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The German name Wundklee already shows that this plant was used in medical history to treat wounds - the Latin name Anthyllis vulneraria also refers to this. He also served as a cough suppressant.
Wound clover fact sheet
- Surname: Wundklee
- Scientific name: Anthyllis vulneraria
- family: Fabaceae / butterfly flower
- Common names: Fir clover, bear claws, Frauenkäppli, Our Lady, bear clover, mountain cabbage, gold button, rabbit clover, cotton wool, cotton clover, Russian clover, sheep tooth, beard clover, pharmacist clover, summer clover, Kretzenkraut, cat clover, cat tapes, cat flap, cat flap
- application areas:
- External wounds such as abrasions and redness
- Bruises and sprains
- Cough medicine
- Parts of plants used: Flowers and leaves
Wundklee contains tannins (0.6 percent tannins, probably of the catechin type), saponins, flavonoids, isoflavonoids and plant mucus.
The leaves and flowers have an astringent effect due to the tannins, inhibit inflammation and help with the formation of scars. The plant is believed to be diuretic, relieve cough and cleanse the blood. However, valid studies on this are missing, so you should limit yourself to external applications. Ethanolic extracts from Anthyllis vulneraria have been used in traditional medicine to contain the human herpes virus 1 and the poliovirus 2.
The flowers were and are used in folk medicine to treat wounds as well as high blood pressure, heart failure, vomiting, inflammation, acne and metabolic disorders, as well as for poisoning.
Wound clover extracts are used as a means to heal mouth and throat inflammation, relieve sore throat and promote hair growth. Although there are no comprehensive studies on this, the bioactive substances (phenolic acids, flavonoids, carotenoids, tannins and saponins) make many of these effects likely.
Wound clover can be used to wash away abrasions and small wounds. Five grams of the flowers and leaves draw on 100 milliliters of water. This brew is also suitable for soaked compresses, which you put on the affected areas to relieve sprains, bruises, mild skin infections (acne), insect bites, sunburn and other light burns.
In a 2012 study, the scientists examined the phenols, flavonoids and proanthocyanides in Anthyllis vulneraria and the antioxidative activity of extracts from the plant's polyphenols, flavonoids and tannins. The study shows that the flowers and leaves of Anthyllis vulneraria have antioxidant effects.
The quantitative survey showed that the flowers and leaves of Anthyllis vulneraria are rich in polyphenols. The extract from the flowers had the highest content. This also had the highest concentration of flavonoids. The leaves, however, had the highest content of proanthocyanidin.
Flavonoids, proanthocynidines and polyphenols have now been extracted. All of these extracts had a clear effect on trapping free radicals. Anthyllis vulneraria is therefore a valuable natural antioxidant and can play an important role in protecting the body against free radicals.
Flowers look stronger than leaves
A study published in 2018 confirmed the antioxidative effects. Accordingly, the flowers of Anthyllis vulneraria have the largest proportion of polyphenols and flavonoids in the plant, and extracts from the flowers have the strongest effect of absorbing and reducing free radicals of all parts of the plant.
In addition, the leaves had a strong antioxidant effect only at the beginning of the oxidation process, but the flowers also in the further course. The oxidation of lipids in oil-in-water emulsions and raw beef patties was tested. The result is that the biologically active extracts from Wundklee can be used in food, cosmetics and the pharmaceutical industry to promote health.
Wundklee is a perennial plant that grows herb-like and varies in height between five and about 40 centimeters. The rhizome forms branches and many heads. The stems are upright. The leaves are basic with up to four pairs of leaves, some of which have already fallen off during flowering. The end papers grow up to eight centimeters. Two to seven pairs of leaves are formed on each stem. The leaves have an elliptical shape.
The golden yellow flowers are in many-headed flower heads and have a crown up to 19 millimeters long. The goblet is hairy, white-shaggy and with uneven teeth. The clover blooms from June to September. The stamens grow into a tube, and the nectar is only accessible to specialized insects with a long trunk.
The real Wundklee populates all of Europe and North Africa. It grows preferentially on dry meadows, semi-dry lawns, on the wayside, on embankments and in quarries. He likes dunes on the coast. It loves calcareous soil and can be found from the beach to the mountains.
Protection against erosion
Wundklee is a deep root. The bacteria in the root tubers bind nitrogen, thus enriching the soil and ensuring that other plants can colonize. Therefore, the plant is one of the most important fortifications to protect soil from erosion. Anthyllis vulneraria is therefore cultivated specifically on earth demolitions and road embankments to prevent landslides.
The plant is a typical pioneer plant for nutrient-poor soils. Therefore, it cannot tolerate over-fertilization and is declining in Central Europe. Another reason for the decrease in stock is the decline in sheep farming, especially in mobile sheep farming. Wundklee is a typical inhabitant of areas that are used by wandering shepherds.
Ethnomedicine and Mythology
The Greek doctor Dioskurides mentioned the wound clover in the first century with the name Anthyllis. According to the Swiss pastor Johann Künzle, this went back to the Greek queen Anthyllis, who would have prepared an ointment from the plant. Evidence for this claim is missing. Wundklee was widely used in folk medicine to treat skin ulcers and wounds. This is probably not due to common ideas, but to the real abilities of saponins and tannins - the plant is used as a skin medicine in both North Africa and Central Europe, without any cultural connections.
Regional names indicate the importance of wound healing: wound clover in Silesia, curly herb in Bern, wound root in St. Gallen. In the magical ideas of early modern times, the plant was considered a magic herb. So it should protect children in the cradle from witches.
Wundklee as a home remedy
You should keep the collected flowers and leaves separate and only mix them when you prepare a tea. Wundklee is a feed and food plant and you can easily prepare it as a salad, juice or ointment (with lard). For a tea, brew a tablespoon of the dried flowers with 250 milliliters of hot water. This allows you to gargle mucous membrane problems in the mouth and throat several times a day. Wundklee works very well in combination with ribwort plantain to treat external wounds.
Wundklee - outdoor
Wundklee is particularly suitable as first aid on the go, such as when hiking. If you get small injuries, due to thorns, cuts or insect bites and are on extensive pastures or on lean meadows, the clover is often the first choice. You can then squeeze the fresh juice directly onto the affected area. The juice especially relieves the pain of blisters on the feet.
Wundklee in the natural garden
Wundklee is a valuable plant in the natural garden because it provides food for wild bumblebees and other insects. However, you usually have to prepare the garden a bit, since our soils usually contain too much nutrients for such pioneer plants. Make sure you choose a very sunny location. Wundklee loves sun, light and dryness on calcareous soils. It does not grow in the shade and does not tolerate waterlogging. As a balcony plant, it is only very suitable as a deep-rooting plant.
They sow in early spring because it is a cold germ. If you choose to grow on the windowsill, you have to cool the seeds for up to six weeks at temperatures of minus three and plus three degrees, only then can you warm the seeds. They then need two months to germinate there.
Once in the ground, sore clover is very easy to care for. You don't have to fertilize, more than that, you should refrain from it, and the plant can also survive longer periods of drought. The clover is biennial and hardy. The herb reproduces through seeds. At natural gardeners you can get common wound clover either in seed mixtures (hem biotopes, butterfly / wild bee hem, etc.) or as a single plant. Make sure that the mixtures contain only native wildflowers from proven origins. (Dr. Utz Anhalt)
Author and source information
This text corresponds to the requirements of the medical literature, medical guidelines and current studies and has been checked by medical doctors.
- Hiller, Karl; Melzig, Matthias: Lexicon of Medicinal Plants and Drugs, Volume 1 to K, Spectrum, 2000
- Ghalem, Meriem; Merghache, Salima; Said, Ghalem et al .: Phenolic contents and in - vitro antioxidant activity of some secondary metabolites of Anthyllis vulneraria L. from Algeria, in: International Journal of Medicine and Pharmaceutical Sciences (IJMPS), Volume 2, Issue 3, December 2012,, researchgate
- Ouerfelli, Manel; Bed Ka Ben, Leila; Almajano, Mariapilar: Radical Scavenging and Antioxidant Activity of Anthyllis Vulneraria Leaves and Flowers, in: Molecules, Volume 23, Issue7, Jul 2018, Published online 07.07.2018, mdpi