Red Clover)

(Trifolium pratense)

Non-native plant which has become naturalized over most of its range.

Other Names:
None Known

Range:

Family:
Fabaceae - Pea or Legume Family

Growth Type:
Perennial herbaceous

Height:
Up to 30 inches tall

Leaves:
Alternate, trifolate (meaning 3 leaved), dark green on top, and pale green underside. The top of the leaves display a characteristic light colored chevron.

Stem/Trunk:
Single or branched herbaceous stem

Root:
Taproot

Flower Season:
Summer

Flower Appearance:
Dark pink inflorescence (flower head) with a paler base

Seed/Fruit:
Not observed

Miscellaneous characteristics:
Unlike other members of the Trifolium genus, T pratense is particularly short lived.

Habitat:
Sunny locations such as lawns, fields, and gardens

Parts Used:
flower heads

Uses:
Wild Food Uses:
The flowers are brewed into a sweet tasting, healthful tea

The following text is meant for informational purposes only. It is not meant to diagnose or treat any illness or injury. Always consult with a physician or other qualified medical care provider concerning the diagnosis and treatment of any illness or injury.

Medicinal Uses:
T. pretense has been used to treat coughs, the symptoms of menopause, disorders of the lymphatic system and a variety of cancers. According to WebMD, care should be taken when using red clover medicinally, as dietary amounts of red clover are safe, but medicinal quantities may cause rash-like reactions, muscle ache, headache, nausea, vaginal bleeding in women, and slow blood clotting. This may be due to the fact that red clover conntains coumestrol, a phytoestrogen.

A recent study has found that due to its activity on estrogen receptors, red clover is contraindicated in people with a history of breast cancer, endometriosis, ovarian cancer, uterine cancer, uterine fibroids or other estrogen-sensitive conditions. However, other published studies have suggested the high isoflavone content counteracts this, and even provides benefits in these conditions.

As is usually the case, we must each make our own choices when it comes to using herbal medicines. For my two cents, I believe the problem come when we try synthesizing and administering the supposed active ingredients, rather than using them as a whole from the plant. I believe, and again this is just my belief, inn most cases the entire phytochemical makeup of the plant buffers most adverse side effects. Due to its coumarin derivatives, T. pratense should be used in caution in individuals with coagulation disorders or currently undergoing anticoagulation therapy.

Medicinal Actions:
Antispasmodic, Anti-inflammatory, Deobstruent, Expectorant, Sedative

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