin, the substance that gives some dried plants the smell of new mown hay. If taken internally it can prevent the blood from clotting.

Plant information taken from the Plants For A Future.