Herbs are amazing… this seems to be my mantra, but really they ARE!
I am constantly surprised on every level and especially enjoy an opportunity for a little wild-harvesting.
This morning Theo and I decided on the downs for our morning walk with Odie our Labrador, on the way I had pondered about picking a little Mugwort ( Artemisia vulgaris) but the plants had other ideas in store for us!
I honestly have never seen red clover grow in such abundance, there was literally a red carpet as far as we could see. Totally unprepared for such a harvest we used the hood of Theo’s raincoat to hold our bounty.
After all our hard work ( picking really does put you in touch with how much effort it takes to produce a herbal remedy ) the herbalist and her apprentice sat in the sunshine to enjoy a cup of fresh red clover tea to ponder on which preparation our flowers should be made into.. an oil, a tincture or simply dried for tea……
I usually use Red Clover for skin conditions, often added to a creams and herb teas for eczema.
Due to the the lignans and phyto oestrogens ( isoflavones) Red Clover is helpful at Menopause and can be very helpful with relieving hot flushes, it works in an adaptive way – by binding to the oestrogen receptors in tissues, essentially causing the body to respond as if more oestrogen is present in the body therefore reducing symptoms such as hot flushes.
Also, if there is too much oestrogen, the isoflavones have a down regulating effect by taking up the receptor sites and blocking the endogenous oestrogen….. clever red clover huh?
I think that a tea works very well for menopausal symptoms, maybe blended with hawthorn flowers, lime flowers and sage leaf.
Interestingly enough, Red Clover is favoured by farmers wishing to fatten up their sheep, however breeding ewe’s become temporarily infertile when grazing in a predominant red clover field!
Incidentally, the oestrogen levels in red clover are higher in spring and autumn and lower in the summer so our harvest today will be better suited to use in skin condition and coughs.
The expectorant and antispasmodic action give this herb a role in treating bronchitis and whooping cough, spasmodic and croupy coughs.
As an alternative herb red clover works with the lymphatic system, the system which takes the toxins away from the cells, I think it may also be useful for cysts.
A very safe herb in general for adults and children alike, although it may potentiate the effect of anticoagulant drugs due to the content of coumarins. There is probably so much more to say about this pretty flower but I invite you to go forth into the fields, pick a few flowers and get to know her yourself.
- Wilcox, G. “Oestrogenic effects of plant foods in postmenopausal women,” British Medical Journal 301:905-906, 1990.
- Kaufman, P.B., Duke, J.A., et al. “A comparative survey of leguminous plants as source of the isoflavones, genistein and daidzein,” Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine 3 (1):7-12, 1997.