Wednesday, July 27, 2016

              Blog #53: Red Clover – Fertility and Tonic Herb

Red clover Trifolium pratense is reputed to be an herb that supports fertility.  The clover is a good source of phytosterols, that is, hormone-like substances, which the body can convert into phytoestrogens.  An infusion of organically raised red clover blossoms is also high in protein, vitamins and minerals. 

As noted in previous blogs, an infusion is made from placing one ounce of a safe, tonic herb in a glass quart jar, pouring just-boiled water over it, covering the top and letting it steep until the water reaches room temperature.  The infusion should be consumed within 48 hrs.  It is vital to only use organically raised red clover, since otherwise, the estrogenic effects of toxic sprays will interact with the phytosterols in the red clover and cause problems for the user.  It is best to consult an herbalist or your PCP if he or she is knowledgeable about herbs before using red clover as part of a fertility regimen.  Overuse of red clover (most likely not organic) has been known to cause fertility problems in some livestock, so, as with anything else, moderation is the key. 

Red clover, or any other herbal infusion, should not be taken indefinitely.  Other herbal infusions can be alternated with red clover, and sometimes breaks from all herbs should be taken.  It is important to monitor response to an herb; any particular herb will not be appropriate for everyone. 

Reference to this herb’s effectiveness as an expectorant can be found in Chinese herbal literature.  Literature of the Wise Woman tradition describes red clover as an herb to boost fertility and help alleviate stress.  Recent, but not yet fully conclusive scientific research indicates that red clover may be effective in helping reduce stress and manage benign prostatic hypertrophy (non-cancerous prostate enlargement). 

Red clover is part of the Hoxsey formula, which once was used in the U. S. along with other therapies to treat some types of cancer. The government closed down the Hoxsey clinics in the U.S, though a clinic still exists in Mexico.  A somewhat different formula from the original is now sold in this country as a  blood detoxifier. I would never recommend red clover or any herbal combination containing it as a cancer treatment; however, when combined with a wholesome, organic diet, regular aerobic exercise, a low-stress lifestyle, and avoidance of environmental and other toxins, the periodic use of red clover and other herbal and nutritional supplements can help promote good health and possibly make the development of cancer less likely. Since some sources speculate that the phytosterols might feed estrogen-dependent cancers, red clover should be avoided in these cases, and also if one has a history of cancer. 

Despite all the above-mentioned cautions, there have been very few negative side effects noted with red clover in scientific experiments, which is why I have included it as an herb that can be used in infusions.  In my practice, I have found red clover effective in alleviating women’s migraine headaches when these migraines are associated with menstrual hormonal fluctuations. 

This blog’s offer:  contact me with questions about red clover.  Bring in red clover herbs you have selected for a free consult to help determine if they are appropriate for you.