Red clover - Trifolium pratense (in the Fabaceae or Legume family)
Part used: Flowers.
Dosage: Infusion: 1 tablespoon per cup of water; or 1:1 fresh + dry strength liquid extract: 10-60 drops 1-4 times per day.
Mental picture and specifics: It is indicated for debilitated individuals and children with spasmodic coughs, salivary gland congestion, pharyngeal inflammation and chronic skin eruptions. Red clover is specific for swollen hard nodes, especially for single nodes and a stiff neck with cramping in the sternomastoid muscles that is relieved by heat and massage.
Use: (a) Mild antispasmodic, (b) Sedative, (c) Expectorant, (d) Blood thinner, (e) Mild alterative with a special affinity for the lungs, throat and salivary glands.
Water-soluble polysaccharides in red clover showed antitumor activity and chemotactic effects for leukocytes, mostly granulocytic, when administered by intraperitoneal injection in mice with peritoneal sarcoma 37 ascites tumor cells. Red clover contains large amounts of the estrogenic isoflavone compounds, formononetin and biochanin A. These isoflavones have very weak estrogenic activity compared with natural estrone or synthetic DES. Phytoestrogens can act as anti-estrogens to compete with estradiol for cytoplasmic receptors in estrogen-sensitive tissues. Soybeans, which also contain estrogenic isoflavones, have been implicated as being responsible for the low incidence of breast and other female reproductive cancers in Japanese woman who consume large amounts of soybean products. The same protective action may be possible with red clover and should be studied further.
Contraindications: It is contraindicated in pregnancy and for individuals using blood thinning agents. Red clover's action as a blood thinner will potentiate the effect of other blood thinning agents.