Well, March has already come in like a lion and gone out like a lamb, and we are moving into the halfway point of April. Soon, we will be seeing clover, and that’s what I’d like to talk about today!
Also known as Cleaver Grass, Wild Clover, Cow Grass, and Meadow Trefoil, it grows wild, but can also be cultivated. Some farmers use it as a cover crop or to add in with hay and other animal feed, for various reasons. You can get some benefits out of this easily foraged herb yourself, so read along to find out more!
I am not a doctor and do not recommend any remedies in any way as an alternative to medical care. If you are having serious health problems, be sure to consult a physician.
If you don’t already know what red and white clover look like, you’ll easily be able to pick it out from now on.
On each stem, there are small leaves (or four, making up the coveted “four-leaf clover”), with a white shape on each leaf that resembles a V or a crescent shape. Though the root system is shallow, and the plant grows low to the ground, the actual flower stems can sometimes reach as high as a foot tall in areas that aren’t regularly manicured. They bloom from early spring until late fall with small white, pink, or red flowers that look like a cluster of petals. You won’t find them in dry areas, as they only tolerate well-watered spaces.
Red clover is known to thin the blood and can multiply the effects of certain antiplatelet and anticoagulant pharmaceuticals. Do not take red clover within two weeks before you have a scheduled surgery.
It can also be toxic when taken along with a cancer drug known as methotrexate.
If you take birth control pills, estrogen, or hormone replacement therapy, you should know that clover can interact with these drugs as well.
Clover could interfere with the drug, Tamoxifen.
IF YOU HAVE ANY EXISTING HEALTH ISSUES, OR UNDER THE CARE OF A PHYSICIAN FOR ANY HEALTH ISSUES, DO NOT TAKE CLOVER UNTIL YOU HAVE DISCUSSED IT WITH THEM.
Nutritional Benefits of Clover
Believe it or not, clover is actually a part of the legume family. The flowers are high in nutrients like…
- Vitamin C
Another plant chemical found in clover is isoflavones, which are very much like the female hormone, estrogen. Because of this, the herb is often used for issues such as osteoporosis and high cholesterol, but it’s also the reason they interact with birth control pills. But it can also be a great natural estrogen replacement, reliving the symptoms of PMS. You might find clover seeds to be a great addition to your “women’s health” regimen.
Medicinal and Health Benefits of Clover
There are several uses for clover, as long as you aren’t dealing with any of the above-listed issues. Here are just a few ways that clover could be helpful.
- Relieves menopausal symptoms such as hot flashes, night sweats, and loss of bone density
- Reduces the risk of depression and anxiety
- Increases “good” cholesterol for improved cardiovascular health
- Lowers blood pressure and improves blood circulation
- When used in an ointment form, red clover salve works to treat eczema, psoriasis, and other types of rashes
- Used as a cough remedy
- Thins and loosens mucous in the lungs and lubricates respiratory tracts (Herbalists often prescribe it for bronchitis, whooping cough, colds, and asthma.)
- Boosts the immune system functioning
- Prevents bacterial and viral infections
- Helps detoxify the body
In addition to being careful if you have any of the issues noted in the red box above, some people do experience side effects when using red clover, especially in larger quantities. These can include:
- Heavy periods
- Muscle Aches
If you have any concerns whatsoever, be sure to talk with your health care provider, or choose an herbalist or homeopathic practitioner who can guide you toward the best usage.
Usage Forms and Dosing
Clover is utilized in various ways, including capsules, extracts, tablets, teas, and tinctures. You can order supplements or create some of these for yourself, based on your level of foraging and preparation skills.
You can easily dry your own clover in a dehydrator, in your oven, or even in the front or back dash of your vehicle! From there, if you wish, you can take the dehydrated herb (flowers) and put it through a coffee mill or use a mortar and pestle to create a powder.
- Use one or two teaspoons of dried flowers to eight ounces of hot water. Steep for one half hour and drink two to three cups per day.
- If taking the powder capsules, 40 to 160 mg (which is 28 to 85 mg of isoflavones) per day.
You can make a tincture of clover, using the 1:5 method for dry herbs, or the 1:2 method for fresh. That means for every ounce of dried herb, you’ll use five ounces of alcohol, or one ounce for fresh herb to two ounces of alcohol.
If you’re like me and adhere to a completely alcohol-free lifestyle, you can also mix the herbs with apple cider vinegar or glycerin, however, it’s no longer called a tincture at that point. When you mix with vinegar, it’s called an “acetum” and when you mix it with glycerin, it’s called “glycerite”.
- Take 60 to 100 drops, equaling three to five mL, three times per day. You can add this to hot water or tea if you prefer.
If using a commercially prepared clover product, such as salves, ointments, pills, or liquids, be sure to follow the directions on the container, or follow the direction and guidance of your health practitioner.
If you haven’t yet purchased the items that make wildcrafting a much easier task, here are a few of my favorites. (As an Amazon affiliate, I do get a small commission from the sale.)
This is the dehydrator I have. It doesn’t break the bank, it’s square so it’s easy to wash and stack, and it has temperature control, which comes in VERY HANDY when dehydrating different items.
For Storing Dehydrated Herbs:
I can’t say enough about these amber jars! The color keeps the sunlight (UV rays) from directly hitting your herbs, which gives them a longer shelf life. I used to keep mind in mason jars, but this is so much better. I love this particular jar, because it’s a little wider than a regular spice jar, which makes it easier to load!
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