Sweet clover, long popular as food for grazing animals, is used medicinally as well. It contains various substances in the coumarin family. These chemicals are thought to help strengthen the walls of blood and lymph vessels. However there is no more than preliminary evidence that sweet clover is effective for any medical condition. In addition, use of sweet clover presents some safety concerns. (See Safety Issues for more information.)

The name Melilotus originates from the Greek word for honey, meli, and a term for clover-like plants, lotos. There are four common species in this genus of Eurasian origins: Melilotus alba, M. indica, M. officinalis, and M. altissimus.

The fresh or dried leaves and flowering stems of sweet clover were traditionally used as a diuretic.