The pea/legume family (Fabaceae) includes a large number of species, with an intensive agricultural use. Distinguish the species cultivated for their beans (chickpeas, peas, …) used in human diet; of forage species (alfalfa, clovers, …) used to feed livestock.
Inside this last group are the Bird’s foot trefoil. It is a cosmopolitan species that grows mainly in temperate climates, sunny and wet spaces, but tolerates summer drought and salinity (in moderation). It adapts well to a wide range of soils, can be found in cultivated fields and grazing areas, … … roadsides and even in rocky areas. Can also be found as an ornamental plant, as part of some urban parks and gardens. It is a subshrub plant, perennial and herbaceous, woody at the base, with procumbent or ascending stems, branched, 10-80cm tall, and circular section. The specimens cultivated in meadows, or grassy places, are usually glabrous or glabrescents, however, which grow in less favorable sites, develop less, and covering of pilosity. It’s a monoicous plant with hermaphrodite flowers, and presents a taproot. Presents trifoliate composite leaves, sparse, with three leaflets and two stipules at the base of petiole (often confused for two more leaflets). The leaflets have an obovat shape, with rounded apex (not pointed) and attenuated the base, the margin smooth or integer. The two stipules are slightly lanceolated. Flowering between March and September (spring and summer). The small flowers grouped in inflorescences indeterminated or racemose, type umbels of up to 8 flowers, so close that seem born of the same point and placed at the same level. It has a well differentiated perianth, with a gamosepal calyx, bell-shaped formed by five equal sepals, and a dialipetala corolla of 5 petals, intense yellow, orange or reddish tones according to the subspecies. Their flowers are zygomorphic, and have a specialized structure. The upper petal, called the>, is large and envelops the rest of the petals in bud, often reflexing when the flower blooms. The two adjacent petals, the>, surround the two bottom petals. The two bottom petals are fused together at the apex (remaining free at the base), forming a boat-like structure called the>. The androecium consists of 10 diadelphous stamens, one free and the other soldiers by their filaments forming a tube around the pistil. The gynoecium is monocarpous or unicarpellate , with one super multi-ovulated ovary, where the style emerged, placing the stigma above the anthers of the stamens, to facilitate pollination. Presents a cross-pollination entomophilous by insects. The fruit is a legume (simple and dehiscent fruit) straight and thin, brown and 2-4cm in length.>, refers to the shape of horns that ends with the apex of these legumes. Take the form characteristic of a bird’s leg, whose character takes its common name in English “bird’s foot trefoil”. The legumes containing numerous seeds (between 10 and 30) inside. Once matured, the legumes open in two valves, by the ventral suture line and the center nerve, expelling the seeds. In fitotherapy used, principally the flowers, but also described the use of the entire plant. In the collection of inflorescences cut the heads that hold the wreaths of flowers, so that all joints are well taken. They are distributed on extended papers in aerated and shaded sites, without pile. Once dry stored in canvas bags very bushy, the receipt of light and moisture. Contains abundant phenolic and flavònics glycosides, and a lesser proportion of cianogenètics compounds (linamarina and lotaustralina). Popularly is credited with a tranquilizing effect (sedative and hypnotic) and spasmolytic, and a topical anti-inflammatory action. It can be taken in infusion, powder, tincture, extract or syrup.
The infusion or tisane prepared with a dessert spoon of dry plant extract per cup, in boiling water for 10 minutes; taking 3-4 cups a day, before meals and bedtime. Over the years, several laboratories have commercialized preparations of this plant (extract nebulised, flowers and roots chopped into capsules,…), such Bromatos S.A., Bellsolà S.A. or Soria Natural S.A. among others. Currently in disuse, has been used traditionally for the treatment of neurovegetative dystonias, anxiety, insomnia, tachycardia, depression, migraines; gastrointestinal spasms, dysmenorrhea, hypertension, … The french medical and botanist Henri Leclerc (1874 – 1955) discovered, by chance, the spasmolytic and sedative properties of this plant. When asked by a peasant, from the French people Chars, affected by conjunctivitis, and at the same times of nervous disorders (insomnia and palpitations). Leclerc advised her to gather Meliloti (>) to prepare an infusion, to wash their eyes. But the woman, ignorant of herbs, was collected by mistake the Bird’s foot trefoil, in place of Meliloti (both species belong to the same family). Distracted, she prepared the tisane and drank it, instead of using it as an eye drops. His conjunctivitis did not improve, with the Leclerc remedy, however, … … obtained a significant improvement of their status nervous, in less than a week she regained sleep, and noticed how their heart rate normalizes. This unexpected result encouraged Leclerc to study the pharmacological properties of Bird’s foot trefoil, and tried the same remedy, with success, to treat patients with other nervous disorders. This tisane provides a quiet and restful sleep in mild cases of insomnia.
It is a remedy, with spasmolytic and hypnotic action. This video are released under a CC by-nc-sa 3.0 license