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Herb Spotlight - Red Clover

Red Clover (Trifolium pretense)

Family: Fabaceae

Part Used: Aerial Parts

Flavor/Aroma: Sweet

Energetics: Cooling


Herbal Actions: 

Alterative, Anticatarrhal4, Antispasmodic, Expectorant, Uterine Tonic1, Relaxant

Overview:

Red Clover has popularly been used in therapeutic preparations to ease the frustrating symptoms of menopause, and the physical and mental changes associated with this hormonal shift. This plant medicine is also a go-to cough remedy for folk and modern herbalists alike. Red Clover has valuable medicinal properties that should never be overlooked or underutilized.    

Botany:

Red Clover is a perennial herb with hairy, delicate stems. The leaves are smooth and notched, and slightly lighter in color toward the center of the leaflet. When in bloom, Red Clover expresses reddish-purple, aromatic flowers that express in a spiked or cone shaped arrangement.4

Cultivation and Harvesting:

Red Clover is naturalized and cultivated throughout the American nations amongst grasslands and open fields alike. It is used to replenish nutrient deficient soil, especially those low in nitrogen. Red Clover is native to Northwestern Africa, Asia, and across regions of Europe. The flowering tops are best collected when fully expressed, usually in the warmest summer months.

Southern Oregon Cultivation:

Red Clover can be spotted blooming in many wild spaces throughout the Rogue Valley. It prefers to grow in open fields, but is not shy to urban spaces such as lawns ann parks. Red Clover is an important source of pollen for our local pollinators, and should be harvested with care as to leave enough for other foragers.

History and Folklore:

Red Clover has been used as a whole-plant food, adding a sweet freshness to meals, as a remedy for liver and digestive ailments, and as a symbol for wealth, health, fame, and a faithful lover.1

European Medicinal Uses: During medieval times, Red Clover was often associated with the holy trinity and the cross.

Druids believed that the Red Clover was a symbol of protection, that it could ward off evil, and protect them from witches and spells.1 

American Native Medicinal Uses: Red Clover was commonly eaten as a nutrient dense food staple, integrated into topicals to treat burns, and used as a remedy for sore or irritated eyes.

Modern Applications:

Red Clover is indicated to support a variety of symptoms related to menopause including, insomnia, night sweats, vaginal dryness, hot flashes, painful intercourse, and fatigue. Studies suggest that it is the isoflavones that contribute most to the therapeutic effect of Red Clover during this hormonal change.2,3 It is also used to remedy a variety of respiratory disorders such as whooping cough, bronchitis, spasmodic coughs, and laryngitis. Red Clover is also supportive for measles and various types of ulcers.1,4

Uses and Preparations:

Dried Herb Tea Preparation: 

1 Tablespoon per cup of warm water.

Using a reusable tea bag or tea ball, immerse the loose dried herbs into boiling water and allow to steep for 5-10 minutes, preferably covered, in order to release the maximum amount of herbal goodness. Some herbal tea can carry a strong flavor. We recommend organic honey as a sweetener which preserves the beneficial herbal compounds. 

Tincture: 

 2-4 mL up to 4 times per day.

Some herbal tinctures can have a strong flavor on their own. Adding your tincture to a glass of 6-8oz of water is one easy way to help, should you wish to dilute the flavor.  

Dosage:

It is important to remember that some bodies may react differently than others when using herbal products. Our recommended dosages are designed to be an average dosage only. If you have specific concerns about the dosage amount or interaction with other medication, please consult with your doctor or health care practitioner prior to using our products.  

Precautions:

We recommend consulting with your practitioner if you are pregnant, or plan to become pregnant, or if you are using any other medications, especially those using blood thinners of any kind.  

References:

  1. On the Cover: Red Clover. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://cms.herbalgram.org/herbalgram/issue69/article2908.html 
  2. Hidalgo, L. A., Chedraui, P. A., Morocho, N., Ross, S., & San, G. (2005, November). The effect of red clover isoflavones on menopausal symptoms, lipids and vaginal cytology in menopausal women: a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed?cmd=Retrieve&list_uids=16373244&dopt=Abstract 
  3. van, P. H., & Barentsen, R. (2002, July 25). Isoflavones from red clover (Promensil) significantly reduce menopausal hot flush symptoms compared with placebo. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed?cmd=Retrieve&list_uids=12161042&dopt=Abstract 
  4. Trifolium. Red Clover. (n.d.). www.henriettes-herb.com/eclectic/kings/trifolium-prat.html  

For educational purposes only. This information has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This information is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.