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Friday, January 14, 2011
RED CLOVER: MEDICINAL BENEFITS AND USES OF RED CLOVER: RED CLOVER TISANE, RED CLOVER VINEGAR RECIPES
RED CLOVER, TRIFOLIUM PRATENSE
Like the white clover this red variety is native to the British Isles and the rest of Europe as well as to North and Central Asia, the Mediterranean region and up through to the Arctic Circle. It is also known as bee bread, trefoil and purple clover, among other names such as lal tarfeel in Urdu. Red clover can be used in foods just as lavender, marigolds and dandelions can, and is also used in traditional medicine. Clinical trials are still ongoing into its medical value, but it seems as though these may support the traditional uses for this herb.
Red clover has been used to cure coughs, as an expectorant, to help with asthma, and is used externally for skin problems including irritation caused by insect stings and bites, eczema, psoriasis and wound healing. The flowers are the parts of the herb used, either fresh or dried. Sheep and other animals that graze on these plants develop fertility problems and it is thought that this is because of the phytoestogens they contain. Phytoestrogens are less potent than the oestrogen (the major female hormone) produced in the body, and are contained in the isoflavines (genestein and daidzein) in the plant which are being used in ERT (Estrogen Replacement Therapy) for menopausal women. It has also been found that red clover constituents can help in the prevention of prostate and breast cancer, as well as (perhaps) ovarian cancer, but trials are still ongoing. The flowers contain calcium and magnesium which is easily absorbed by the body and which tones and relaxes the nervous system, minimizing stress and headaches associated with this. The reduction of stress symptoms is also helped by the silic acid content of the flowers.
The recipe for the tisane given below may be boiled down to produce syrup which can be used for the relief of dry coughs. The tisane can also be used externally for skin irritation and as a vaginal douche to relieve dryness and the itching which may accompany the menopause. It stimulates the functions of the liver and gallbladder, prevents constipation and is an appetite booster. It also supports the uterus, so is a very useful herb for women. The dried or fresh flowers can be added to soups and stews to give them flavour. The fresh flowers are also useful additions to salads.
The dried flowers have been used for bronchitis and asthma and as an expectorant. They are also an alterative, which means that they will produce a gradual beneficial change in the body by improving nutrition, and will act as a blood purifier, getting rid of unwanted toxins. The flowers also have diuretic properties. Like the dandelion and comfrey leaves they are high in protein and calcium.
The fresh flowers can be crushed and applied directly to wounds or stings and bites, and will alleviate the pain and promote rapid healing. They can be used in compresses to relieve the pain of arthritis and gout, and the tisane can be used as a coolant for the body.
Red clover contains Vitamin A, iron, chromium, magnesium, phosphorous, potassium, Vitamin C and some of the B-complex vitamins, as well as calcium (mentioned above).
The phrase “to be in clover” means that a person will have a rich and prosperous, carefree life, and it seems as this may be because of this humble plant’s medicinal properties.
RED CLOVER TISANE
10-15 gr dried red clover flowers or 2 oz fresh flowers
1 cup boiling water
RED CLOVER VINEGAR
Enough clover flowers to fill a jar
White wine vinegar
Use vinegar that is at room temperature. Pack a Kilner jar or any jar with an airtight seal-but not metal as it may corrode with the action of the vinegar- with red clover flower heads and cover with vinegar. Store in a cool dark place and turn once a day for two weeks. Leave to stand for a further week, the use. You can strain the vinegar or leave the flowers in it for a more intense flavour.
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