Melilot. Melilot herb
Specification & Spread
Melilot herb — herba meliloti
Common melilot — Melilotus officinalis (L.) Pall.
High melilot — Melilotus altissimus Thuill.
Bean family — Fabaceae
Common melilot is a biennial herb with a taproot and upright strongly branched stems 0.5-1.3 (2) m tall.
The leaves are alternate, trifoliate with lanceolate stipules, the leaves are oblong-obovate or oblong, in the upper part along the edge are finely serrate-toothed.
The flowers are small, yellow, drooping, with a moth-type corolla, gathered in dense axillary racemes 4–10 cm long. The fruit is a small, ovoid 1-2-seed bean, bare, with few transverse wrinkles.
The whole plant is very fragrant due to the coumarin it contains. The coumarin odour is enhanced by drying the aerial parts. At the time of flowering, the thickets of clover are fragrant with honey, because the flowers are rich in nectar.
It blooms in June - September, the fruits ripen from June to late autumn. High melilot is a biennial plant with a thick taproot. It differs from common melilot with short (2-5 cm long) thick brush flowers and subulate-linear stipules.
Spreading. Melilot is common throughout the European part of the country, except for the northern and northeastern regions, in the Caucasus, in Western Siberia and Central Asia. High melilot has a European type of range. It occurs mainly in Ukraine and Moldova.
Habitat. Common melilot grows in the steppe and forest-steppe zones on dry meadows, like a weed in crops, as well as along forest edges, in forest belts, along roads, often forms thickets on railway embankments, sandy shores of reservoirs, wastelands and fallow lands. Sometimes it is sown in the fields as a honey-bearing and forage plant. High melilot grows in wet meadows and pastures, in areas with disturbed sod cover. Due to the fact that it is rarely found, it is practically not harvested.
Together with common melilot and high melilot grow other species that are not allowed for harvesting and not used in medicine. White melilot (Melilotus albus Medik.) is distinguished by white flowers, jagged leaves from the base and one-piece styloid stipules. Dentated melilot is dentate (M. dentatus Pers.) has pale yellow flowers, toothed leaflets from the base, and large, narrow-lanceolate-like, enlarged and notched-toothed stipules at the base.
Sweet melilot (M. suaveolens Ledeb.) is distinguished by light yellow flowers, smaller, unclearly wrinkled net beans, strong aroma. It replaces the tributary medicinal to the east of the Yenisei.
Melilot herb contains coumarins (0.4-0.9%):
- dihydrocoumarin (melilotin),
- dicumarol and glucoside,
- acid ortho-coumaric melotozid.
It also contains:
- essential oil,
- polysaccharides (mucus),
- amino acids.
Harvesting and storage of raw materials
Harvesting. As a medicinal raw materials there are used flowering tops of plants (up to 30 cm), in which the bulk of the leaves and flowers. Usually, when harvesting, the whole plant is cut or mown, and after drying the raw material is threshed.
Drying. It is dried in attics, in sheds, under sheds with good ventilation, as well as in dryers at a temperature not higher than 40 ºС.
Storage. The herb has a strong smell, so the raw materials must be stored in a well-closed container.
External signs of raw materials
Whole raw materials.
Solid leafy flowering apical and lateral shoots with a stem up to 3 mm in diameter and up to 30 cm long. The stipules are lanceolate or subulate, almost always entire, rarely at the lowermost leaves with 1-2 cloves. Lower leaves obovate, upper - oblong or lanceolate, on the edge on both sides with 10-13 uneven cloves. The flowers are moth, small, from 5 to 7 mm long. The calyx is bell-shaped, pentadent, remaining with the fetus and naked. Sometimes there are small amounts of small immature fruits - beans from 3 to 5 mm long, unclearly netted or transversely wrinkled, naked or covered with sparse hairs. The seed is one, rarely two. The colour of the stems, calyx and fruits is green, the rims are yellow. The smell is aromatic (coumarin), the taste is bitter.
Milled raw materials.
A mixture of particles of stems, leaves, flowers and a small number of fruits up to 8 mm in size.
Properties and application
Pharmacotherapeutic group. Demulcent (local) remedy.
Application of melilot
Melilot herb is part of the softening fees for poultices, through which accelerates the resorption and opening of abscesses.
In traditional medicine it is used as:
- pain killer, calming properties of melilot. Most often melilot is used:
- in inflammatory diseases of the respiratory system,
- and also with increased excitability and insomnia.
Reduced blood clotting, pregnancy and lactation.