Red Clover

Latin:  Trifolium pratense

Family:  Fabaceae

Parts Used:  Flower and leaf

Taste/Energetics: Sweet, salty, Cool

Properties:  Nutritive tonic, expectorant, alterative, anti-inflammatory, phytoestrogenic

Actions:  Red clover is a common weed that was introduced to North America during colonization.  It has long been used as an “alterative” herb to help improve the metabolism of waste particles and often used in remedies for inflamed skin conditions such as eczema and psoriasis.   Red clover has a gentle expectorant action and can be added to teas and honeys to help soothe inflamed bronchial passages.   Red clover has become very popular as a natural estrogen replacement as it contains 4 phytoestrogenic isoflavones.  In that vein, it has been used to help women going through menopause with associated hot flashes.  Studies on that have proved inconclusive however.

In terms of mental health , I think of red clover is another highly nutritious nutritive herb that can be useful for those with depression that appear restless, wired, exhausted and poorly nourished.  Strong infusions of red clover can bring back that glow and feelings of improved well being.

Dosage:  My favorite method of working with this plant is taking large doses of a cup of red clover heads (one ounce) to a quart of hot water infused for a couple hours, strained and then drank throughout the day.  It can also be added to tea blends in much smaller amounts, infused in honeys and vinegars for nutritive, heat clearing, tonic and expectorant effects.  Not really a fan of the tincture.

Contraindications:  Some concern over mixing with hormone treatments.