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Herb Profile: Red Clover - Trifolium pratense

As a child I used to pick these and suck the sweet nectar out of each 'petal' little did I know that I was consuming what we herbalists call an Alturative Herb; which means an herb that helps to tone all of the organs. I thought it was just delicious but it turns out it is also wonderfully nutritious! This herb will help to stimulate and regulate the organs that help to keep your blood clean, and will work hard on the lungs and skin.

Red Clover is probably growing somewhere in your yard, or just down the road, it grows like a 'weed' wherever it likes to; to harvest pick the blossoms along with the set of leaves nearest to the blossom and lay flat to dry. If you have a window screen that you're not currently using these work great as they allow the air to circulate. Store them in a sealed bag or container and use a few blooms at a time in your tea. Used daily it will help promote fertility and also help to ease the symptoms of menopause as it is full of phytoestrogen which helps the body to create estrogen. It can affect the use of hormone related medications such as birth control nor should it be used by pregnant women or those on blood thinners.

Its worth looking at the various ways it can help the peri and post menopausal woman; it has been used for centuries to help with hot flashes/heat, a study tested women who drank red clover tea for 12 weeks and found their hot flashes to decrease by 44%. I also want to take a moment here to point out that often people will try an herb for a week and if it doesn't work they give up. Please make sure to ask your herbalist how long to expect results, some herbs are instant and others are cumulative and if there is relief of 44% of a symptom like hot flashes it's certainly worth the wait! Especially considering that you might jump around from remedy to remedy never truly finding a solution. And while patience might seems like a pain in the butt it can be very rewarding! And the rewards don't stop there, studies have actually shown that Red Clover tea can help to lower the scores of the entire Kupperman Index for a menopausal woman. The Kupperman Index is a way of rating the intensity of the discomforts of menopause, these include but are certainly not limited to hot flashes, headaches, insomnia and nervousness. Red Clover has also been found effective in the treatment of anxiety and depression among post menopausal women.

Next time you are out and about and see a few blooms, please pick them, thank the earth for their gifts, dry them and add them to your tea. They are rich in calcium, magnesium, potassium and other trace minerals. Red Clover is known to many as an anti-cancer herb with many studies favoring this theory. And recent research has found the isoflavones found abundantly in Red Clover to be particularly helpful in the treatment of prostate cancer so men: drink up too!!

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