Red Clover (Trifolium pratense)
Red clover is a lovely safe herb with so many benefits, especially for us girls! The flowering head with the set of two Trifolium leaves underneath is used & is collected just before it’s fully open. They can be dried if need be & will keep for a year.
This plant is rich in chemicals which act like estrogens, known as phytoestrogens. These make Red Clover useful in treating various symptoms such as hot flushes in the menopause, PMS/PMT if combined with Peppermint & ‘breast health’ especially combined with Dandelion root. It is also a useful herb for rebalancing hormones after stopping mild hormone therapies such as the contraceptive pill or removal of a Mirena coil, especially if you have skin/acne type breakouts.
I use it for skin conditions like acne, boils, anything with inflammation & pus involved really. Combined with all or any of the following: Burdock root or seed, Dandelion leaf or root, Honeysuckle flower or Plantain leaf. The tea internally & externally as a wash or poultice will clear the skin & bring boils to a head. Any combination of the above will also reduce inflammation in bouts of chronic skin problems such as eczema & psoriasis.
Others use it to reduce cholesterol, I haven’t used it for this as I feel so much is food/diet related. I’m sure the benefits of this plant range far & wide though & as a food, there is little reason why we should not include it in our daily diets. It is something we can add to recipes in a variety of ways & certainly should while it is out in flower around us. You can toss the flowering heads into salads or make a syrup from them which compliments a pancake really well or just throw a few heads into a mug as tea, for that little nourishing/eliminating hit our body enjoys & doesn’t get from the weekly shop.
There are some precautions if you take it medicinally (high dose) over a long period of time, especially with it effecting estrogen levels within the body. Always consult a medical professional before taking any new herb, supplement or medication if you already have health issues.