Lotus corniculatus / Gewone rolklaver / Lotier corniculé

Gewone rolklaver, Lotus corniculatus L., is een algemene soort uit de Vlinderbloemenfamilie of Fabaceae. Het is een meerjarige soort met een forse penwortel, die niet uitloopt.

De stengels van Gewone rolklaver zijn liggend tot opstijgend, waardoor de plant tot een hoogte van 25 cm kan reiken. De kleur van stengel en bladeren zijn wat blauwachtig groen. De verspreid staande oneven geveerde bladeren zij vijftallig, waarbij de onderste twee deelblaadjes op de plaats lijken te staan van de steunblaadjes, namelijk onder aan de steel, dicht bij de stengel. Maar er zijn weldegelijk aparte steunblaadjes aanwezig maar die zijn erg klein en vallen nauwelijks op. Zijnerven zijn in de deelblaadjes niet te onderscheiden.

De goudgele bloemen staan in een hoofdjesachtige bloeiwijze bijeen en hebben een drietallig schutblad. Als de bloemen nog in de knop zijn, zijn ze vaak rood van kleur. De kelktanden van de knoppen zijn naar elkaar toegebogen. Negen meeldraden zijn met elkaar vergroeid, maar de tiende, bovenste meeldraad is vrij. De bloemen produceren nectar en trekken hommels en bijen aan die voor de bestuiving en de bevruchting zorgen. Ze drukken daarbij de kiel van het scheepje naar beneden en de helmknoppen en de stijl kunnen dan tegen de onderbuik wrijven. Het bovenstandig vruchtbeginsel ontwikkelt zich dan tot een rolronde peul. Deze kan bij rijpheid donkerpaarsbruin tot zwart kleuren en springt met twee kleppen open. Naar die rolronde peul zijn de rolklavers in het Nederlands genoemd.

Lotus corniculatus médicinal.

Les propriétés du lotier corniculé ont été découvertes en 1948 par un médecin français, Dr Henri Leclerc. Les études scientifiques ont confirmé par la suite les vertus sédatives et antispasmodiques de cette jolie fleur jaune.

Des principes actifs identifiés
À la suite d’un article paru dans la Revue de Phytothérapie, le Professeur Paul Guérin, doyen de la faculté de Pharmacie, confirma la présence de substances cyanogénétiques. Ce sont ces mêmes substances sédatives qui se trouvent dans la passiflore, autre plante du calme et du sommeil. Le lotier est riche en flavonoïdes, alcaloïdes qui donnent sa couleur jaune à la fleur. Or, les scientifiques supposent que l’action anti-dépressive de la gentiane et du millepertuis, jaunes eux aussi, sont dus à leurs flavonoïdes.

Les grandes indications
Plante calmante et très douce, le lotier corniculé est utilisé contre la plupart des états nerveux et spasmodiques :
- anxiété
- insomnie et troubles du sommeil
- angoisse
- vertiges
- dépression
- nervosité
- palpitations et spasmes.

Le très grand avantage du lotier corniculé est de calmer les sensations d’énervement, les palpitations et tous les états incontrôlables tout en laissant l’esprit clair, lucide.
Où ? Quand ? Comment ? Combien ?
Le lotier corniculé, sous forme de plante sèche ou de gélules, se trouve surtout dans les herboristeries, dans les magasins de produits naturels et par correspondance. Il existe aussi de la teinture-mère et des extraits liquides ou des préparations complexes. Dans tous les cas, préférez des plantes issues de l’Agriculture Biologique.

Le lotier corniculé peut être utilisé en teinture-mère, en gélules, en infusion, ou en préparation pharmaceutique (Antinerveux Lesourd à base de lotier et de mélilot).

Les bonnes associations
Le lotier corniculé peut être pris avec d’autres plantes sédatives comme l’aubépine, le tilleul ou la passiflore, de façon à augmenter la synergie entre ces fleurs apaisantes. Mais il peut aussi être pris avec du mélilot, surtout quand la nervosité est associée à une mauvaise circulation ou liée à la ménopause.

Vet Parasitol. 2003 Feb 28;112(1-2):147-55.The effect of birdsfoot trefoil (Lotus corniculatus) and chicory (Cichorium intybus) on parasite intensities and performance of lambs naturally infected with helminth parasites.Marley CL1, Cook R, Keatinge R, Barrett J, Lampkin NH.
Conventionally, farmers rely upon the routine use of anthelmintics to control helminth parasites and their use has proved highly cost-effective. However, several factors, including the emergence of helminths resistant to pharmaceutical anthelmintics, are forcing farmers to seek alternative approaches to parasite control. Studies in New Zealand have shown that some alternative forages may reduce parasitic infestation in sheep. In the current study, it was found that under UK environmental conditions lambs with naturally acquired helminth infections grazing chicory (Cichorium intybus) and birdsfoot trefoil (Lotus corniculatus) had fewer helminth parasites than sheep grazing ryegrass/white clover (Lolium perenne/Trifolium repens). Twelve pure-bred Lleyn male lambs grazed replicated 0.5ha plots of birdsfoot trefoil, chicory or ryegrass/white clover for 5 weeks. Liveweight and faecal egg counts (FECs) were determined weekly and eight lambs per forage were slaughtered at the end of the trial to determine total helminth intensities. Lambs grazing birdsfoot trefoil had a lower FEC on day 7 (P<0.05) and fewer total adult helminths than those grazing the other forages on day 35 (P<0.01). Lambs grazing chicory did not have significantly lower FEC than lambs grazing other forages but these lambs were found to have fewer total adult abomasal helminths than lambs grazing ryegrass/white clover (P<0.001). As the performance of grazing lambs is inversely correlated with the intensity of helminth parasites, these alternative forages could be used to improve the liveweight gain of lambs produced in the UK. Overall, the results support the contention that alternative forages could have a positive role in the control of helminth parasites in sheep, subject to successful agronomic development and integration of these forages into whole farm systems.

Monograph Bird's foot trefoil

Bird's foot trefoil has been associated with possessing several medicinal properties. These properties were discovered in by the French herbalist Henri Leclerc in the 19th century. Leclerc suggested eyewash made from the sweet clover to a country woman for the treatment of conjunctivitis who in addition, suffered from a nervous condition that induced sleeplessness and heart palpitations in herb. The distraught country woman made a tea of bird's foot trefoil mistaking it for sweet clover and drank the tea. One result of this mistake was that the nervous problems afflicting are reportedly vanished within a week. Leclerc immediately studied the properties of the bird's foot trefoil and began to use the herb to treat patients with nervous disorders.

The bird's foot trefoil is used as a fodder and forage plant in North America to this day and it may have been brought over exactly for this purpose early in colonial times. Cotton and woolen fabrics manufactured in North America were once dyed using blue and yellow dyes obtained from the leaves and the flowering tops of the bird's foot herb. The flowers are stated as being good for bee keepers and an excellent honey is obtained from apiaries where bird's foot is the flower of choice.


The remedies made from the bird's foot trefoil is classified by herbalist as possessing an anti-spasmodic and sedative effect and these remedies are recommend for the treatment of problems such as heart palpitations, persistent and chronic nervousness, long term depression, and sleep disorders such as insomnia. No specific scientific verification for these supposed benefits of the herb exists.
In agriculture, bird’s foot is generally grown in the form of a forage plant - mainly for hay, pasture and silage. Scientists have developed a number of cultivars that grow quite tall for this purpose. In places where the soil condition is not fertile, bird’s foot may be grown as a substitute for alfalfa. In some places in Northern America as well as in Australia, this plant has turned out to be invasive spices.

One variety of bird’s foot bears double flowers and is cultivated in the form of an ornamental plant. In addition, the bird’s foot plant is a vital source of nectar for several insects and many Lepidoptera species like Six-spot Burnet which use this plant a source of larval food. In Europe, florists often use the blooms of bird’s foot in wildflower mixes.

The trefoil of fresh bird’s foot plants encloses cyanogenic glycosides. When macerated, these cyanogenic glycosides yield little quantities of hydrogen cyanide. However, usually this is not toxic for humans, because the dosage is very small and our body can metabolize cyanide comparatively rapidly. In addition, Lotus Corniculatus also contains condensed tannins and these are said to enhance the assimilation of proteins in the small intestine. The bird’s foot plant can be effectively used in the form of a tranquilizer.

As far as the language of flowers is concerned, the bird’s foot is among the rare plants whose blooms have a negative implication, as they are a symbol of revenge or vengeance.

Lotus corniculatus ad praeparationes homoeopathicas

Whole, fresh, blooming plant, Lotus corniculatus L.
Macroscopic and microscopic characters described under identification tests A and B.
A. Herbaceous plant, 10-40 cm high with a hard rootstock and ligneous taproot. Full stem, lying or
ascendant. Leaf composed of 3 leaflets obovate or oblong with oval stipules. Flowers in clusters
of 3-6, on stalks much longer than the leaf. Bell-shaped calyx with even teeth, triangular and
awl-like, erect-connivent as long as the tube. Yellow zygomorphic corolla, often marked with
orange and reddish spots, presenting obovate wings and a keel bent at nearly right angle.
B. Take a fragment of abaxial epidermis from the leaflet. Examine under a microscope using chloral
hydrate solution R: lamina epidermis composed of polygonal cells with sinuous cell-walls, slightly
thickened at each angle, numerous anisocytic stomata (2.8.3) and scarce covering trichomes
with echinulate cell-walls, lying parallel to the epidermis, bicellular, straight and tapered, about
400 µm long; midrib epidermis composed of rectangular to parallelipipedic cells and covering
trichomes; covering trichomes of the leaf margin all oriented towards the petiole; palisade
parenchyma within the lower epidermis.
Foreign matter (2.8.2): maximum 5 per cent.
Loss on drying (2.2.32): minimum 60.0 per cent, determined on 5.0 g of finely-cut drug, by drying
in an oven at 105 °C for 2 h.

Bird's-foot trefoil mother tincture complies with the requirements of the general technique for the
ANSM preparation of mother tinctures (see Homoeopathic Preparations (1038) and French
Pharmacopoeia Supplement). The mother tincture is prepared with ethanol (65 per cent V/V), using
the whole, fresh, blooming plant, Lotus corniculatus L.
Content: minimum 0.10 per cent m/m of total flavonoids, expressed as quercitrin (C21H20O11;
Mr 448.4).
Appearance: greenish-brown liquid.
Thin-layer chromatography (2.2.27).
Test solution. Mother tincture.
Reference solution. Dissolve 10 mg of hyperoside R, 10 mg of quercitrin R and 10 mg of rutin R in
20 mL of methanol R.
Plate: TLC silica gel plate R.
Mobile phase: anhydrous formic acid R, water R, ethyl acetate R (10:10:80 V/V/V).
Application: 20 µL as bands.
Development: over a path of 10 cm.
Drying: in air.