We often see pops of pink/purple colour in wild fields and not realise how amazing they are. Animals certainly do, and will often go for those first!
As I was sitting in front of these Red Clover flowers, saying a karakia (prayer) to ask permission to pick some, this stunning monarch butterfly landed on one to get nectar!
So make sure you always leave some flowers for our animal and insect friends when you harvest.
Herbalists have long prized Red Clover (yes they look more pink/purple but are called red) for its traditional use as a blood purifier, using it to eliminate toxins from the bloodstream. Whilst native to Europe it has been widely cultivated all over the world as an important herb for women’s health, used to remedy menstrual and menopausal symptoms.
Nutrition: Red Clover's brightly colored flowers contain many nutrients including calcium, chromium, magnesium, niacin, phosphorus, potassium, thiamine, and vitamin C.
They're also a rich source of isoflavones. These are compounds that act as phytoestrogens—plant chemicals similar to the female hormone . Isoflavone extracts are touted as dietary supplements for high cholesterol and osteoporosis in addition to menopausal symptoms.
If you consume the greens of red clover, you are more likely to get a high dose of vitamin C than by consuming the tea. Vitamin C is a powerful immune system booster and can help stimulate the production of white blood cells
The impacts of red clover are significant, particularly in women. Thefound in red clover mimic estrogen, so for women who may struggle to maintain estrogen levels, red clover can help balance their hormonal shifts and prevent mood swings, as well as reduce breast pain. This applies to women undergoing PMS as well as menopause, as both of the conditions can cause dangerous or unpredictable fluctuations in hormonal levels.
Studies have shown that it also improves cardiovascular health and lowers the bone density loss of menopausal women. Red Clover’s estrogen-like properties exert a positive effect on the arterial walls, making them more flexible, thus easing any strain on the heart and making it harder for blood clots to form.
Other research shows that Red Clover’s isoflavones may slow down bone loss and even increase mineral density in menopausal women, reducing the risk of osteoporosis.
It has also been found that the isoflavones found in Red Clover can reduce the risk of depression and anxiety in post-menopausal women. Researchers recruited more than 100 post-menopausal women over the age of 40 and randomly assigned them to receive either the Red Clover isoflavones or a placebo. Measures of depressive and anxiety symptoms showed that anxiety was reduced by 76 percent and depression by 78 percent.
Some of the compounds found in red clover can block certain enzymes that cause prostate growth. Although some forms of prostate enlargement are benign, a reduction in prostate size is always a good thing for the long-term health of men.
Red clover extracts have shown a great result in terms of preventing the incidence of breast cancer occurring due tohormone therapy.
Red Clover promotes the drainage of mucus from the lungs by thinning the mucus and lubricating an irritated respiratory tract. It also promotes the secretion of sputum (phlegm), from the lower airways in a process known as expectoration. An agent that promotes the discharge or expulsion of mucus from the respiratory tract is known as an “expectorant” or an antitussive agent, which is a cough suppressant.
It is commonly prescribed by herbal practitioners for respiratory conditions such as; whooping cough, bronchitis, asthma and colds. Because of its ability to calm bronchial spasms and improved sleep quality it is an excellent herb to take before bedtime to alleviate coughing in ones sleep.
Red Clover has long been used to treat skin conditions like eczema, psoriasis and rashes. It boosts circulation which in turn speeds up the body’s natural elimination process which helps to clear skin conditions by moving the waste that builds up beneath the skin’s surface. This herb can also be applied externally to bring relief from these skin conditions.
There is research showing that Red Clover can retard the process of skin aging due to its estrogen-like effects, helping to maintain youthful and vibrant skin. It also ensures appropriate skin thickness and the healthy keratinisation and vascularity of the skin.
Making Red Clover Tea:
You can also make tea from fresh or dried flower heads. I would suggest that to get the full benefit of red clover you need to use the whole flower, and not commercial red clover isoflavones.
To make a tea, use one to three teaspoons of dried red clover flowers, and 1 tabelspoon of fresh, for every cup of simmering (not boiling) water. Let steep for 15 minutes. Drink up to three cups of tea a day.
Do not take Red Clover if you are taking blood thinning medication. Due to its blood thinning effects, drinking Red Clover is not recommended before surgery as it may exacerbate surgical bleeding.
Red Clover is contraindicated in pregnancy and lactation because it contains phytosterols, with estrogenic and abortifacient properties.
Not recommended for those taking birth control pills or anyone at high risk of breast cancer.
Posted: Thursday 28 October 2021