Herb of the week #3 :: Red Clover

I’m on a roll everyone… it’s week 3 of the Herb/Plant of the Week here! And I have some fun news!  I decided to enroll in Rosemary Gladstar’s online herbalism class! I got my notebook in the mail this week and I am so excited to start learning from the master! I will definitely share what I learn along the way and I will still keep doing these weekly posts and share what I am learning through my own experience with the herb that week as well.

This week we are doing a detoxification herb: Red Clover

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Botanical Latin Name: Trifolium pratense

Botanical Family: Fabaceae (Legume) family

Parts used: flowers and leaves

Method: Tea and Tincture

Actions: Nutritive, alterative, expectorant, antispasmodic, sedative

Energetics: Cooling, stimulating and relaxing

Taste: Mildly sweet

Dosage: 1 tbsp dried herb to 8 oz water for tea infusion 1-3 times daily and/or 10-60 drops 1-4 times daily of tincture

Contraindications: pregnancy, those on blood thinner medications and possibly those with hypothyroid

Red clover is known to be a great detoxification herb.  It helps to purify the blood to aid in the removal of toxins. It also helps clear out the lymph system which aids with our immunity. In the process of clearing out waste in the liver and lymph, it replaces waste with nutrients like calcium, nitrogen and iron. Because it’s detoxifying, it in turn helps with most skin conditions as well as tumors, fibroids and cysts.

It also helps with cardiovascular and respiratory health and can ease chronic chest problems like coughs and colds. The combination of detoxification and cardiovascular benefits have shown to improve cognitive function. This is due to the purified blood reaching to the smaller capillaries in the body to improve overall function.

Additional uses for red clover:

  • Children with spasmodic coughs
  • Chronic skin eruptions
  • Swollen hard lymph nodes
  • Stiff neck
  • Muscle cramps (types that are relieved by heat and massage)
  • Childhood eczema
  • Whooping cough or dry irritated cough
  • Throat and salivary glands
  • Athlete’s foot
  • Menopausal hot flashes
  • Herpes virus
  • Cancer, especially lymphatic or breast

How to use red clover:

  • Tea can be used daily (1 tbsp per cup and drink 1-3 cups daily). Steep in hot water for 15-20 minutes – the longer you steep it the more benefits you’ll get from it. I steeped mine for 30 minutes and it was slightly sweet and delicious – easy to drink on its own.
  • Tincture use up to 2 droppers full (60 drops) 1-4 times daily for best results.
  • NOTE: Never use wilted red clover only use fully fresh or fully dried herb. The wilted flower has a compound called Coumadin used in rat poison and blood thinners that can be harmful or deadly.

Here’s a tea recipe for a mild and pleasant tasting liver cleansing and nutritive daily tonic that included red clover from Rosemary Gladstar’s book Herbal Remedies for Vibrant Health:

Liver Tonic Formula #2

3 parts nettle leaf

2 parts dandelion leaf

2 parts lemon balm

2 parts red clover

1 part alfalfa

Prepare as an infusion, using 4 tablespoons of herb mixture to a quart of water and steep for 20 minutes. Strain and enjoy 3-4 cups daily.

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