Synonyms: none
Scientific Name: Anthyllis vulneraria L.
Family: Pea family (Leguminosae/Fabaceae)


Kidney Vetch is a native of Southern Europe but is now found throughout the whole of Europe, Western Asia, North Africa and America.


Small amounts of saponins and tannins, xanthophyll, organic pigments.


From the distance you think you are looking at a sea of yellowish-orange flowerheads hovering over richly green pinnate leaf rosettes. A closer look reveals that the flowers are actually yellow and turn orange-brown as they fade. Anthyllis (also known as Kidney Vetch) can reach a height of 15 to 35 cm (6 to 14 inches). The stems are frequently prostrate but also often raise themselves upwards presenting to the onlooker the dense clusters of yellow papillonaceous flowers which can be seen from April to June. A striking feature of the plant is that all parts are softly hairy. The chalk-loving plant is found on untilled fields and clover fields, by the wayside and on sunny slopes but never where the soil is overfertilized. A special feature of anthyllis is the marked variability of its appearance depending on the site, an expression of its pronounced adaptability.


As the specific name vulneraria (Vulnus = wound) indicates, anthyllis is used in traditional medicine for wounds. It is also sometimes used in teas for coughs, frostbite, sore throat and for blood cleansing. It generally promotes the elimination processes of the body.

Interesting Facts

The scientific name of the plant is derived from its appearance and use: anthos = flower, ioulos = down and vulnus = wound together give a softly hairy flowering plant used for wounds. The common name derives from the fact that the plant was also used for kidney troubles.

Anthyllis probably only gained significance in Germany in the course of the 16th century and was valued in traditional use for wounds.

The caterpillar of the smallest butterfly in Germany, the Small Blue (Cupido minimus), feeds on anthyllis. Anthyllis and Bladder Senna are the only plants they eat. Wild bees also value anthyllis as a source of nectar.

The Plant at Dr. Hauschka Skin Care

On account of its positive influence on the skin, anthyllis is one of the key plants in Dr. Hauschka Skin Care and is contained in many of the face care products and decorative cosmetics.