Melilot plant - Melilotus Officinalis syn. M. Arvensis (Fabaceae)

Medicinal Use of Melilot – Melilotus Officinalis syn. M. Arvensis (Fabaceae)


Biennial herb growing to about 3 ft (1 m). Has 3-lobed leaves, spikes of yellow flowers, and brown seedpods.

Habitat & Cultivation

Melilot is native to Europe, North Africa, and temperate regions of Asia, and is naturalized in North America. It grows in dry and open areas. It is harvested in late spring.

Parts Used

Aerial parts.


Melilot contains flavonoids, coumarins, resin, tannins, and volatile oil. If allowed to spoil, the plant produces dicoumarol, a powerful anticoagulant.

History & Folklore

The Irish herbalist K’Eogh reported in 1735, “a gentlewoman of my acquaintance … had a swelling for a year or more on her right side, which was cured by three or four times rubbing the grieved part with an oil made of this herb.”

Medicinal Actions & Uses

As with horse chestnut (Aesculus hippocastanum), long-term use of melilot—internally or externally—can help varicose veins and hemorrhoids. Melilot also helps reduce the risk of phlebitis and thrombosis. The plant is mildly sedative and antispasmodic, and is given for insomnia (especially in children) and anxiety. It has been used to treat flatulence, indigestion, bronchitis, problems associated with menopause, and rheumatic pains.


Do not take melilot if using anticoagulants. If harvested from the wild, melilot should be dried or used immediately, as the spoiled plant is toxic.