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Unlocking the Benefits of Red Clover Herb as a Nourishing Tonic

A prolific herb that many would consider a weed, Red Clover is an incredibly medicinal plant. Good for spasmodic coughs, congested glands and chronic skin conditions, Red Clover supports our lymphatic system and helps to nourish our body. Read on to learn more about this herbal powerhouse.


Red Clover tea and fresh Red Clover herb

Red Clover Key Information

  • Common Name: Red Clover

  • Latin Name: Trifolium pratense 

  • Plant Family: Fabaceae, Legume Family

  • General Characteristics: Perennial, leaves with 3-4 oval leaflets and white crescent marking, pink and purple egg-shaped flowerheads with banner, wings and keel unique to Fabaceae family. 

  • Habitat: Widely cultivated for hay and as a nitrogen-fixing crop. Grows in “almost every field, lawn, grassland, and roadside worldwide” - Nicholas Culpeper.

  • Precautions/Safety: Contains blood thinning agents - do not take if you are on prescription blood thinners. There is also a lot of hype about this herb being helpful with cancer - if you are diagnosed with any medical condition, including cancer, please work closely with a licensed healthcare provider. Herbs are not magic pills and Red Clover is not a good substitute for proper cancer treatment.


Red Clover Herbal Actions

  • Alterative 

  • Anti-spasmodic

  • Antitumor

  • Astringent 

  • Blood thinner

  • Expectorant

  • Lymphagogue

  • Phytoestrogenic

  • Sedative

  • Tonic


Red Clover growing in a green field


Medicinal Benefits of Red Clover

One of the primary ways that Red Clover can support us is through being nutritive and tonic. This means that this herb is high in vitamins and minerals and has a gentle way of supporting the body when taken over an extended period of time. This herb is sweet, cool and moist energetically, making them very soothing for dry, irritable tissues.


As a sedative, Trifolium pratense is also supportive for nervous conditions and aiding with sleep. A great herb for burnout, Red Clover is particularly good at helping improve the brain’s nutrition when it’s worn out from overwork. This herb improves circulation in both the nervous and circulatory systems. They’re especially good at improving circulation to the extremities, helping to shuttle important nutrients to our brain and counter brain fog and overwhelm when we’re getting burnt out. 


With their affinity for the circulatory system, Red Clover is known as a blood purifier that contains blood-thinning agents and helps to normalize blood pressure and cholesterol levels. The blood-thinning action can help improve our circulation, but do not combine this herb with prescription blood thinners! As always, if you are on prescriptions or have a diagnosed medical condition please consult a licensed medical professional before consuming herbal remedies. 


As a blood purifier that cleanses our bodies, Red Clover is an especially good ally for folks struggling with various skin conditions. Taken internally over a consistent period of time, Red Clover can help move toxins through our bodies and relieve the pressure that can cause on our skin, helping with conditions such as acne, eczema and psoriasis. This same action can also help with pain associated with arthritis and gout. Topically, this herb also makes a good poultice to ease inflammation, swelling and wounds.


Trifolium pratense has a particular reputation for helping with conditions experienced by female-bodied people including breast cancer, hormonal imbalances and menopause. This is a complex discussion, as the benefits of herbal remedies can be exaggerated and taken out of context, which can make them very dangerous.


Red Clover is NOT a cure for cancer and if you have been diagnosed with cancer it is very, very important to work closely with a licensed medical professional. Do not risk your life taking herbal remedies that you read about on the internet, it’s not worth it. 

However, it is beneficial to understand the various ways that Red Clover can support female body functions within a constellation of personal and medical care. I will provide a high-level overview here. Herbal Medicine from the Heart of the Earth by Dr. Sharol Tilgner has an excellent discussion on how Red Clover functions on a physiological level in our bodies for those who want a more thorough explanation.


Trifolium pratense has a long tradition of being applied topically as a fomentation or poultice to shrink cancerous growths. According to Tilgner, "Red Clover is specific for swollen hard nodes, especially for single nodes and a stiff neck with cramping in the sternocleidomastoid muscles that is relieved by heat and massage.” This herb helps the body remove metabolic waste and prohibits abnormal cells from attaching to our bodies.


Red Clover growing in a field

Red Clover also has a reputation for being supportive for folks going through menopause. As a phytoestrogenic herb, it contains estrogen-like compounds that bind with estrogen receptors and have the potential to help modulate all processes impacted by estrogen in the body.


However, there is a lot of misinformation out there about the impacts that phytoestrogens have on the body and the research is still inconclusive. Many people take Red Clover as a menopause support with great success, but there is still more research to be done before we'll fully understand the complex ways that Red Clover impacts female hormones in the body.


Red Clover has a reputation for helping to maintain normal estrogen levels during menopause and also counters bone loss. Trifolium pretense can also reduce the intensity and frequency of hot flashes. Beyond the phytoestrogenic compounds, this herb may also help with menopause because of its blood and lymph cleaning properties.


An incredible powerhouse, we are not yet done discussing the many ways that Red Clover can support our bodies! This herb is also helpful for colds and flus, helping to fight infections and provide nourishment when we are sick. Trifolium pratense has a particular affinity for the glands of the body and the respiratory system. They can help with lymphatic congestion and swollen glands and as an expectorant, they are indicated for dry, spasmodic coughs.


Red Clover steeping in a teacup

How to Formulate A Nutritive Herbal Blend

Red Clover's nutritive function makes them a great addition to a nutritive herbal blend. In Artemisia Academy's classes, we learn how to formulate herbal blends using William LeSassier's Triangle:

  1. Primary Herbs (~60%) - select herbal actions that specifically address the underlying need or the condition that you/the client has.

  2. Supporters or Nourishers (~30%) - to help build or tone the body or specific body system(s) through nutritive actions, or act as synergists for primary herbs with other herbal actions.

  3. Balancers (~10%) - to help round out the energetic and emotional context of the formula.

To formulate using this method, make a list of relevant herbal actions for each of the three categories and select herbs that perform those actions. Some other nutritive herbs to consider adding to your blend are: Oatstraw, Cleavers, Dandelion Leaf and Nettles among many others - get creative!


This method helps ensure that herbal formulations are primarily focused on addressing the relevant health issue(s) you are trying to support. When working with nutritive herbal blends, it is best to steep them as an overnight infusion to fully extract the vitamins and minerals in each herb. Set your tea to steep the night before you want to drink it, cover it and enjoy in the morning.


Herbal Apprentice Program - 150 hour hands-on introductory program to help you learn how to heal yourself with herbs and natural remedies


Herbal Apprentice Program

If you want more fun herbal information and guidance on how to be a healed healer, Artemisia Academy’s Herbal Apprentice Program might be perfect for you. I completed this program in 2022 and learned so much about herbs, nutrition, medicine making and plant identification.


Sources Used


About the Author

A headshot of the author, Alicia Cielle Heiser

Alicia Cielle Heiser is an Astrologer, Herbalist and student at Artemisia Academy. Her work centers on facilitating a greater understanding of the cyclical nature of the world and the ways that we as humans fit within the greater whole. She is writing a series of materia medica blog posts for Artemisia to make the wisdom and knowledge of herbal medicine more available to more people. Alicia also has a podcast called Conversations with the Planets and she offers herbal astrology readings and crafts personalized herbal tea blends. You can find her at www.aliciacielle.com. 


 

Disclaimer: Information presented on this webpage is for educational purposes only, and does not include the diagnosis and treatment of disease nor replace the advice of a licensed physician. Please refer to a licensed health professional for any illness or persistent symptoms before using herbal remedies.


Herbs can sometimes cause discomfort or side effects, and may interact adversely with pharmaceutical medications. Do not use herbs internally without the approval of a doctor or medical professional if you are currently on medications or have a history of medical conditions.

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