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MoonDragon's Health & Wellness
Nutrition Basics

Herbs
BIRDS FOOT
Trefoil

(Lotus Corniculatus)


For Informational Use Only
For more detailed information contact your health care provider
about options that may be available for your specific situation.





  • Birds Foot Herbal Description
  • Birds Foot Uses, Health Benefits & Scientific Evidence
  • Birds Foot Dosage Information
  • Birds Foot Safety, Cautions & Interactions
  • Birds Foot Supplements & Products




  • bird's foot - lotus corniculatus plant


    BIRDS FOOT HERBAL DESCRIPTION

    Birds Foot (Lotus corniculatus) is also known as Trefoil, Birds Foot Trefoil annd Birdfoot Deervetch.

    The plant has had many common English names in Britain, which are now mostly out of use. These names were often connected with the yellow and orange color of the flowers, e.g. 'butter and eggs'. One name that is still used is Eggs and Bacon (or Bacon and eggs).

    Birds Foot is a common flowering perennial herbal plant in the pea family Fabaceae, native to grassland in temperate Eurasia and North Africa. It is also cultivated in North America, being introduced into North America during the colonial period. The herb can now be found growing in the wild locally from Newfoundland all the way south to Virginia, in the west in Ohio and Minnesota and in north-eastern Texas as well as along the Pacific Coast in the extreme west.

    This plant is similar in appearance to some clovers. It stands 6 to 24 inches high and has many stems with numerous small yellow to orange flower heads clustered at the ends of long stalks which produce small, slender pea-like seedpods or legumes. It flowers from June until September in numerous small yellow to orange colored flower heads, forming clusters at the ends of the long stalks. The name Birds Foot is in reference to the slender seedpods on their stalk that look like a bird's foot with a peculiar hornlike tip at the end. The hooked tip is to encourage dispersion of the seedpods by animals. There are five leaflets, but with central three held conspicuously above the others, hence the use of the name Trefoil. Trefoil also refers to the plant's similarity to Red Clover which is also known as Trefoil.

    It is most often found in well-drained sandy soils in areas with good exposure to sunlight. This herb does not grow well in shaded areas. The flowers have a very powerful frangrance, however the flowers can self pollinate if required. Birds Foot can spread out in a site as it grows very freely at the roots and clusters of the plant can be expected at any particular site. Certain types of soil bacteria have a beneficial symbiotic relationship with this plant species. These soil bacteria form nodules on the roots of the plant and fix atmospheric nitrogen - thus aiding the plant in obtaining this precious nutrient. The growing plant utilizes some of this nitrogen, however, some of the fixed nitrogen is also utilized by other plants that growing near the herb.

    The herb can be propagated using the seeds. The seeds must be soaked for 24 hours in a little warm water before being sown. Seeds are normally sown in the spring or autumn in seedbeds. The germination time is about 2 to 4 weeks at an ambient temperature of 15°C on average. Pots on a cold frame can also be used to grow seeds if the supply of seeds is limited. Once the seedlings emerge and become large enough to handle by hand, each seedling can be pricked out into individual pots and then planted late in the spring or early summer at the permanent site.

    This perennial herb is highly vulnerable to plant parasites like root-knot nematode (Meloidogyne spp.) and root-lesion nematode (Pratylenchus penetrans). In addition, there are some more pests that may affect the seed crops adversely, for instance alfalfa plant bug (Adelphocoris lincolaris) and mirids (Lygus lineolaris), but these may be dealt with by using common pesticides. The seed yield of Birds Foot is also reduced by seed chalcids (also known as Bruchophagus platypterus) and this can only be taken care of by harvesting the plants quite early and also burning the remains of the plants after the harvesting is over. Doing this helps to diminish the population of seed chalcids.

    It is often used as forage and is widely used as food for livestock due to its non-bloating properties. The leaves and flowering tops were once a source of blue and yellow dyes for wool and cotton fabrics. The flowers are said as being good for bee keepers and an excellent source to make a sweet honey. It has become a flower of choice for apiaries.

    Birds Foot Trefoil has been associated with possessing several medicinal properties. In the 19th century, herbalists used Birds Foot for soothing nervous conditions when taken as a herbal tea. Birds Foot has antispasmodic and sedative properties.





    bird's foot leaves


    BIRDS FOOT USES, HEALTH BENEFITS & SCIENTIFIC EVIDENCE

    Birds Foot is used in agriculture as a forage plant, grown for pasture, hay, and silage. Taller growing cultivars have been developed for this. It may be used as an alternative to alfalfa in poor soils. It has become an invasive species in some regions of North America and Australia.

    A double flowered variety is grown as an ornamental plant. The plant is an important nectar source for many insects and is also used as a larval food plant by many species of Lepidoptera such as Six-spot Burnet. Florists often use the blooms of Birds Foot regularly as an included component of wildflower mixes in Europe.

    Birds Foot is classified by herbalists as possessing an anti-spasmodic and sedative effect and these remedies are recommended to be used in treating heart palpitations, persistent and chronic nervousness, long-term depression, sleep disorders such as insomnia though there is no scientific evidence at this time to confirm its effectiveness.

    Fresh Birds Foot Trefoil contains cyanogenic glycosides, which releases small amounts of hydrogen cyanide when macerated. This is however not normally poisonous to humans, as the dose is very low, and the metabolization of cyanide is relatively quick in our bodies. Condensed Tannins are also present in Lotus Corniculatus, which has been known to increase the protein absorption of the small intestine. Used in an infusion to avoid the creation of hydrogen cyanide this plant can be used as a sedative, a form of a tranquilizer

    As far as the language of flowers is concerned, the Birds Foot is among the rare plants whose blooms have a negative implication, as they are a symbl of revenge or vengence.





    birds foot - lotus corniculatus flower


    BIRDS FOOT DOSAGE INFORMATION

    The seedpod is used. Birds Foot comes in various forms and is an ingredient in many products. For best results, read and follow product label directions.

    Seeds are available to grow Birds Foot plants in your garden.





    birds foot - lotus corniculatus leaves


    BIRDS FOOT SAFETY, CAUTIONS & INTERACTIONS INFORMATION

    Birds Foot is generally regarded as safe when taken in the recommended doses.

    Safety in young children, pregnant or nursing women, or those with severe liver or kidney disease is not known. If you are taking any medications (prescription or over-the-counter) it is best to seek the advice of your health care provider before using Birdís-foot for the treatment of your condition.

    The Birds Foot plant contains toxic substances called cyanogenic glycosides (also known as hydrogen cyanide) and hence the entire plant is poisonous. However, when used in small amounts, hydrogen cyanide helps to promote respiration as well as enhance digestion. In addition, it is also said to be helpful in treating cancer. When used in large amounts, hydrogen cyanide may result in the failure of the respiratory system, sometimes even causing death. For cyanogenic glycosides, this single-celled plant is polymorphic (having a number of adult forms). Flowers of a number of forms of Birds Foot enclose very little quantities of prussic acid and hence the plants may turn to be toxic while they are in blossom. However, after the plants are dried, they become totally harmless.





    BIRDS FOOT HERBAL & RELATED PRODUCTS

  • Birds Foot Trefoil Herbal Products


  • QUALITY SUPPLIES & PRODUCTS


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    BIRDS FOOT TREFOIL HERBAL PRODUCTS

    AMAZON PRODUCTS

    Amazon: Birdsfoot Trefoil Herbal, Garden Plants & Seeds Products


    Amazon: Birdsfoot Trefoil Seeds Packet, Eden Brothers, Assorted Sizes Available

    Birds Foot Trefoil is an extremely resilient perennial wildflower that is a staple of most wildflower meadows. Attractive for sure, but hardly glamorous, this lovely flower is typically valued more as a reliable member of the chorus, than as a star performer. Its most laudable value lies in its ability to provide consistent color at an affordable price.



    Amazon: Birdsfoot Trefoil Wildflower Seeds, Gold Vault Jumbo Packet, Everwilde Farms, 2000 Seeds

    Commonly called bird's foot trefoil, this fascinating little legume is name for the shape of it's seed-pod. Birds Foot Trefoil is an extremely resilient perennial wildflower that is a staple of most wildflower meadows.



    Amazon: Golden Bird Lotus (Lotus Corniculatus), Annual, Hirt's Gardens, 30 Seeds

    Golden Bird Lotus (Lotus corniculatus 'Golden Bird') has dense silver threadlike foliage, cascading golden flowers. Can be grown in a pot or hanging basket. When planted in the ground, forms creeping mats in the garden or meadow. The buds are golden, and the seed pods are black. Best for trouble spots with poor soil. Blooms most of the summer. Color: Yellow with orange and brown Height: 12 to 24 inches Type: Perennial Sun: Full sun Soil: Dry.


  • Nutrition Basics: Birds Foot Trefoil Herbal Information






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