Register as a User. If already registered LOG IN. Help this community by editing pages or by UPLOADING PICTURES.

Red Clover

From Philippines
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Redclover.jpg
Red Clover Flower
Herbal remedies for diabetes.JPG
How to get the best out of the Malunggay
Moringa (Malungay) leaves compared to common foods
Values per 100gm. edible portion
Nutrient Moringa Leaves Other Foods
Vitamin A 6780 mcg Carrots: 1890 mcg
Vitamin C 220 mg Oranges: 30 mg
Calcium 440 mg Cow's milk: 120 mg
Potassium 259 mg Bananas: 88 mg
Protein 6.7 gm Cow's milk: 3.2 gm
Helpful Informational Links
Dandelion Root Products
The leaves and roots of the dandelion, or the whole plant, are used fresh or dried in teas, capsules, or extracts.
Try the Dandelion Way
Hoodia
Kalahari Bushmen have traditionally eaten hoodia stems to reduce their hunger and thirst during long hunts.
Alternative way to loose weight!
Immune System Supplements
Astragalus root is used to support and enhance the immune system. Astragalus has also been used for heart disease.
Herbal Alternative Health
Red clover flower.jpg
Red Clover Flower
Red clover pasture.jpg
Red Clover Pasture

Red Clover

The medicinal herb Red Clover as an alternative herbal remedy - Like peas and beans, red clover belongs to the family of plants called legumes. Red clover contains phytoestrogens--compounds similar to the female hormone estrogen. Trifolium pratense (red clover) has anti-inflammatory, diuretic and antispasmodic properties and is also well known as a cleansing herb for skin complaints, including eczema and psoriasis. Its ability to improve lymph functioning and reduce lymphatic swellings helps to purify and detox the system.

Red clover has been cultivated since ancient times, primarily to provide a favorite grazing food for animals. But, like many other herbs, red clover was also a valued medicine. Although it has been used for many purposes worldwide, the one condition most consistently associated with red clover is cancer. Chinese physicians and Russian folk healers also used it to treat respiratory problems. In the nineteenth century, red clover became popular among herbalists as an "alterative" or "blood purifier." This medical term, long since defunct, refers to an ancient belief that toxins in the blood are the root cause of many illnesses. Cancer, eczema, and the eruptions of venereal disease were all seen as manifestations of toxic buildup. Red clover was considered one of the best herbs to "purify" the blood. For this reason, it is included in many of the famous treatments for cancer.Common Names--red clover, cow clover, meadow clover, wild clover

Latin Name--Trifolium pratense

What Red clover Is Used For

  • Historically, red clover has been used as an herbal remedy for cancer and respiratory problems, such as whooping cough, asthma, and bronchitis. *Current uses of red clover are for menopausal symptoms, breast pain associated with menstrual cycles, high cholesterol, osteoporosis, and symptoms of prostate enlargement. Red Clover is also well known as a cleansing herb for skin complaints.

How Red clover Is Used

  • The flowering tops of the red clover plant are used to prepare extracts available in tablets and capsules, as well as in teas and liquid forms.

Herbal Remedy Products with Red Clover as part of the ingredients

DetoxSlim.jpg
  • DetoxSlim™ - Herbal supplement for liver health and toxin release, plus support for slimming programs
    • Promotes healthy digestion and helps support slimming programs*
    • Supports routine cleansing and detoxification*
    • Supports healthy liver function*
    • Encourages healthy digestion*
    • Supports overall health and wellness*

What the Science Says about Red clover

  • Although several small studies of red clover for menopausal symptoms had mixed results, a large study found that red clover had no beneficial effects on menopausal symptoms.
  • There is not enough scientific evidence to determine whether red clover is effective for any other health conditions.
  • NCCAM is studying red clover to learn more about its active components and how they might work in the body, including a clinical trial investigating the safety and effectiveness of red clover for menopausal symptoms.

Side Effects and Cautions of Red clover

  • Red clover seems to be safe for most adults when used for short periods of time. No serious adverse effects have been reported.
  • Because red clover contains estrogen-like compounds, there is a possibility that its long-term use would increase the risk of women developing cancer of the lining of the uterus. However, studies to date have been too brief (less than 6 months) to evaluate whether red clover has estrogen-like effects on the uterus.
  • It is unclear whether red clover is safe for women who are pregnant or breastfeeding, or who have breast cancer or other hormone-sensitive cancers.
  • Tell your health care providers about any herb or dietary supplement you are using, including red clover. This helps to ensure safe and coordinated care.

News About Red Clover

Red Clover: Know This Health-Boosting Herb

By Dr. Mark A. Rosenberg (MD)

When I explain alternative treatment options to my patients often I get asked this one question “Is there an herb I can take for that, Dr. Rosenberg?” Today, more and more people understand that modern medicine may be complemented by natural and alternative treatments. When it comes to herbs, some are good for targeting a specific problem, while others offer a host of health benefits. Today, I will discuss one that falls in the latter category—red clover.

What Is Red Clover?

Native to Europe and Asia, red clover is also cultivated in North America. It is grown in meadows for the purpose of grazing animals. The sweet nectar in the plant’s tiny red flowers may be collected by bees, eventually to become clover honey. If organically grown, the flowers are edible and are sometimes used in iced tea and salads.

The red clover plant contains a wide array of vitamins and minerals. Some of these nutrients include calcium, chromium, magnesium, niacin, phosphorus, potassium, thiamine, and vitamin C. The substances that have recently put red clover in the spotlight, however, are isoflavones. These natural plant substances act as powerfulantioxidants in the body. Antioxidants fight inflammation, which is believed to be responsible for many chronic diseases. The isoflavones in red clover have an effect similar to estrogen because of their ability to attach to estrogen receptors in cells.

How Red Clover Benefits Health

Traditionally, red clover has been used as a diuretic, an expectorant for clearing mucous from the lungs, and a treatment for infection. It has also been used as a cancer treatment, particularly for prostate and liver cancers, because of its ability to stimulate the immune system. It also contains a substance called coumarin, which is known to act as a blood thinner. This blood thinning effect may reduce the risk of clots and improve blood flow.

Some studies suggest that the isoflavones in red clover may disrupt bone loss in pre- and postmenopausal women. It has also been used to treat infertility and chronic miscarriages, which are both associated with low estrogen. It may fight heart disease by raising levels of good HDL cholesterol in the blood. Other conditions that may benefit from the isoflavones in red clover are psoriasis, kidney disease, inflammatory bowel disorder, liver problems and a weakened immune system. It has been noted that people at risk for breast cancer or other diseases caused by excess estrogen should not take red clover.

Red Clover and MSG

An exciting new study has shown that red clover may prevent the damaging of effects of the food additive, monosodium glutamate, or MSG. In the June issue of the journal, Phytomedicine, it was reported that neurons treated with red clover isoflavones were not affected by glutamate exposure, which normally results in cell damage.

MSG is not simply a salt or seasoning, but a substance that directly affects the brain. It is often added to processed food, such as soups, prepared meals, gravies, sauces, and fast food. MSG sends messages to the brain that release dopamine, a chemical that makes you feel good and creates the perception of flavor. That is why it is often used to make lower quality foods taste better. This activity in the brain can cause cell damage. Taking red clover before eating fast food may prevent this effect.

As you can see, there are many ways to benefit from red clover. This herb is available in dried form, which is perfect for tea. You can also get it in tincture or capsule form. If using capsules, the recommended dosage is 40 to 160 mg per day. Because of red clover’s potent estrogenic and blood thinning properties, it is essential to talk to your doctor before using this herb. If it is right for you, your doctor can help devise a complementary treatment plan.

Stay Well.



Red clover: how to use it to reset your hormones, fight inflammation and burn belly fat

(Healthy Holistic Living)

If you thought a four-leaf clover was the luckiest clover you could get your hands on – think again. Then, quit thinking about it and go get yourself some red clover.

In recent red clover studies, the plant has been found to be the most abundant source of isoflavones, a plant-based chemical that acts like estrogen. But this herb can be used safely by both men and women and has a number of different health benefits.

Lucky Red Clover

You can buy red clover in capsules, as a tea, or in bulk as a dried herb. Red clover is from the legume family and isn’t just good for humans – red clover performs nitrogen fixation which means, when planted in your garden, this plant helps the rest of your garden grow!

So what else can red clover do for you, other than make the herbs and veggies you’re growing even better?

Phytoestrogens

Red clover is the herb with the most phytoestrogens, which are very similar to human estrogen from a chemical standpoint. This plant-based compound is easily digested and used in our bodies to regulate hormonal imbalances and even help prevent cancer.

The way these phytoestrogens work is interesting:

• if there is too much estrogen present in the body (such as women before reaching menopause) the phytoestrogens attach to estrogen receptors and prevent the natural hormone from overproducing.
• When natural estrogen levels are too low (women during menopause) the phytoestrogens take on the role of raising and balancing the natural level of this hormone.
Estrogen Deficiencies

A study at the Harvard Medical School shows that low levels of estrogen affect men as well. Red clover helps to defeat estrogen deficiency which can cause depression, lack of energy, weight gain and insomnia in the form of anxiety. Red clover has been seen to lower the risk of “mid-life crises” in men.

Red Clover: The Benefits

Red clover, taken daily, can improve and strengthen your bones, lower inflammation and promote dilation of your veins to encourage blood flow, improves your skin, mood, sleep, and even naturally lowers bad cholesterol. What else does this wonderful plant do for you?

• Cytoprotective – protects your cells against free radicals
• Anti-inflammatory – lowers inflammation, which has been linked to diabetes, cancer, Alzheimer’s and more
• Blood-cleansing effect – removes toxins from your system.
• Protects prostate – improves and strengthens prostate function.
• Improves water retention – for healthy, younger-looking skin
• Protects against cardiovascular diseases – by lowering cholesterol, red clover will keep your heart healthy, your bones healthy, and improve your weight loss drastically.
• Controls calcium deposition of bones.
• Improves blood flow
• Lowers Cholesterol
• Prevents bone loss
• Promotes a positive mood and healthy sleep

This great herb actually has a ton more uses.

Do You Feel Lucky?

Now that you’ll be getting more red clover into your life, do you feel lucky? Its phytoestrogens will help balance hormonal deficiencies, its anti-inflammatory and antiseptic properties will help to clean your veins, heart, and other internal organs, its anti-cancer properties kill free radicals and protect against bone, heart, breast and prostate cancer, and it helps strengthen brittle bones associated with menopause.

So do you feel lucky? We hope so.

Do you have any great health topics you want us to write about? Share with us in the comments! And thanks for reading.


Can Red Clover Help With Signs & Symptoms of Menopause?

By Lianne Tang

Red clover (also known as Trifolium pretense) is a species of herb stemming from the clover family that originates from Europe, Western Asia, and Northwest Africa. With a natural sweet taste, red clover has been commonly used as sweet-tasting herbal teas, flavoring ingredient for various foods and beverages, and natural treatments for various health problems related to respiratory system (such as regular coughs, whooping coughs, and congestions) and lymphatic system related disorders.

An interesting observation that the alternative health care practitioners saw is that red clover seems to alleviate stomach cramps, breast soreness, hot flashes, and emotional irritation tendencies in women during their periods and menopause. Thus it has been suggested as an herbal remedy that is beneficial to women’s overall well-being.

The Science Behind Red Clover

Based on an analysis from the University of Maryland Medical Center, red clover is a plant that is full of beneficial nutrients. It is rich in Vitamin C, calcium, chromium, magnesium, niacin, phosphorus, potassium, and thiamine. At the same time, the researchers have found that red clover contains a plentiful source of isoflavones (Isoflavones are plant chemicals that have similar structures to the human hormones estrogens and progesterones, and have the same reactions to the hormone receptors, we have written an in-depth article on topic of isoflavones here). The special quality that separates red clover from many other isoflavones-rich plants is that it contains isoflavones that react both with the estrogen and progesterone pathways in the human body (Hajirahimkhan, 2013). As explained in my article “Hormone Therapy: More Trouble Than Its Worth?”, administration of estrogen without progesterone (depending on the dosage) may result in various degrees of side-effects from more frequent irregular uterus bleeding, thickening of the uterus, to uterus cancer. With red clover, because it contains isoflavones that react with estrogen and progesterone receptors, the risk of running into these side-effects are minimal.

Benefits of Red Clover for Menopause

As a natural source of both estrogen and progesterone, red clover helps alleviate the infamous menopause symptoms of hot flashes and cold sweat. And unlike the isolated estrogen/progesterone extract produced by the pharmaceutical companies, red clover contains all the other healthy nutrients that are known to help women sleep better during menopause.

Let’s take a look at the beneficial qualities of red clover against various menopause symptoms:

Hot Flashes and Cold Sweats:

Many scientific studies have found that estrogen supplements may alleviate the hot flash symptom (Menati, 2014) and that progesterone may alleviate the cold sweat problem (Luoto, 2009). It has been reported that red clover can reduce the frequency of hot flashes by one third. Although hot flashes may still occur, the intensity is significantly less (Menati, 2014).

General Fatigue and Libido:

The boost of vitamin C, magnesium, and potassium in general help women fight against the dryness of skin (you can read about dry itchy skin here), fatigue, and moodiness. During menopause, as the estrogen level declines severely, it decreases the ability of your body to absorb nutrients and dampens your immune system. As a result, many women will feel generally tired as if they are always about to get sick. The vitamin C, magnesium, and potassium in the red clover not only increase the chances for your body to take up more nutrients, but they are crucial to build up your immune system. Together with the boost in estrogen level, many women find red clover to increase their libido and uplift their general well-being (Lipovac, 2011).

Dryness of Skin:

As you have seen in many anti-aging beauty products, vitamin C, magnesium, and potassium greatly help women combat against dryness of skin as they promote better fluid retention in skin cells. It has been documented in several scientific studies that red clover preparations can speed up wound healing and greatly ease chronic skin problems such as psoriasis (Lipovac, 2011). It has also been found to promote better scalp, hair, and nail condition in menopausal and post-menopausal women (Lipovac, 2011).

Cardiovascular-related Problems:

Because red clover slows the rate of blood-clotting, it reduces the risk of blood clots floating in the blood stream which may lead to embolism and stroke (Hajirahimkhan, 2013). At the same time, the isoflavones have shown to reduce the bad cholesterol level in the blood.

Osteoporsis:

The calcium and phosphorus is a great helper along with the isoflavones to lower the risk of osteoporosis occurring during and after menopause (Luoto, 2009).

Red Clover vs. Black Cohosh

Black Cohosh, one of the best-selling menopause symptoms reliever in the United States, is made from the North American black cohosh plant roots (we have written an extensive article about black cohosh that you can read here). Although several studies have found it to be helpful with hot flashes, other studies have found it to have no effect at all.

According to scientific research, black cohosh has reported to interact with only serotonin receptors in the human body (Hajirahimkhan, 2013). Although serotonin may help with depression and sleeping disorders, it does not react with estrogen or progesterone at all like red clover does. Consequently, it will not help with many symptoms of menopause that are heavily related to the functioning of estrogen and progesterone receptors. Unless you hare having problem with sleeping or suffering from depression, you can skip over black cohosh as a menopause symptom reliever.

Dosage (how much red clover you should take?) and Possible Side Effects

In general, daily dosage up to 80 milligrams of red clover is safe to be used as a dietary amount. However, to better gauge a safer consumption amount, please consult your family physician before starting the daily intake of red clover.

This procedure is extremely important if you currently have any physical condition and receiving any treatments because red clover may cause a side effect when taken in combination with various medical treatments.

There have been documented cases where individuals, under treatment for liver-related maladies, suffer from severe cases of severe vomiting and epigastric pain upon starting their red clover supplements (Orr, 2013). And because of its coumarin derivatives, individuals with coagulation disorders or currently undergoing anticoagulation therapy should consult with their physicians before taking red clover. It should also be noted that red clover may have the following side-effects: rash-like reactions, muscle ache, headache, nausea, and/or vaginal bleeding in women.

If any of these symptoms occur, immediately stop all intake of red clover and consult your family physician. Although there have been studies that suggest that Isoflavones may lower risk of breast cancer, these studies were done solely on soy Isoflavones and they only shown positive results in Asian populations according to the Shanghai Breast Cancer Survival Study (Heber, 2008). Therefore, red clover should not be taken by women with a family history or a past history, or currently having breast cancer, ovarian cancer, uterine cancer, uterine fibroids, or other estrogen-sensitive or progesterone-sensitive conditions.

What about you? Have you used red clove during menopause for hot flashes or any other symptoms? Have you used black cohosh? Which do you prefer?


How to Use Red Clover Blossoms

(Andrea, Frugally Sustainable)

This week, while visiting my sister in Colorado Springs, I have had the pleasure of taking to the land and foraging for wild edibles and herbs not commonly available to me in the low desert of Phoenix.

Imagine my surprise and delight when I stumbled upon a large patch of Red Clover growing in the sandy soil near a creek bed while hiking a few days ago!

Red Clover infusions have quickly made their way onto the list of my top 5 most favorite drinks — not only is the tea nourishing but the blossoms of this clover are super tasty when eaten raw, and they make a wonderful treatment for wounds when used topically.

In fact, Red Clover could be compared to the herb Alfalfa leaf simply because of it’s nutritional value.

Moreover, it is an all-around good immune system builder, blood purifier, and one of the best herbs for detoxification.

A list of health benefits may include:

1. It functioning as a good tonic for colds. 2. Make a salve or poultice with the blossoms and use it on burns, psoriasis, eczema, various sores, and acne. 3. A great respiratory system herb! It eases coughs, colds and symptoms of bronchitis. 4. Use it as a mild sedative to relax and calm the nervous system. 5. Known to relieve the symptoms of PMS in pre-menopausal women and can assist the body in establishing a healthy menstrual flow. 6. Reduces the symptoms of menopause. Notably hot flashes and may delay the effects of osteoporosis. 7. Great for liver health as it purifies the blood and helps to remove toxins. 8. Red clover also seems to reduce our levels of bad (LDL) cholesterol and our risk for heart disease. 9. Nutritionally speaking Red Clover blossoms contain a good amount of calcium, magnesium, potassium, niacin, thiamine, and lots of Vitamin C.

How to Use Red Clover Blossoms

How should we use these beauty blossoms?

They are most often dried to be used in teas or herbal infusions. But they can be tinctured or used externally and made into salves…even used as a poultice. Likewise, Red Clover blossoms can be added raw to many culinary dishes such as salads and soups.

I have been enjoying these blossoms in a wonderful, cleansing infusion for the past couple of days. A perfect detoxifying drink for my time away from home!

And here’s how I’ve done it…

Red Clover Blossom Infusion
• For all of my herbal infusions, I follow the wisdom of Susun Weed. Click this link to read more about her methods. And I encourage you to read her books — Healing Wise (Wise Woman Herbal Series), Wise Woman Herbal for the Childbearing Year, New Menopausal Years — if you are further interested.

Ingredients

-1 ounce Red Clover blossoms (about a cup)
-1 quart-sized jar filled to the top with hot water (just cooled from boiling)

Directions: Fill your jar with the blossoms and cover with hot water to the top. Place the lid on the jar and allow the mixture to steep for 4-10 hours.

To Use: Strain the plant material and enjoy the tea…drink 2-4 cups per day. The remainder of the liquid should be chilled and consumed within 36-48 hours — this prior to spoilage.

Fun additions: My sister has a beautiful mint garden, so I’ve been adding a few mint leaves…yummo! Sage would also be a wonderful addition.

Cautions for Red Clover: Do not consume internally during pregnancy. Do not use if you are taking anti-coagulant medications or if you have thin blood. Generally considered safe for children. Note…please consult with a medical professional before taking this or any other herbal supplement as it may interfere with certain medications and treatments.


Red clover genome to help restore sustainable farming

By Charlotte Jones/IBERS (Earlham Institute, co-authors)

Earlham Institute (EI) in collaboration with IBERS, has sequenced and assembled the DNA of red clover to help breeders improve the beneficial traits of this important forage crop. The genome is published in Scientific Reports, a journal from the Nature publishing group.

Before industrial nitrogen fertiliser production (from fossil fuels), red clover and other legume crops were essential in crop rotation, improving soil fertility. Legumes boost soil nitrate fertility by assimilating nitrogen from the air, recruiting soil bacteria to help – this is considerably more eco-friendly than the equivalent industrial process.

Now, environmental concerns and climate change mitigation is putting red clover back in the spotlight. This requires genetic improvements to help boost its performance.

Red clover’s chief benefits (alongside soil improvement) is to provide a protein-rich livestock feed – it also boosts omega-3 fatty acids in ruminant milk. Compared to white clover and other legumes, red clover has high levels of an enzyme that causes its’ protein to be digested more slowly and effectively – it’s more nutritious per mouthful.

However, currently, red clover only grows well for two or three seasons and it does not recover well from grazing by livestock. It also does not lend itself easily to traditional crop breeding practices, with severe loss of vigour and fertility if inbred.

An ongoing project at EI and IBERS aims to use a collection of diverse natural lines of red clover for breeding new elite varieties more tolerant to grazing, thus making it more persistent, and to understand the domestication process that led to the adoption of red clover as a crop.

For the breeders, this draft genome provides a welcome tool, with which to speed up incorporation of traits that are beneficial for the clovers’ use in sustainable agriculture from natural populations of red clover plants sampled from all over Europe. Widening of the genetic diversity of the breeding populations will help to make red clover a more robust and reliable crop.

Therefore, the genome sequence promises to be a valuable platform for advances in studies of traits of biological and agronomic importance in forage crops.

Lead author Jose de Vega, researcher at EI, said: “The publication of the red clover reference genome is an important milestone, as it represents the first genome sequence of the clover forage crops, which are key components of more sustainable livestock agriculture.

“The availability of the genome assembly will pave the way towards genomics-assisted breeding methods for forage legumes, and provide a platform for deeper understanding of the genetics of forage crop domestication.”

“Red clover is attractive because of its high protein content, diversity and ability to fix atmospheric nitrogen, but to enhance its role in sustainable agriculture requires improvements of persistency, disease resistance, and tolerance to grazing.”

Senior author and project leader Leif Skøt from the Institute of Biological, Environmental and Rural Sciences (IBERS) at Aberystwyth University said: “The red clover genome puts us in a great position to incorporate and build on this resource. We work closely with Dr David Lloyd, IBERS forage legume breeder, so we are using our genomic tools to assist in improving the precision and speed of breeding better red clover varieties. This is very timely as the importance of legumes in sustainable agriculture is “rediscovered”.

“The collaboration between EI and IBERS reinforces the UK's leadership in translating the development of genetic and genomic resources from fundamental science to applications with a potential impact on the local and national economy”.

The development of a more sustainable agriculture is a key aspect of the UK research strategy, positioning both Institute’s as international leaders in biotechnology specifically in the area of forage legumes. This is delivering impact to a broad range of stakeholders and ensuring that the genomics resources will be translated to research and breeding programmes.

The study entitled: "Red clover (Trifolium pratense L.) draft genome provides a platform for trait improvement" is published in Scientific Reports, a journal of the Nature publishing group.

This work results from the partnership between, EI, IBERS and Germinal Holdings LTD, part funded by the latter through EI Capacity and Capability Challenge (CCC) programme, and a Responsive Mode award from the BBSRC.

IBERS and EI are strategically funded by BBSRC and EI operates a National Capability to promote the application of genomics and bioinformatics to advance bioscience research and innovation.


Red clover genome to help restore sustainable farming

By Charlotte Jones/IBERS (Earlham Institute, co-authors)

Earlham Institute (EI) in collaboration with IBERS, has sequenced and assembled the DNA of red clover to help breeders improve the beneficial traits of this important forage crop. The genome is published in Scientific Reports, a journal from the Nature publishing group.

Before industrial nitrogen fertiliser production (from fossil fuels), red clover and other legume crops were essential in crop rotation, improving soil fertility. Legumes boost soil nitrate fertility by assimilating nitrogen from the air, recruiting soil bacteria to help – this is considerably more eco-friendly than the equivalent industrial process.

Now, environmental concerns and climate change mitigation is putting red clover back in the spotlight. This requires genetic improvements to help boost its performance.

Red clover’s chief benefits (alongside soil improvement) is to provide a protein-rich livestock feed – it also boosts omega-3 fatty acids in ruminant milk. Compared to white clover and other legumes, red clover has high levels of an enzyme that causes its’ protein to be digested more slowly and effectively – it’s more nutritious per mouthful.

However, currently, red clover only grows well for two or three seasons and it does not recover well from grazing by livestock. It also does not lend itself easily to traditional crop breeding practices, with severe loss of vigour and fertility if inbred.

An ongoing project at EI and IBERS aims to use a collection of diverse natural lines of red clover for breeding new elite varieties more tolerant to grazing, thus making it more persistent, and to understand the domestication process that led to the adoption of red clover as a crop.

For the breeders, this draft genome provides a welcome tool, with which to speed up incorporation of traits that are beneficial for the clovers’ use in sustainable agriculture from natural populations of red clover plants sampled from all over Europe. Widening of the genetic diversity of the breeding populations will help to make red clover a more robust and reliable crop.

Therefore, the genome sequence promises to be a valuable platform for advances in studies of traits of biological and agronomic importance in forage crops.

Lead author Jose de Vega, researcher at EI, said: “The publication of the red clover reference genome is an important milestone, as it represents the first genome sequence of the clover forage crops, which are key components of more sustainable livestock agriculture.

“The availability of the genome assembly will pave the way towards genomics-assisted breeding methods for forage legumes, and provide a platform for deeper understanding of the genetics of forage crop domestication.”

“Red clover is attractive because of its high protein content, diversity and ability to fix atmospheric nitrogen, but to enhance its role in sustainable agriculture requires improvements of persistency, disease resistance, and tolerance to grazing.”

Senior author and project leader Leif Skøt from the Institute of Biological, Environmental and Rural Sciences (IBERS) at Aberystwyth University said: “The red clover genome puts us in a great position to incorporate and build on this resource. We work closely with Dr David Lloyd, IBERS forage legume breeder, so we are using our genomic tools to assist in improving the precision and speed of breeding better red clover varieties. This is very timely as the importance of legumes in sustainable agriculture is “rediscovered”.

“The collaboration between EI and IBERS reinforces the UK's leadership in translating the development of genetic and genomic resources from fundamental science to applications with a potential impact on the local and national economy”.

The development of a more sustainable agriculture is a key aspect of the UK research strategy, positioning both Institute’s as international leaders in biotechnology specifically in the area of forage legumes. This is delivering impact to a broad range of stakeholders and ensuring that the genomics resources will be translated to research and breeding programmes.

The study entitled: "Red clover (Trifolium pratense L.) draft genome provides a platform for trait improvement" is published in Scientific Reports, a journal of the Nature publishing group.

This work results from the partnership between, EI, IBERS and Germinal Holdings LTD, part funded by the latter through EI Capacity and Capability Challenge (CCC) programme, and a Responsive Mode award from the BBSRC.

IBERS and EI are strategically funded by BBSRC and EI operates a National Capability to promote the application of genomics and bioinformatics to advance bioscience research and innovation.



JewelWeed and Benefits of Red Clover Leaf, Blossoms, and Tea

(Healthy New Age)

Red Clover is an easily grown plant, from seed or root cuttings, and requires little attention.

The long root is rhizome, and sends out runners, producing several stems 1 to 2 feet high, slightly hairy; leaves ternate, leaflets ovate, slightly toothed, ending in long point often lighter colored V shape in center, flowers red to purple, fragrant, in dense terminal ovoid or round heads.

The red clover plant blooms from April thought out the summer months.

It’s technical name is: Trifolium pratense. Other names include: Meadow Honeysuckle

• Meadow Trefoil
• Peavine clover
• Purple Clover
• Trefoil
• Wild Clover
• Cleaver Grass
• Marl Grass
• Cow Grass

It’s natural habitat for Trifolium pratense, the perennial herb where its origin is believed to be Britain. This is where it is abundant. Although, it is now a world wide plant and is naturalized in nearly every country, even the Arctic Circle and high up into mountains.

It also has unique properties as Red Clover leaf and blossoms are edible and medicinal, the young leaves and new flowers are harvested, and are very nutritious, used in salads, soups, or as a pot herb. The sprouted seeds are edible in salads and have a crisp texture and robust flavor. A delicate sweet and medicinal red clover tea is made from the fresh or dried flowers, it is alterative, antiscrofulous, antispasmodic, aperient, detergent, diuretic, estrogenic, expectorant, sedative and tonic.

Red Clover has also shown anticancer activity, poultices of the herb have been used as local applications to cancerous growths. Internally, the Red Clover plant is used as an alternative medicine for skin complaints such as eczema and psoriasis, cancers of the breast, ovaries and lymphatic system, chronic degenerative diseases, gout, whooping cough and dry coughs.

Red clover is now involved in research for a certain medicinal alkaloid “slaframine” which is often found in diseased clover, this substance has shown antidiabetic and anti-Aids activity.

The Folklore associated with this plant during the middle ages associated it as a charm to ward off evil spirits and witches. The four leaf clover was said to have even more power against evil, a five leaf clover was said to be worn by witches to give them evil powers, and a two leaf clover would give a maiden the power to see her future lover.

Try This Recipe

Red clover medicinal tea: To 1 tbls. dry flowers or herb add 1 cup boiling water, steep 10 min., sweeten to taste, drink warm for cough and upset stomach.

“Jewelweed” A Natural Remedy for Winter Dry Skin

Jewelweed is an effective natural herbal remedy and offers immediate relief for winter dry skin, poison ivy, poison oak, okra spines, stinging nettle, and other irritating plants; as well as bug bites and razor burn. Jewelweed is also used in herbal medicine for acne, heat rash, ringworm and many other skin disorders.

A native plant of Eastern North America, Jewelweed grows in damp woods. Also known as “touch-me-nots” because the oblong seed capsules when ripe, will explode at the slightest touch, scattering the seeds widely. The soothing sap of the plant is clinically proven to be medicinal and a remedy for relief of many skin problems. Keep Jewelweed spray handy during the summer months too, for sunburns.



Red Clover Benefits or Uses for Skin, Hair and Health

(Nikitha, stylishwalks)

Red clover is similar to alfa alfa and people often mistake it for alfa alfa. But the leaves of red clover are greener. However these two herbs have same flavour. Red cover has lots of health benefits as well as skin and hair benefits.

Red clover is a wild, leguminous and perennial herb. It is the native of Africa, Europe and Western Asia. Now it is seen in many regions of the world. The flowers of this herb are tiny and pink in colour. It has a sweet taste and is edible. It is added as a flavouring agent and for garnishing salads and beverages. The leaves of this plant are green in colour and are alternate and trifoliate. Each leaf is about 15 mm to 30 mm long and 8mm to 15 mm broad. The outer half of the leaf has a crescent shape. The leaves of this herb are used for making sweet herbal tea. This has therapeutic uses.

Red clover also known with these alternate names:

Trifolium, Cow Clover, Trefoil, Purple clover, meadow clover, Wild clover, Beebread, Clovone.

Nutritional value of Red Clover:

Red clover contains isoflavones, which after it enters the body changes chemically into phytoestrogens. Phytoestrogens can functionally imitate the estrogen hormone in the body. So, they are very beneficial for the body. The isoflavonoids help in maintaining the elasticity of the large arteries. This helps in boosting reproductive ability in post-menopausal women. It is loaded with vitamins and minerals like calcium, chromium, magnesium, phosphorous, potassium, thiamine, niacin, and Vitamin C.

Benefits of Red Clover for Skin:

Red clover is one of the herbs that can provide you radiant and healthy skin. Below are given some of the benefits of this herb for the skin.

• Accelerates wound and burn haling:

Red clover has the ability to heal wounds and burns fast. All you have to do is to apply red clover topically in appropriate percentage on the wounds and burns. This helps them heal quickly.


• Reduce skin aging:

Menopause is often associated with lots of problems, such as loss of skin collagen, moisture and thickness. This is because of the reduced production of the female hormone called estrogen, which lead to the ‘hypoestrogenism effect’. Red clover is known for its estrogen effects. So it is very beneficial for retarding the process of aging of the skin. This way it helps in providing you young looking skin that is vibrant and radiant. It also makes sure that your skin remains thick and healthy. It ensures healthy keratinization and vascularity of the skin.

• Treats psoriasis and eczema:

If you are suffering from skin issues like psoriasis, eczema, skin ulcers etc, apply red clover in the form of cream or lotion topically on the affected area.

• Treats cancer:

Although it has not been proved medically that red clover can completely cure cancer, many researches made have suggested that it is effective for curing skin cancer. So, it acts as a supplementary to mainstream medicine.

Benefits of Red clover for Hair:

• Makes hair strong:

Rinsing your hair with red clover tea is very beneficial for your hair as it contains isoflavones in high amounts. It also has the ability to prevent dandruff and scalp irritations, thereby keeping your hair strong. Using red clover tea regularly on your hair can make your hair soft and lustrous, adding more volume to your hair. It also helps in making our hair more manageable.

Health and Medicinal Benefits of Red clover:

• Enhances immunity:

Red clover has the power to increase the immune system of the body. This way it helps in protecting you from asthma, cough, cold, whooping cough, bronchial asthma, respiratory infection, congestion in the chest and many other such ailments.

• Improves cardiovascular health:

Presence of isoflavones makes red clover great for the heart. It helps in increasing the level of HDL or good cholesterol in pre- and poet-menstrual women. According to research made, red clover is chemo-protective. This means that it can protect your body from the harmful actions caused by anti-cancer medications. It is also contains cumarin, which is a blood thinning compound. It is good for maintaining flexible and compliant arteries. This way it ensures that no blood clotting occurs and there is proper circulation of blood. However, if you are suffering from breast cancer, pregnant or already on anti-coagulants, then you should avoid consuming this herb.

• Improves menopausal symptoms:

Menopausal women suffer from various symptoms like nigh flashes, breast tenderness, nigh sweats etc. Red clover can provide you relief from these symptoms as well as from pre-menstrual symptoms. Many post-menstrual women are said to have been benefited by using this herb. It better that you consult your doctor before you use this herb.

• Prevents cancer:

The presence of isoflavones in red clover with its estrogen-effects helps in fighting against the cancerous cells in the body. Red cover has been said to be very effective for the preventing endometrial and prostate cancer.

• Prevents osteoporosis:

When the level of esrogen in the body is low, the risk of low bone density is very high in pre- as well as post-menstrual women. This can lead to osteoporosis. Isoflavones in red clover can mimic estrogen internally and help in increasing the bone-density and delaying the process of bone-depreciation.

• Treats infertility:

Consuming red clover is very beneficial for those suffering from low estrogen level, infertility, premature menopause and repeated miscarriage. This is because of the presence of isoflavones in this herb. However women who have excess of estrogen in their body, as in the case of ovarian cancer, breast cancer, endometriosis and uterine fibroids, should take care to avoid red clover.

You can consume red clover in many ways such as in the form of tea, capsules, tablets, tinctures and liquid extracts. However, make sure that they are prepared under the supervision of an expert.


6 Health Benefits and Uses for Red Clover

By Michelle Schoffro Cook

As a child I would spend hours on the lawn looking for four-leaved clovers, lucky charms that would make my dreams come true. Although I occasionally found a four-leafed and even one time a five-leafed clover, I can’t say what role, if any, these had in shaping the life I currently lead. But if clover brings luck, one way it may do so is through its health-giving properties.

Breast Cancer Fighter

Red clover (Trifolium pratense) contains a natural compound known as formononetin that helps combat breast cancer. According to research published in the medical journal Hormone and Metabolic Research, formononetin helps prevent cancer cell migration and invasion of healthy cells so that the disease is less likely to spread. This research is significant not only for the promise of healing breast cancer but also because it challenges earlier recommendations against the use of clover. Previously, the herb was assumed to have effects similar to those of estrogen drugs, and people suffering from estrogen-aggravated cancers were advised to avoid this herb altogether. The new findings are controversial, however, so you should draw your own conclusions.

Cancer Answer

Not just for breast cancer, according to herbalist Michael Castleman, author of The New Healing Herbs, 33 different cultures worldwide have used red clover as a general cancer treatment. The National Cancer Institute (NCI) confirms that red clover contains at least four anti-tumor compounds.

Heart Disease Aid

Multiple studies show that red clover may help in the prevention and treatment of heart disease. Castleman indicates that red clover improves arterial elasticity, while a study published in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that it also reduced high levels of LDL (bad) cholesterol. Although the importance of blood cholesterol levels is debated, excessive amounts can still contribute to heart disease.

Menopausal Marvel

While there is controversy over whether red clover alleviates menopausal symptoms, the herb seems to help women whose symptoms are linked to estrogen imbalances, as opposed to progesterone or testosterone imbalances. Many health practitioners seem to believe that all the symptoms of menopause can be addressed by a single type of treatment, but in my experience women experience difficult menopausal symptoms for different reasons, depending on which hormones are implicated, and red clover can be effective for who suffer from insufficient estrogen, especially those who experience hot flashes.

Red clover contains natural estrogenic substances known as isoflavones that can help boost low levels of estrogen in the body. Isoflavones can also attach to estrogen receptor sites in the body to help reduce estrogen levels when necessary, since they are much gentler than human estrogen or estrogens found in the foods we eat. A typical dose is two to three cups of red clover tea daily.

Osteoporosis Option

Research published in the medical journal Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine found that the formononetin found in red clover helped prevent the development of osteoporosis in animals.

Lung Health Remedy

It has also been used in Chinese medicine to expel mucus from the lungs.

The flowers can be plucked and dried for use in teas. Use 1 teaspoon of dried red clover flowers to one cup of boiled water and let steep for at least ten minutes. Drink three cups daily. When I lay out the flowers on a baking sheet, I find they air-dry quite quickly. Once they are completely dry, store in an airtight container for up to one year. Both the flowers and the leaves can be added to salads. Red clover sprouts make an excellent addition to sandwiches or salads. Red clover is also available in tincture form; a typical dose is 30 drops three times daily.


Red Clover Blossom Vinegar Recipe

By James E. Churchill

I've heard that vinegar can be made by pouring 1 1/2 gallons of boiling water over one gallon of tightly packed red clover blooms. Let the mixture stand overnight and strain out the blossoms. Add one pound of brown sugar and 1 1/2 pints molasses. Dissolve one cake yeast in 1/2 pint water and add that also. Place the mixture in a stone crock and let it stand in a warm room until it sours. This takes awhile as the sugar must turn to alcohol and the alcohol to acetic acid. One thing that might speed the process is a very large stone crock that exposes more of the solution to the air.


Red Clover Health Benefits, Including Cancer Prevention!

(Underground Health Reporter)

Did You Know…that Red Clover is an age-old folk remedy and a promising cancer treatment?

Every well-stocked medicine cabinet should have either a tincture of red clover or red clover tea. Here’s why: Red clover is a member of the legume family, and, like its relatives soy, lentils, and astragalus, it can repair damaged DNA, switch off genes that have the potential to turn healthy cells into tumor cells, and reverse pre-cancers and early stage cancers.

As a folk medicine, red clover has been used topically to treat skin disorders like eczema and psoriasis, enhance heart health, and alleviate the symptoms of menopause. As a diuretic and expectorant, red clover helps eliminate excess fluid from the body, clear mucous from the lungs, and detoxify the liver, removing chemicals and heavy metals from our systems.

Red Clover’s Cancer-Fighting Properties

Red clover is rich in key nutrients, including vitamin C, calcium, magnesium, chromium, niacin, phosphorus, potassium, and thiamine. It owes much of its cancer-fighting properties, however, to plant-based chemicals called isoflavones, which generate estrogen-like effects in the body and have been shown to help improve the symptoms of menopause, strengthen heart health, and help prevent osteoporosis.

Research has shown that isoflavones can help inhibit the growth of cancer cells, and in vitro tests reveal that isoflavones can trigger cancer cell death. Isoflavones are thought to be an especially effective weapon against breast, prostate, and endometrial cancers.

Many published studies attest to the cancer-fighting properties of key ingredients in red clover, including caffeic acid, biochanin-A, formononetin, genistein, isorhamnetin, and coumarin. These compounds have been shown to stop the proliferation of cancer cells and even contribute to apoptosis (cancer cell death).

Coumarin doubles as a cancer fighter and a heart healthy phytochemical that acts as a blood thinner, especially effective against diseases such as thrombosis, in which thick blood blocks blood vessels and impedes blood flow. If you are already taking blood-thinning medication, however, it’s best not to supplement with red clover tea due to the proven blood-thinning effects.

Red clover has also demonstrated a beneficial effect on lowering blood pressure and raising HDL “healthful” cholesterol.

Red Clover Tea

Red clover is a popular ingredient in many tea medley blends. You can also purchase full blend red clover tea, or even make your own if red clover grows in your garden.Red clover is a powerful herb and can interact negatively with many prescription medications. Please consult your medical doctor before adding it to your daily regimen. Health experts advise that red clover should not be taken by pregnant women or women taking birth control pills.


Sources of Isoflavones

By Erica Kannall

In small doses, isoflavones may help prevent heart disease and breast cancer while providing high-quality, vegetarian protein. Isoflavones are a type of phytoestrogen, or plant estrogen, that mimics the hormone in your body. The three forms of isoflavone are daidzein, genistein and glycitein, but you'll usually hear them all referred to as phytoestrogens. These compounds are found only in plants, such as soy and red clover.

Soy

Soy is the greatest food source of isoflavones, and these compounds are responsible for many of soy's health-promoting qualities. Soy milk, whole soybeans, soy flour, tofu, soy nuts and soy nut butter contain the highest concentration of isoflavones. The National Institutes of Health notes that eating soy can help lower cholesterol and reduce symptoms of menopause, and it may reduce the risk of developing osteoporosis, breast cancer and prostate cancer. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration reports that eating 25 grams of soy per day may reduce the risk of heart disease.

Red Clover

Red clover is a good source of isoflavones. You can eat clover flowers in salads or stir fries, but they are rather tough. Instead, try blending the flowers into a smoothie. The dried flowers can be taken as tea, tincture, capsule or tablet. Taking red clover may reduce symptoms of menopause, such as hot flashes and night sweats, due to its isoflavone content.

Other Foods

Green tea, split peas, pigeon peas, peanuts, chickpeas, lima beans, fava beans, lentils and flaxseeds also contain isoflavones. The concentration of isoflavones in these foods is extremely low when compared to soybeans. Foods made primarily from soy contain 120 to 170 milligrams of isoflavones per 100 grams of the product, whereas the legumes, nuts and seeds contain only 1 to 2 milligrams of isoflavones per 100 grams. Processed meat and meat substitute products often contain soy as a filler and have varying amounts of isoflavones.

Precautions with Isoflavones

Red clover may increase the effects of birth control pills and hormone replacement therapies. If you're being treated for breast cancer, talk to you health care provider prior to increasing your intake of isoflavones. The National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine states that the long-term effects of isoflavones on health are unknown and also notes that women who are at increased risk for developing breast cancer, or other hormone-sensitive cancers, should be cautious when eating soy.



Red clover genome to help restore sustainable farming

(Earlham Institute)

Earlham Institute (EI) in collaboration with IBERS, has sequenced and assembled the DNA of red clover to help breeders improve the beneficial traits of this important forage crop. The genome is published in Scientific Reports, a journal from the Nature publishing group.

Before industrial nitrogen fertiliser production (from fossil fuels), red clover and other legume crops were essential in crop rotation, improving soil fertility. Legumes boost soil nitrate fertility by assimilating nitrogen from the air, recruiting soil bacteria to help – this is considerably more eco-friendly than the equivalent industrial process.

Now, environmental concerns and climate change mitigation is putting red clover back in the spotlight. This requires genetic improvements to help boost its performance.

Red clover’s chief benefits (alongside soil improvement) is to provide a protein-rich livestock feed – it also boosts omega-3 fatty acids in ruminant milk. Compared to white clover and other legumes, red clover has high levels of an enzyme that causes its’ protein to be digested more slowly and effectively – it’s more nutritious per mouthful.

However, currently, red clover only grows well for two or three seasons and it does not recover well from grazing by livestock. It also does not lend itself easily to traditional crop breeding practices, with severe loss of vigour and fertility if inbred.

An ongoing project at EI and IBERS aims to use a collection of diverse natural lines of red clover for breeding new elite varieties more tolerant to grazing, thus making it more persistent, and to understand the domestication process that led to the adoption of red clover as a crop.

For the breeders, this draft genome provides a welcome tool, with which to speed up incorporation of traits that are beneficial for the clovers’ use in sustainable agriculture from natural populations of red clover plants sampled from all over Europe. Widening of the genetic diversity of the breeding populations will help to make red clover a more robust and reliable crop.

Therefore, the genome sequence promises to be a valuable platform for advances in studies of traits of biological and agronomic importance in forage crops.

Lead author Jose de Vega, researcher at EI, said: “The publication of the red clover reference genome is an important milestone, as it represents the first genome sequence of the clover forage crops, which are key components of more sustainable livestock agriculture.

“The availability of the genome assembly will pave the way towards genomics-assisted breeding methods for forage legumes, and provide a platform for deeper understanding of the genetics of forage crop domestication.”

“Red clover is attractive because of its high protein content, diversity and ability to fix atmospheric nitrogen, but to enhance its role in sustainable agriculture requires improvements of persistency, disease resistance, and tolerance to grazing.”

Senior author and project leader Leif Skøt from the Institute of Biological, Environmental and Rural Sciences (IBERS) at Aberystwyth University said: “The red clover genome puts us in a great position to incorporate and build on this resource. We work closely with Dr David Lloyd, IBERS forage legume breeder, so we are using our genomic tools to assist in improving the precision and speed of breeding better red clover varieties. This is very timely as the importance of legumes in sustainable agriculture is “rediscovered”.

“The collaboration between EI and IBERS reinforces the UK's leadership in translating the development of genetic and genomic resources from fundamental science to applications with a potential impact on the local and national economy”.

The development of a more sustainable agriculture is a key aspect of the UK research strategy, positioning both Institute’s as international leaders in biotechnology specifically in the area of forage legumes. This is delivering impact to a broad range of stakeholders and ensuring that the genomics resources will be translated to research and breeding programmes.

The study entitled: "Red clover (Trifolium pratense L.) draft genome provides a platform for trait improvement" is published in Scientific Reports, a journal of the Nature publishing group.

This work results from the partnership between, EI, IBERS and Germinal Holdings LTD, part funded by the latter through EI Capacity and Capability Challenge (CCC) programme, and a Responsive Mode award from the BBSRC.

IBERS and EI are strategically funded by BBSRC and EI operates a National Capability to promote the application of genomics and bioinformatics to advance bioscience research and innovation.

Images: Six red clover varieties with diverse architectures and traits have recently been selected as parents of the next-year generation, after positive field trails in IBERS last summer that scored plants from around Europe. These activities are part of the project "Comparative population genomics of red clover domestication and improvement" funded by BBSRC. Credit: Charlotte Jones/IBERS (Co-author of the study).



Summer’s Wild Edibles

By Holly Bellenuono & Catherine Walthers

Our series on the variety of foods and ingredients you can find on the Island – in your backyard, in fields, in forests, and on beaches – continues with summer’s tasty treats. Plus recipes for rose-hip soup, a salad with fresh raspberries, and sumac lemonade.

While you’re enjoying the beach and the sun, be sure to include nature’s summer bounty in your day. It’s easy to locate and harvest many useful wild plants on the Vineyard, and even easier to make delicious food and drinks with them. Here are the descriptions you need to find tasty flowers and nutritious greens to go with every meal of the day.

Beach peas

In the spring, the beach pea plant (Lathyrus maritimus) has beautiful purple or fuchsia flowers amid the pale green leaves. If you look at the same plants again in July and August, you’ll often see hanging pods (similar to common garden pea pods) with three to eight small peas inside. Since the peas are undersized, it might take too much time to collect for a meal, but they taste like regular peas and can be eaten and cooked in the same way. Beach pea tendrils, located at the tip of the plant, can be snipped and lightly steamed. Look for the beach peas on both the south- and north-shore beaches, in the dunes and around high-tide marks, or along beach paths. Collecting the peas is a good activity for kids inclined toward foraging.

Burdock and yellow dock

Burdock (Arctium lappa) leaves are silvery green, wide, and wavy; its cousin yellow dock (Rumex crispus) has long, narrow, and often speckled, reddish-brown leaves. While they look different, they are generally found growing in the same poor- to medium-quality soil (such as along roadsides and yard edges) and the roots are used in a similar manner: chopped and eaten in stir-fries, or soaked in vinegar to create a mineral-rich salad dressing. Their roots, which are quite difficult to dig up but well worth it, are valuable sources of iron.

Cat brier

The trails throughout up-Island are rampant by mid-summer with a looping, climbing vine that leans out into the path with tiny twisting tips. This is cat brier (Smilax rotundifolia). As the species name implies, the leaves are rounded; they are leathery and slightly heart-shaped, coming to a point at the tip. Those swaying tips that reach out to brush against you as you hike the trail are actually edible, and the last three inches of the tips make a succulent, crunchy addition to salads. The small flowers elsewhere on the plant are nondescript and not edible, and in the fall they put forth tiny, blue berries that are also not edible. Cat brier is considered an emergency food – useful to know if you are ever lost.

Irish moss

Irish moss seaweed can be found on many New England shores and is a red algae. The fronds are generally three to six inches long and sport a deep reddish-purple or green color. These forked and curled fronds grow in clusters, and have no sacks on them like you see on bladder wrack. (Other seaweeds are edible, by the way, but bladder wrack is not as tasty.) Irish moss (Chondrus crispus) contains carrageenan and is used commercially as a thickener as it has the wonderful ability to make liquids gel. Many foods can benefit from a little nutritious Irish moss added in: soups, puddings, chilled salads. There’s even a recipe for Irish moss lemonade in A Foraging Vacation: Edibles from Maine’s Sea and Shore by Raquel Boeh-mer (Down East Books, 1982). The best way to experiment with Irish moss is to gather it fresh and dry it on large screens – outdoors in shade or indoors in a well-ventilated space or even in an oven on very low heat. Once all the water is gone, store it in sealed bags. When ready to use, shake the seaweed to remove excess sand, and reconstitute by washing in several changes of water before cooking it. Or, if using fresh plants, wash in several changes of water and simmer on low heat in whatever recipe you choose (the plant must be cooked prior to eating it). Small amounts are generally called for.

Quick recipe:

• Irish moss pudding

To make pudding, use a 1/2 cup of fresh Irish moss to set a quart of milk. Wash the seaweed in cold water for 10 minutes before placing it in cheesecloth that you suspend in the milk. Simmer for 30 minutes. Squeeze the cheesecloth to release the carrageenan before removing it from the milk. Add a 1/2 cup brown sugar, 1 teaspoon vanilla, a pinch of salt, and a pinch of nutmeg, cocoa, or coffee for flavor. Pour into bowls and chill for 1 hour.

• Lamb’s-quarters

Nearly every garden on the Vineyard sprouts lamb’s-quarters (Chenopodium album), which, if given the chance, can provide many meals. In your garden or anywhere the soil is disturbed, look for silvery green plants with serrated leaves growing alternately up the stem; upper leaves are smooth and the entire plant has a mealy, dusty appearance. This “dust” will rub off on your fingertips and sparkle like silver, though it in no way affects the flavor or safety of this valuable wild food. The leaves are delicious and nutty eaten raw, or they can be steamed as a vegetable. Some people boil them, but this can make them slimy and disagreeable. Raw, however, they provide the same nutritional content as spinach. Later in the season, as lamb’s-quarter grows to six feet or taller and has developed tiny brown seed clusters, harvest the seeds; these are highly nutritious and can be used in a variety of ways: Sprinkle them on your oatmeal; use them as you would TVP (textured vegetable protein) in stir-fries; mix them with hamburger or turkey meat for your burgers; or grind them in a mill to the consistency of flour, and use in a one-to-one ratio with your normal wheat flour. This vital plant is all-too-often pulled out as a weed; instead, put it to use all season long.

• Purslane

Fat, juicy leaves are often neglected when choosing wild foods, but they are prized among those who seek mild tasty treats. Purslane (Portulaca oleracea) often grows in gardens and in shady, cultivated places, and it is a creeper, so look for it spreading out among the vegetables or landscaping plants. It often shows one yellow flower near the top. The entire leaf is succulent and can be added whole to many raw dishes. This is one of those plants that is nice to snip, here and there as you work, to add to salads at mealtime, because the rounded, fat leaves add a sweet crunch. Many foragers harvest the nutritious leaves, but the stem can be eaten too, usually pickled, and the seeds can be ground to flour. (The seeds form just behind the flower, in the leaf cluster; they can be harvested after the flowers have dropped away, and hung in bunches in a paper bag to encourage ripening.) Chilmark gardener Elizabeth Gude likes using purslane and lamb’s-quarters as wild herbs for her salads. “Eat them raw,” she says. “Steaming them makes them lose their crunch, but raw they keep their texture and are delightful.”

Raspberry (and blackberry)

All children know raspberries: those thimble-shaped, red sweet-tarts that grow on thorny branches. There is a quick trick to tell, before the fruit appears, if the branch is a raspberry or a blackberry (both Rubus spp.): Raspberry canes are bluish, while blackberry canes are green. Raspberry leaves also sport a soft green color on the upper side, but they are a bright silver underneath. Eat the berries of the second-year canes, but don’t neglect the leaves of the first year canes, which make a wonderfully nourishing tea. This tea has been valued by midwives for centuries for toning the uterus during pregnancy (these days there is some controversy about using it in the first trimester), but anyone can drink it. Extremely high in calcium, raspberry leaf tea has an astringent taste; if you enjoy dry bitter teas such as Earl Grey, you’ll likely enjoy raspberry leaf tea. Gather a handful of leaves at the same time you harvest some red clover and you’ll be able to serve a nutritious and naturally sweet tea within ten minutes. Raspberry and blackberry roots have been used medicinally for centuries as strong astringents, useful for dysentery and cleansing.

Red clover

If you are fortunate enough to participate in Whippoorwill Farm, the Island’s community-supported agriculture program, be sure to notice all the red clover (Trifolium pratense) blossoms at the farm. Look for the fat, pinkish-red, globe-shaped blossoms atop a tall hairless stalk; just below the flower sit three clover-shaped leaves. Harvest the entire top, which includes the flower and the leaves directly beneath it to a depth of two to three inches, to make a tea that is so mineral-rich many herbalists consider it a fertility tonic. Valued for its ability to heal eczema in children, as well as to treat bronchitis and whooping cough, red-clover tea can also be drunk by anyone who wants to enjoy its naturally sweet, honey flavor. Gardeners plant this member of the leg-ume family, since the roots fix nitrogen in the soil. Marie Scott, a forager and farmer who grew up on the Vineyard and now winters in Vermont, gathers red-clover tops all season and blends them with nettle (that she harvests in the spring), horsetail (that she finds along the cliffs of Vineyard beaches), and raspberry leaves; she combines them for a calcium- and silica-rich bone-strengthening tea. “While I’m at it,” she says, “I’ll throw in some peppermint and ginger” for a flavorful brew. “A naturopath initially gave me the tea, but I realized I could harvest many of the herbs myself.” To prepare the tea, boil the blossoms and leaves in water, steep for ten minutes, and strain.

Roses

Many people think of Aquinnah and Oak Bluffs for their fantastic displays of wild roses; these are ready to harvest right now, and not only for your flower vase. Roses are useful medicinally for our bodies and the petals are tasty as food. And not just those large, golf-ball-sized rose hips of Rosa rugosa, but in fact any rose species can be harvested for its hips, which are high in tannin, pectin, carotene, fruit acids, and fatty oil, and are prized for their high content of vitamin C. Chop the hips and cover with boiling water to brew a zesty tea, or remove the seeds and hairs to make a heavenly syrup to pour on pancakes, éclairs, and even frittatas. Brew a handful of rose petals for a delicate, calming tea that goes beautifully with afternoon sugar cookies, or use them to make a syrup (much milder than hip syrup). The fragrant rose petals can also be sprinkled on fruit salads or dipped in a light sugar syrup, laid flat, and allowed to dry to make delicious candies. For a delectable brunch, include some of these unique candies in your next batch of homemade granola, add yogurt, and top it off with fresh fruit and rose-hip syrup. Gather the rose petals from an area where you know they have not been sprayed with chemicals.

Summer wild edibles recipes

• Arugula salad with fresh raspberries and balls of goat cheese and walnuts

Peppery, dark green arugula, fresh from the farmer’s market, along with pale green lettuce leaves and sweet-tart fresh raspberries is a refreshing change from other everyday salads. Wild blackberries or blueberries can also be added or substituted for raspberries.

Serves 4

• 6 cups baby arugula, rinsed and dried
• 1 small head of bibb or Boston lettuce, torn into bite-sized pieces (about 2 cups)
• 6 ounces goat cheese
• 1/3 cup walnuts, toasted for 5 minutes in a 350-degree oven
• Honey-raspberry balsamic vinaigrette, recipe follows
• 1 cup fresh raspberries

1. In a wide salad bowl, combine the arugula and lettuce.

2. With your hands (and some disposable plastic gloves if handy), roll the goat cheese into small balls, approximately 1/2-inch in diameter, and place on a piece of wax or parchment paper on a plate. Place walnuts in a food processor and pulse to finely chop. Place chopped walnuts on a plate and roll the goat cheese balls to completely cover, pressing to get a nice coating of walnuts. Place the cheese balls back on the wax or parchment paper and refrigerate, covered in plastic wrap, until ready to serve the salad.

3. Before serving, add just enough vinaigrette to coat the leaves, and mix well. (Reserve leftover dressing for another salad.) Top with raspberries and walnut-cheese balls.

• Honey-raspberry balsamic vinaigrette

• 3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
• 6 raspberries
• 2 to 3 teaspoons Island honey
• 2 teaspoons minced shallot
• 1/2 cup olive oil
• Salt and pepper to taste

1. In a food processor, add the vinegar, raspberries, honey, and shallot, and blend for a few seconds. Add in the oil, salt, and pepper to taste and pulse two or three times to combine.

• Rose-hip soup

The Martha’s Vineyard Cookbook by Louise Tate King and Jean Stewart Wexler, originally published in 1971 and re-released last year in its fourth edition (Globe Pequot Press), has a chapter dedicated to wild foods. In the spirit of delectable fruit soups, this one uses a wild fruit available in the summer season to anyone on Martha’s Vineyard who seeks it out. Dressed up with sour cream and a bit of nutmeg, this rose-hip soup makes an elegant first course.

Serves 4

• 3 cups rose hips
• 6 cups water
• 1/2 cup sugar
• 1 tablespoon cornstarch
• 1 tablespoon water
• 2 teaspoons lemon juice
• 1/2 teaspoon grated lemon rind
• 1/2 teaspoon powdered ginger
• 4 tablespoons sour cream
• More ginger or nutmeg, to garnish

1. Pick over rose hips, using only fully ripened fruit for measuring. Rinse well; remove stem and bud ends. In a 2-quart saucepan, combine rose hips and water, bring to a boil, and cook over moderate heat for 25 minutes (do not boil too fast or too much water will evaporate). Let fruit cool slightly, then put through a food mill. Measure pulp; if necessary, add enough water to make 3 cups puréed fruit.

2. Put pulp in a smaller saucepan, add sugar, stir well, and bring to a low boil. Mix the cornstarch and 1 tablespoon water thoroughly, and stir slowly into fruit mixture. Continue to stir slowly until mixture comes to a low boil again. Cook, still at reduced heat, about 2 minutes, until soup thickens evenly. Turn off heat; stir in lemon juice, rind, and ginger. Let soup cool, then refrigerate until well chilled.

3. To serve, top each portion with a tablespoon of sour cream and a dash of ginger or grated nutmeg.

• Yellow dock and burdock vinegar

This mineral-rich vinegar can be sprinkled on steamed greens and vegetables, or mixed with oil to make a salad dressing. Use as much parsley and herbs as you like; parsley is included, because like the roots, it is also high in iron.

Makes 3 cups

• 1 yellow dock root, 5 to 7 inches in length
• 1 burdock root, 5 to 8 inches in length
• 3 cups apple cider vinegar
• 2 tablespoons honey
• Parsley
• Fresh herbs as desired: basil, oregano, rosemary, all chopped

1. Thoroughly wash the roots and chop into tiny pieces. Rinse again. Place chopped roots into a (non-aluminum, preferably glass) quart jar.

2. Heat vinegar to lightly simmering and pour onto roots. Add honey, parsley, and any other herbs, and cap tightly. Keep in mind that vinegar may rust the lid; keep the jar on a dish in case of any oozing overflow and shake it daily for 1 to 4 weeks. The longer it steeps, the more iron is infused into the vinegar.

3. Strain through cheesecloth or a strainer and return vinegar to jar.


Red Clover for Erosion Control

By Sarah Moore

Soil loss to air and water is a major problem for some gardeners, especially if your yard is exposed to high winds or heavy rain. Erosion can also be a problem if your garden is particularly dry and tends to get dusty during hot weather. Sowing red clover can help eliminate erosion problems, especially in conjunction with other plants that aid in soil retention.

Identification

Red clover (Trifolium pratense) is not actually red, but emerald green with pinkish-red flowers in the summer. Its traditional clover shape is made even more interesting by a white V pattern across the center of each leaf. It grows well in U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 3 through 9, and it is a short-lived perennial, averaging a lifespan of two to four years, though it will self-seed if left in place.

Culture

Usually seeded in autumn in warmer climates, red clover is quick to establish and will take root even if simply scattered across the soil. Ideally, however, it prefers a planting depth of 1/4 inch. Though most home gardeners will not need to cover nearly so much ground, it should be planted at a density of 6-12 pounds of seed per acre. If you wish, you can also seed in early spring.

Erosion Control

Many gardens contain large patches of soil that are typically given over to annuals or vegetables, but left bare during the fall and winter seasons. These areas are especially susceptible to erosion, usually by rain or wind in warmer climates. When sown on soil that would otherwise be left naked, the red clover root system holds soil in place, preventing it from running off and even reducing surface water pollution.

Other Uses

Red clover is a legume and can be used to fix nitrogen in soils of poor quality. It is often sown as a cover crop over the winter, even in home gardens, to replace nutrients taken out by vegetables or grains. Especially when tilled into the ground in early spring, it contributes useful organic matter to soil intended for vegetables or even ornamentals. Red clover can loosen and enrich it soil that has a tendency to get packed and dusty.


Is Clover an Alternative Groundcover?

By Eulalia Palomo

Some clovers (Trifolium spp.) work well as a groundcover, making them a suitable alternative to other low-growing groundcover perennials. Select slow-spreading, low-growing perennial clover varieties to use as a groundcover in the garden. Perennial clover grows in U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 3 through 10, depending on the species.

Role of a Good Groundcover

A good groundcover does just that: It covers the soil, visually eliminating bare spots in the garden by filling in between larger shrubs, landscape trees and perennials. But a groundcover is more than just visual; it also helps reduce weeds that would thrive in bare soil, and the groundcover helps slow evaporation and keep more moisture in the soil. Disturbed, bare soil on slopes or hillsides is unstable, but a groundcover like clover can help support the soil and slow erosion.

Benefits and Drawbacks

Clover belongs to the legume plant family (Fabaceae), and, like other legumes, clover fixes nitrogen in the soil, actively increasing the nutrient levels in the garden. Perennial clover varieties create a fast-growing, dense web of roots and plant material over disturbed soil, keeping it in place. Planting clover in the garden will also help attract bees and other pollinators. Clover can, however, be highly invasive in some areas, as it spreads rapidly by seed and from the roots.

Annual or Perennial

Clover species can be either annuals or perennials. Once established, perennial clover comes back reliably, making it more suitable as a groundcover than annual species that usually need reseeding each year. Perennial clover will self-seed too, but it spreads consistently through its creeping root system. Some perennial clovers will die back in hot or cold weather, but new growth will emerge from the roots the following growing season.

Red Clover

Red clover (Trifolium pratense) grows in USDA plant hardiness zones 6 and warmer. In areas with hot summers, red clover grows as a cool-season annual that dies back in summer. These clovers are more often grown, and better suited, as a cover crop in gardens and on farmland and as forage crops for livestock than as ornamental groundcovers. They grow 1 to 3 feet tall with a leggy growth habit not well suited as an effective groundcover. Red clover is also considered highly invasive in some areas.

Dwarf White Clover

The dwarf white clover (Trifolium repens) is an ideal clover for use as a groundcover. It grows just 3 to 6 inches tall with a spreading, mat-forming growth habit. White dwarf clover will grow both in sun and part shade. This perennial clover grows in USDA plant hardiness zones 3 through 10. While dwarf white clover does spread, and is considered invasive in some areas, it is less invasive than many other clover varieties.

Cultivars to Try

For variations on the common green foliage of dwarf white clover, there are several cultivars to try. The cultivar "Dragon's Blood" (Trifolium repens "Dragon's Blood") grows 3 inches tall with a creeping, spreading growth habit. The variegated leaves are green and white with splashes of red. This cultivar grows in USDA zones 4 through 9. For warmer areas, the cultivar "Dark Dancer" (Trifolium repens "Atropurpureum") grows in USDA zones 4 through 10. This 3- to 8-inch-tall clover has variegated leaves that are deep purple and appear black.


How to Germinate Red Clover

By Daniel Thompson

Red clover (Trifolium pratense L.) is a fast growing member of the legume family that germinates easily under most conditions. Red clover is often used as a cover crop and natural fertilizer to add nitrogen to the soil over the winter. This plant is tolerant of shade and grows under a variety of conditions that make it ideal for growing in conjunction with other garden crops. Red clover sown alongside corn rows will naturally fertilizer the nearby corn plants and limit erosion in your garden.

Seed Treatment

If you plan on using your red clover as a natural method of fertilization, you will need to innoculate the seeds with rhizobium first. This bacteria is a necessary part of the natural process that red clover uses to transfer nitrogen from the atmosphere to the soil. Rhizobium is available from many seed distributors.

Sowing Times

Red clover sown during the fall uses the nitrogen-fixing capabilities of red clover to prepare the soil for the next year's crop. Plant your fall red clover crop at least 6 weeks before the first frost. This allows your red clover time to germinate and establish a healthy level of growth.

Overseeding

In gardens with established crops you can use a broadcast spreader to spread red clover over the surface of your garden between your garden rows. Establish your other garden plants first to ensure that they are not competing with the clover. Rake the spaces between your rows and seed the red clover between each one at a rate of one ounce per 226 square feet. Apply a fertilizer high in nitrogen between your existing garden rows before you overseed your garden with clover, to promote growth after it germinates.

Sowing Seeds

Red clover seeds germinate readily in bare ground when they are planted at a depth between 1/8 and 1/4 of an inch. Seeds that are planted deeper than 1/2 an inch may not germinate. Use a roto-tiller or hoe to create rows in your garden that are less than 1/2 an inch deep. Space your rows within an inch of each other to create a dense cover of red clover. Sow your seeds into each row at a rate of one ounce for every 453 square feet of ground. Cover the seeds with a layer of dirt no more than a 1/4 of an inch thick.

Considerations and Care

Red clover requires very little maintenance and grows best without fertilizer. If your area is experiencing persistently dry weather, water your seeds enough to thoroughly moisten the surrounding soil. Red clover grows in most types of soil but it performs best in well drained, loamy soils with a pH rating above 6. Consider adding a layer of topsoil to your garden if you are having trouble establishing your clover in sandy or rocky soil.


Ask the Herbalist: 5 Herbs for Women’s Health

By Jaclyn Chasse

Q. Which herbs are especially helpful for women?

A. Every woman is intimately tied to nature. The menstrual cycle follows the cycle of the moon, ebbing and flowing every 28 days, in most cases. A woman’s body can grow and change, like the earth, to hold the life that grows within. And like the soil below us, a woman’s body can assimilate the nutrients needed to grow the perfect food for her children. Perhaps this connection with the cycles of nature has something to do with the powerful relationship that plants can have in supporting the health of women. For thousands of years, herbs have been consumed as part of rituals of menstruation and as part of supporting a woman through her transitions into puberty, motherhood and menopause. And today, botanical medicines provide potent medicine for modern women. Here are five herbs I think are well-suited to women’s health.

Chaste Tree Berry (Vitex agnus-castus)

Vitex is one of the best herbs to support a woman’s menstrual cycle. Vitex has a powerful action as a hormone balancer by supporting good communication between the brain and the ovaries, so that the ovaries can produce healthy levels of estrogen and progesterone. Vitex is best consumed in its tincture form. Although the taste is strong, the result is powerful, especially for women with short menstrual cycles, trouble conceiving, cramping and PMS.


Red Clover (Trifolium pratense)

Red clover is the most concentrated source of phytoestrogens, or substances in the plant that look like the body’s own hormone, estrogen. This can be helpful when estrogen levels are low (such as during menopause), especially when used in combination with black cohosh. Red clover can help with the hot flashes, night sweats and vaginal dryness that can occur when estrogen levels drop. It has a very pleasant taste and can be steeped in a tea. The best part of this plant is that many of us have it in our yard. If you don’t use pesticides or herbicides, you can pick and brew the plants right out of your lawn.

Shatavari (Asparagus racemosus)

This plant is not as well-known in the United States. However, in India most women incorporate the plant into their health regime. The translation of the plant’s name, shatavari, is “the plant for the woman with 1,000 husbands.” In addition to a balancing effect on women’s hormones, it also helps to support healthy energy levels and a healthy sex drive. It can support fertility and also soothe damaged vaginal tissue. The plant is traditionally consumed before bedtime as a powder mixed into warm milk.

Black Cohosh (Cimicifuga racemosa)

The flower essence of black cohosh is prescribed for “knowing and trusting in one’s inner strength and resources.” The most commonly prescribed herb for menopause, black cohosh can be helpful to manage the hot flashes, fatigue and irritability that sometimes accompany menopause. It also has a mild mood-lifting effect. The root is the most active part of the black cohosh plant and can be consumed as a tincture, as a tea or in capsules.

Holy Basil (Ocimum sanctum)

Holy basil, also called tulsi, has fantastic stress-managing properties. It can help lower the levels of stress hormones like cortisol in the body. It is very calming and grounding, and can help with mental clarity, especially for mothers who are multitasking and under a lot of stress. Holy basil makes a wonderful tea and can also be taken as a tincture or capsule.

Women’s health can be complex, as multiple hormones interact with one another. Herbal medicines can make sure that the environment is right so that the hormones behave as they should and nothing gets out of hand. The use of these herbs, and many more, can be supportive to women in all phases of life.

Did You Know

Nourish and tone the female body with this light and refreshing tonic for women, recommended by Rosemary Gladstar, author of Herbal Recipes for Vibrant Health (Storey Publishing, 2008). Combine 2 parts lemon balm, nettle, peppermint or spearmint, and raspberry leaf; 1 part milky oats; and stevia to taste. Steep in boiling water 30 to 60 minutes. Drink 3 to 4 cups daily.

Read This!

For an in-depth reference, pick up Botanical Medicine for Women’s Health (Churchill Livingstone, 2009) by Aviva Romm. Winner of the James A. Duke in Botanical Literature Award, this reference blends folklore and recent scientific evidence.


6 Healthy Herbs You Can Add to Your Tea

By Christina Rose

Charge up your iced tea with common herbs and plants to boost your health and immune system, and help you ward off colds and flus, cramps, stomach ailments, and more. Add them to iced or hot tea for a refreshing and healthy beverage.

All of the ingredients below have a history of being used for healing purposes. According to chef Nephi Craig, White Mountain Apache and Navajo, “Pre-contact, we were expert farmers, hunters, gatherers, fishermen and cooks.”

While these herbs could be bought at a health food store, there is a reason to forage for them. Tom Seymour, author of Foraging New England: Edible Wild Food And Medicinal Plants, said that in every instance, wild plants are more nutritious than cultivated plants. Wild plants grow on soil of their own choosing, rather than cultivated plants, which are forced to grow where they are put, he said.

There are thousands of different plants that will yield a delicious and healthy tea. Here are some of the most highly recognizable. Ask your elders if you are curious about more. Also, make sure all plants are gathered from an area that has not been exposed to pesticides or toxic chemicals. If you plan on storing the plants, be certain they are completely dry or they will mold.

Mint

Mint is refreshing and has many medicinal qualities. Crush a few fresh or dried leaves and add hot water. Let steep for a few minutes, then add honey or drink plain. Drink hot or pour it over ice for a refreshing iced tea. Medical News Today celebrates mint for its abundant antioxidants. Another article on Organic Facts states that mint aids digestion and stomach discomfort, reduces fevers, and has a multitude of other uses.

Mentha arvensis, or wild mint flowers are seen here. Mint leaves are used an antioxidant used to aid digestion.

Rose Hips

According to Herb Wisdom, rose hips contain 50 percent more vitamin C than an orange, and enough vitamin A to heal scars from acne and burns, and are believed to prevent cancer and heart disease. A few weeks after the petals have fallen off the rose, a tart, round fruit, appears. Nibble them right from a wild rosebush or crush and boil them, then strain them for tea.

Rose hips grow after the last leave falls from the rose. The best fruit comes from the wild white flowers, but it all can be used.

Echinacea

The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, recognizes the use of echinacea. An article on their website states, “the Kiowa chewed ground roots for coughs and sore throats, the Cheyenne chewed roots for colds or took infusions of leaves and roots for sore mouth and throat, and the Choctaw made a tincture of it as a cough remedy.”

Many tribes also chew the root to alleviate toothaches and infections. Seymour called echinacea an immune system stimulant, and suggested using the leaves and petals for tea, so the plant’s root is preserved. “Wait until September. That is when the plant is at its most powerful. Pick a few leaves and a few petals, and air dry them in a large basket. When they are good and dry, put them in a jar. When I want some echinacea tea, I use a teaspoon of the dried stuff. Just add boiling water,” Seymour said.

Raspberry

Raspberry leaves are known to sooth some of the discomforts of pregnancy and menstruation. Boil crumbled, fresh leaves when the plant is flowering, or dry them and store them for the winter. The tea is plain, so add some mint and raspberries for flavor.

Katsi Cook, Mohawk, of the Indigenous Women’s Network, said raspberries and leaves are rich in iron and contain phosphorus, potassium, magnesium—all of which assist in organ health, and in particular, women’s reproductive organs. During labor and after childbirth, raspberry tea eases contractions and reduces the chance of hemorrhage. Raspberry tea also enriches a mother’s milk supply. Mix the leaves with mint and add honey for flavor.

Raspberry leaves are known to sooth some of the discomforts of pregnancy and menstruation. The berries are tasty too.

Mullein

Mullein grows beside railroad tracks and in parking lots. The plant has soft, furred leaves with a tall spike. Small yellow flowers grow on the spike in an irregular pattern. “It can grow taller than a person; the flower stalk is maybe 10 inches long and is never completely filled with flowers,” Seymour said. When dried, the leaves can be smoked as a tobacco substitute. The little yellow flowers can be soaked in a jar with olive oil, and stored in a dark place for at least a month or two. Seymour swears that four or five drops of the oil in an ear will cure an earache. The leaves can be used as a bandage, and the dried crushed flowers can be taken as a tea to treat a cold or cough, or to help fall asleep. This one may be more medicinal than flavorful.

Mullein is a tall spiky plant that grows in abandoned lots and along train tracks, but it has many health benefits.

Clover

Both red clover, which runs from pink to purple, and white clover are nutritious, if bland as a tea. Add some mint for more flavor. Herb Wisdom states that red clover shares characteristics with raspberry for women’s health, but it is also thought to be helpful in reducing the chance of developing prostate problems. Clover is also believed to act as a blood thinner. To brew it, pick a few of the flowers and pour boiling water over them. Let it steep for a few minutes. The purple flowers and leaves can be dried and stored for winter teas, Seymour said.

Red clover is more pink to purple, but both the white and red are highly nutritious. Be careful to only pick them where there has been no chemicals used.


Natural Herbs To Treat Menopausal Symptoms

(Bold Sky)

Many women have been found to treat their menopausal symptoms with hormone replacement therapy. However, since this has many side effects, it is recommended to go for natural herbs to treat the sympto

As women approach menopause, the warning signals set in - irregular periods, night sweating, hot flushes and emotional issues like irritability and low sexual drive. Conventional hormone replacement therapies have generally been proven to provide only short term respite from menopausal symptoms. Hormone replacement therapies have also been found to often increase the prevalence of heart attacks, strokes as well as breast cancer. However, there is nothing to worry as certain herbs and supplements have proved to work wonders in this case.

Certain naturally derived herbal and botanical infusions have been proven to provide the same advantages as bodily hormone replacement therapies. Black cohosh extract has been found to boost levels of energy and reduce hot flushes. Botanical infusions work harmoniously as a menopausal remedy to support the body's hormones, as opposed to a relatively invasive hormone replacement therapy treatment. Soybean isoflavone proteins have been found to alleviate hot flushes.

Chaste Berry provides mild pain relief, especially to targeted menopausal pain like breast tenderness and edema. Red clover extract has been shown to possess properties comparable to hormone replacement therapy's low levels of oestrogen and so can help to alleviate night perspiration and in addition acts as a sleeplessness aid. Concerning the psychological after effects of menopause, wild yam root promotes production of sex bodily hormone binding globulin and serum oestrogen, reducing vaginal dryness, and additionally boosting a low sexual drive.

Green tea leaf extract boosts the immunity system and acts as a strong anti-oxidant, but additionally works with guggul gum resin to stimulate thyroid exercise, helping to quell excess appetite cravings. The inclusion of calcium promotes positive bone tissue health to prevent osteoporosis.

These all natural, herbal extracts are a promising change as these provide relief without causing any side effects. These are available in the form of supplements and have proved very useful in treating menopausal symptoms.

Read more at: http://www.boldsky.com/health/disorders-cure/2016/natural-herbs-to-treat-menopausal-symptoms-108087.html




Red clover eases menopausal discomfort

By Sybille Hildebrandt

Women who take red clover extracts every day experience fewer hot flashes and hormonal fluctuations and less osteoporosis than those who receive no treatment.

Hot flashes, palpitation and poor sleep.

Many of the discomforts plaguing menopausal women can be significantly reduced with a daily intake of red clover extract, say Danish researchers.

“On average, the women who received the extract had the frequency of hot flashes reduced by a third. And the hot flashes they did experience were significantly less intense, so they felt better during the day and could sleep properly at night. Last, but not least, the women’s hormonal levels and their loss of bone mass became stabilised,” reports Associate Professor, PhD, Per Bendix Jeppesen, who headed a new, as-yet-unpublished study at the Institute of Clinical Medicine, Aarhus University Hospital. No major side effects

The researchers report the following results:

• The three-month treatment led to a 32-percent reduction in hot flashes and those that did occur were less severe. This is an average figure, i.e. some of the women had a 60-percent reduction, while others only had a 20-percent reduction.
• The women who took the red clover extract experienced a slowdown of bone loss, while those who took the placebo displayed significant bone loss.
• The women’s oestrogens were better balanced, and that triggered fewer hot flashes.
• In contrast to women treated with human oestrogens, the women in this study did not complain about side effects of their treatment. Whereas women treated with human oestrogens may have fever and flu symptoms, the only discomfort associated with the red clover extract is that it doesn’t taste very good.
Study initiated by local farmer

The idea for the study came when the researchers received a phone call in 2010 from a Danish farmer, Michael Mohr Jensen, who as part of his work was developing a variety of supplements from his crops.

With the help of a local phytotherapist, Jensen saw an opportunity to help menopausal women with a natural alternative to the human oestrogens. One of these supplements was red clover, which is rich in oestrogen-like substances known as isoflavones.

On average, the women who received the extract had the frequency of hot flashes reduced by a third. And the hot flashes they did experience were significantly less intense, so they felt better during the day and could sleep properly at night. Last, but not least, the women’s hormonal levels and their loss of bone mass became stabilised. - Per Bendix Jeppesen

Extract tested in randomised controlled trials

While this was taking place, Jeppesen and colleagues started recruiting women for their study. They managed to track down 60 women who were badly affected by menopause.

Facts

Seventy-five percent of all women experience discomfort due to menopause. All these problems are caused by a dip in the production of oestrogen, in particular.

The discomfort varies from person to person, and there is a great difference in when they start. For some women it starts around the age of 45, and for others it doesn’t kick in until they are 55 or 60.

The women were divided randomly into two groups, one of which was treated with the red clover extract while the other received a placebo extract.

After three months of drinking 75 ml of extract twice daily, the women were tested again. The researchers measured whether the red clover extract had changed the frequency and the intensity of the hot flashes. They also checked for changes in the women’s hormone balance and bone density.

Wristwatch counted hot flashes

Before the treatment started, the levels of FSH (Follicle-Stimulating-Hormone) in the women’s blood were measured, which revealed exactly how far along they were in their menopause.

This enabled the researchers to figure out whether the frequency of hot flashes would change if they did not receive the clover extract.

The women were fitted with the latest sensor technology on their wrists for a whole day before and after the three-month treatment. The sensor established how often the women experienced hot flashes and how severe each of the flashes were, even at night.

The effect of the extract on the bones was measured by scanning the back and the hips, which are typically affected by osteoporosis during menopause. The scans revealed the density of the bones, which the researchers used to determine whether the bones degraded during the three-month period.

Facts

Seventy-five percent of all types of medical drugs originate from plants. An example of such a drug is Metformin, the active substance of which comes from the Galega plant.

Only a relatively small share of all plants has been examined for bioactive components that have health-promoting effects. So there is probably a lot of potential left out there.

The new findings look so promising that Jeppesen and his colleagues have already started planning a more comprehensive study based on a larger sample of women, who will be monitored over time.

The researchers are hoping to develop a treatment with red clover extract that can actually boost bone formation in the women.

They are currently putting the finishing touches on a scientific article, which will soon be submitted for peer review for publication in a scientific journal.


Progesterone in botanicals could aid women's health

(University of Illinois at Chicago)

The University of Illinois at Chicago has received a five-year, $1.225 million federal grant to discover progesterone-like compounds from commonly consumed botanicals and learn how the hormones can aid women's health.

Whether contained in birth control pills or emergency contraception, treatments for endometriosis or fibroids, or as hormone replacement therapy, progesterone will be taken by almost all women at some point in their lives. The hormone plays important roles in the menstrual cycle and in maintaining the early stages of pregnancy. But little is known about progesterone-like compounds in plants.

Women are becoming increasingly dependent upon botanical extracts for the alleviation of menopausal symptoms and for women's health issues in general, said Joanna Burdette, associate professor of medicinal chemistry and pharmacognosy, who along with Brian Murphy, assistant professor of medicinal chemistry and pharmacognosy, serve as co-investigators on the project.

"The biomedical purposes that progesterone can be used for are vast," Burdette said. An estimated $13.7 million is spent annually by Americans on alternative products, including women's health related supplements.

About 10 botanicals -- hops, red clover, dogwood and wild yam, among others -- have been selected by Burdette and Murphy to study. The list contains botanicals that women commonly use and that have been previously screened at the UIC/NIH Center for Botanical Dietary Supplements Research.

"Reports on the ability of botanicals to modify progesterone receptor signaling is sparse and practically unavailable despite the impact this could have on women's health," Murphy said.

The research will provide information for women to make better decisions about self-medicating and will improve safety by allowing them to understand if they are exposing themselves to progestins alone or in a combination with estrogen-like molecules, Burdette said.

The grant is funded by the National Institute of Health's National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health.



Some natural treatments may actually help with menopause symptoms

By Linda Searing

Women seeking an alternative to hormone therapy sometimes turn to natural treatments, such as plant-based therapies, to ease menopause symptoms.

Do these alternatives do the job? This study

The researchers analyzed data from 62 studies, involving 6,653 women experiencing such menopausal symptoms as hot flashes, night sweats and vaginal dryness. They had been randomly assigned to take a plant-based therapy — phytoestrogens such as dietary soy isoflavones and soy extract, herbal remedies such as red clover and black cohosh or Chinese or other medicinal herbs — or a placebo.

Overall, after an average of three months, women who took a plant-based treatment had fewer hot flashes daily and less dryness than the others, but essentially experienced no reduction in the occurrence of night sweats. The researchers described the reduction in hot flashes and dryness as “modest.”

Analysis of specific treatments showed an improvement in night sweats for red clover but no effect on menopause symptoms for black cohosh. Chinese medicinal herbs such as dong quai also had no effect on menopause symptoms, but newer medicinal herbs, such as pine bark extract, did show improvement in hot flashes.

Who may be affected?

Women who experience menopause symptoms. A woman reaches menopause when she has not had a menstrual period for one year, though symptoms often start earlier. They may include sleep issues, mood changes, trouble focusing, vaginal and urinary problems, hot flashes and night sweats.

The severity of symptoms varies greatly from person to person, and many women do not need treatment for their symptoms, which tend to go away over time.

Traditionally, hormone therapy — taking medication to replace the hormones that the body has stopped producing — has been standard treatment for those with moderate to severe menopause symptoms, but studies showing an increased risk for cardiovascular problems and breast cancer have prompted many to seek other options.

Caveats

Data on symptoms came from reports made by the participants. Composition of the supplements used in the studies varied, with differing amounts of the active ingredient. The researchers noted that many of the studies were not high in quality.


From the Ground Up: Red clover

By Deborah Brandt (RN, For the Sun-News)

Red clover is native to Europe and is now widely distributed throughout North America. It is most commonly known as a ground cover crop.

Editor's note: Be sure to follow relevant directions on product labels and consult your pharmacist or physician before using red clover. National Institutes of Health cautions against the use of red clover by children and pregnant or breastfeeding women.

Red clover (Trifolium pratense) is found in mountain grazing areas about 6,000 feet and higher. It has pink/red blossoms that are up to an inch across. A perennial, it grows to a height of up to 32 inches. The leaves are three parted, with many branches. Red clover is native to Europe and is now widely distributed throughout North America. It is most commonly known as a ground cover crop.

In early accounts of European herb lore, the flowers and seeds were boiled together and applied topically to boils and growths. The juice from the leaves was also used in the 1600s “to clear the eyes of any film beginning to grow over them, or to soothe when bloodshot and hot.”

Red clover was introduced to the Americas from Europe and became widely used by native peoples. The leaves and flowers were used as an infusion (tea) for whooping cough, a general cancer remedy, and more specifically stomach cancer, menopause, and “blood medicine” meaning blood purifying. It has a history of use as an ointment for venomous bites. It also became a food crop; tribes in California and Arizona cooked clover. By the 18th and 19th centuries it was predominantly used as feed for cattle sheep and horses. I have heard of it being incorporated into bread. I’ve never tasted it, but sounds intriguing.

In the 1800s, American doctors began taking red clover seriously, possessing “valuable detergent properties in diseases of the blood.” The pharmaceutical company Parke-Davis cited it for treatment of pellagra (niacin deficiency), scrofula (tuberculosis of the parotid glands), syphilis, whooping cough, and as an external wash for ulcers. Red clover blossoms are included in the 20-21st editions of the United States Dispensary and the 1916 National Formulary.

Modern use is not much different than historical. It is not likely anyone uses it anymore for pellagra, syphilis or tuberculosis, however. It is still considered useful for eczema in combination with other herbs as well as for coughs. The British Herbal Compendium (1992) and the British Herbal Pharmacopeia cite red clover as a "dermatological agent and mildly antispasmodic and expectorant" for coughs. In 2003 the United States Pharmacopeia and National Formulary came back on board with monographs of red clover. It has some constituents that may cause it to be helpful for easing menopausal symptoms. Red clover seems to have an affinity for chronic bronchial and throat conditions. It is a gentle remedy for spasmodic coughs, easing expectoration.

The tea is good tasting and mineral rich. Because mineral rich herbs tend to be alkalinizing, it can help the body detox from accumulated metabolic wastes, which are mostly acidic. Stressors that put a high physical demand on the body such as infection, chronic disease or physically demanding work can be helped with red clover tea because of its buffering effect.

To make a tea of the dry blossoms, use a teaspoon of dried blossoms per cup of tea. Simmer the blossoms in a cup or two of water for a few minutes. Let it steep another few minutes and strain. Drink 2 to 3 cups a day. It is a pleasant tea to help your body rid itself of wastes when sick.


Clover has numerous benefits

(Southern Star)

I always dislike the task of cutting the grass and particularly so at present. The sweet-smelling white and red clover flowers in my ‘lawn’ are currently buzzing with insect life. I take the time to shoo off these insects as I reluctantly cut the grass before it gets totally out of control.

Thankfully, these sturdy plants will grow again and I leave a ‘wild strip’ at the edges so there is a regular supply of nectar.

But clover is much more than a provider of nectar - this unassuming plant also enriches our soil and provides an emblem for all things Irish.

Clovers

Clovers are very useful plants in grassland and are sometimes sown in with grass seed. Red clover has been sown in as a fodder crop for cattle since at least 1645 in England, and was similarly used in Ireland. Clover is used in this way because it helps to ‘fix’ nitrogen from the air which enriches the soil.

Clovers, like many plants in the pea family, bear small nodules on their roots. These are caused by bacteria which enter through the root-hairs.

These bacteria work with the plant to fix nitrogen from the air (that is capture it), eventually turning it into nitrates – a very valuable plant food.

Therefore clovers, vetches and alfalfa are often sown as crops. By ploughing them into the soil, farmers can improve the soil’s fertility. In addition to their nitrogen-fixing ability, their protein-rich seeds also make them valuable as fodder.

Red clover has a particularly plentiful supply of nectar. You can taste this if you bite and suck the base of one of its florets. White clover is also good for bees and other insects.

Clovers were also used in folk medicine with both red and white varieties being used as a cure for coughs.

Shamrock

Clover is most famous in myth and folklore as the ‘shamrock’. There is some confusion as to which plant is the definitive ‘real’ shamrock plant – whether it is springtime young shoots of white clover or lesser trefoil.

The origin of the term shamrock is also somewhat confusing. Its reputed use by St Patrick to explain the Trinity has made it famous as an emblem of Ireland. However, there is no mention of the shamrock in St Patrick’s own writings or in the early biographies of his life. Indeed, the first use of the term shamrock, or ‘seamróg’, in either the Irish or English language is in 1571.

The first mention of ‘wearing the green’ on St Patrick’s Day is in 1681 when it was said that the Irish wore ‘shamroges, 3-leaved grass’ in their hats.

The next significant mention of the shamrock dates to 1726 where it is noted that on the 17th of March ‘this plant is worn by the people in their hats ... it being a tradition that [St Patrick used it to] show the mystery of the Holy Trinity .. . when they wet their semar-oge, they often commit excess in liquor ... generally leading to debauchery’. Not much has changed it seems!

So which botanical plant is the true shamrock? Two surveys – carried out in 1893 and 1988 – seeking to find an answer to this question produced almost the same results.

Both surveys had similar methodologies in that they asked people from all over the island of Ireland to send in specimens of what they regarded as shamrock. The plants received were then allowed to grow to maturity and identified by botanists. These surveys showed that, for the vast majority of people, the shamrock is one of two species – the lesser trefoil or white clover.

In Irish folklore the four-leaved shamrock, ‘seamróg na gCeithre gCluas’, was considered to be extremely lucky. The possessor of this rarity would be blessed with luck and would be successful in all endeavours.

It also granted him or her a clear mind with an ability to see the truth and even the power of a second sight. These four-leaved shamrocks were believed to grow where an ass had foaled three times or where a cow or mare had been born.

In Scotland, similar beliefs existed about the supernatural powers granted by the four-leaved shamrock. And interestingly, outside Ireland and Scotland, it was the four-leaved clover that granted such magical abilities.

The ‘seamair óg’, the young clover, has long been an ancient symbol representing the fertility of the land of Ireland and appears in many myths in this way. The Book of Invasions tells of how a mythical race, the Firbolgs, were slaves in Greece before they came to Ireland. There they were compelled to bring bags of clay to bare rocks until the rocks became ‘plains under clover flowers’. According to another legend, St Brigid decided to stay in Kildare because ‘she saw before her the delightful plain covered in clover bloom, she determined to offer it to the Lord’. The word used for the plant in these stories owes its origin to ‘semair’ meaning clover.

The trefoil symbol appears numerous times in the Book of Kells as well featuring on many medieval icons, including the shrine of St Patrick’s tooth. However, there is no ancient visual representation of St Patrick carrying the shamrock, nor is it mentioned in writing. It first began to be used as a symbol of Irish nationalism in the eighteenth century, later gaining its status as the emblem of Ireland which it still retains today.

So how did the ‘shamrock’ come into existence and become linked with St Patrick? It seems there is no definitive answer to that question as it’s been lost in the mists of time. Nevertheless, it’s great that such a humble plant has emerged to become a symbol of all things Irish. The ubiquitous clover has a rich heritage and we can all have it in our gardens by leaving just a ‘wild strip’ for the insects.


Benefits of Red Clover

(Health Benefits)

Red clover is considered to be one of the richest sources of isoflavones (water-soluble chemicals that act like estrogens and are found in many plants). It is used for hot flashes/flushes, PMS, lowering cholesterol, breast enhancement and breast health, improving urine production and improving circulation of the blood. It is also used to help prevent osteoporosis, reduce the possibility of blood clots and arterial plaques and limiting the development of benign prostate hyperplasia.

Red clover is a source of many valuable nutrients including calcium, chromium, magnesium, niacin, phosphorus, potassium, thiamine, and vitamin C. Red clover is also considered to be one of the richest sources of isoflavones (water-soluble chemicals that act like estrogens and are found in many plants).

Several studies of a proprietary extract of red clover isoflavones suggest that it may significantly reduce hot flashes in menopausal women. Also, menopause increases a woman’s risk for developing osteoporosis (significant bone loss) and some studies suggest that a proprietary extract of red clover isoflavones may slow bone loss and even boost bone mineral density in pre and peri-menopausal women. The estrogen-like effect of red clover isoflavones may be involved, and red clover also may have a direct effect by preventing the breakdown of existing bone.

However, this possible bone-strengthening effect has not been seen in men and post-menopausal women.

For women with normal estrogen levels, red clover isoflavones may displace some natural estrogens, possibly preventing or relieving estrogen-related symptoms, such as breast pain, that are associated with PMS. This effect may also reduce the possibility of developing estrogen-dependent cancer of the endometrium (the lining of the uterus). In addition, results from a review of nearly 1000 women suggest that red clover may interfere with an enzyme known to promote the progression of endometrial cancer.

Red clover may also block enzymes thought to contribute to prostate cancer in men. It has shown a definite limiting effect, however, in the development of benign prostate hyperplasia (BPH), which is a non-cancerous enlargement of the prostate gland. An enlarged prostate may cause men to experience a weak or interrupted urine stream, dribbling after urinating, or the urge to urinate even after voiding. For most men, BPH is a normal part of aging.

It is believed that red clover may help to prevent heart disease in several ways. Although results from human studies are not definite, some show that taking red clover may lower the levels of ‘bad’ low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL) and raise the levels of ‘good’ high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol in the body. In addition, red clover may also promote an increase in the secretion of bile acid.

Because cholesterol is a major component of bile acid, increased bile acid production usually means that more cholesterol is used and less cholesterol circulates in the body. Additionally, red clover contains small amounts of chemicals known as coumarins, which may help keep the blood from becoming thick and gummy.

Therefore, the possibility of forming blood clots and arterial plaques may be reduced. Plaques are accumulations of blood cells, fats, and other substances that may build up in blood vessels, possibly reducing or blocking blood flow. Red clover may also help the arteries remain strong and flexible (a quality often called ‘arterial compliance’), which may also help to prevent some of the plaque deposits that may lead to a heart attack or a stroke.


Richey: Both red and white clovers are medicinal

By Holli Richey

If I was limited to only 10 herbs, red clover would be one of them. Fortunately, here in the Southeast, the medicinal plants surrounding us are almost limitless - that is, if we use our resources wisely - so why keep it to 10?

Red clover (Trifolium pratense) appears during mid-spring in yards and pastures after its kin white clover (Trifolium repens) already has been blooming. Foliage of both clovers has three leaflets, except for the lucky anomaly of the four-leaf clover. A leaf is foliage that grows on a separate stem, whereas leaflets are a type of compound leaf that share a common vein. Plants in the Fabiaceae family, or the pea family of which clover is a proud member, commonly have three leaflets, such as our beloved kudzu. That's not a tell-tale feature, however, because poison ivy, which carries the rhyme "three leaves, let it be," is not in the pea family, while red bud trees, which are in the pea family, don't have leaflets.

A distinguishing feature of clover is a whitish crescent shape on each leaflet. White clover's crescent is thinner and rounder than the arrow-type shape appearing on red clover. Red clover blossoms actually are a pinkish purple fading to white at the center, while white clover is white with a magenta center. Red clover also grows a few inches taller than white clover, and has larger, more elongated leaflets. Both clovers are medicinal and edible, so telling them apart isn't a dire necessity.

They are among the earliest species introduced to the New World from Europe, dating back to as early as the 1500s. European settlers planted clovers as an edible crop for cattle, as well as for a cover crop to replenish the nitrogen in the soil before rotating a new crop. If clover appears in your lawn, it's an indication that the soil needs more nitrogen.

Red clover is touted as the more medicinal of the two clovers. Its recent hype is due to its phytoestrogenic constituents formononetin and biochanin A, which convert to daidzein, which is found in soy, and then convert to equol by bowel flora, containing more estrogenic activity than the original precursors, according to Simon Mills, an herbalist at University of Exeter, and Kerry Bone, a biochemist and herbalist in Australia. According to lab studies, Biochanin A might prevent certain cancers. Consuming red clover as a phytoestrogen, or plant-based estrogen, has been beneficial for increasing fertility and moderating menopausal symptoms.

A traditional use of red clover has been for its lymphatic activities. When people have hardened glands or lymph nodes, red clover tea helps to expel toxic build-up and soften the glands. As a lymphatic and blood cleanser, red clover has been used in cases of cancer, but not as a cure.

A lesser known but very effective use of red clover tea is as an expectorant, especially when mixed with mullein, for spasmodic, hacking coughs. White clover leaf tea also was used by Native Americans for coughs.

The Irish, during times when food was scarce, ground red clover flowers and added them to bread flour for nutrition.

A use for red clover that might be popular during final exams was suggested by an early 19th century practitioner in "Ellingwood's Therapeutist" who found red clover to have "a peculiar influence in improving the nutrition to the brain when impaired by overwork, especially in those cases when there is loss of memory for words, confused ideas, or other mental defects from functional causes." If this is you, you better write it down.


The Benefits of and Uses for Red Clover

By Cathy Wong, ND

What Everyone Should Know About the Benefits of Trifolium Pratense

Red clover (Trifolium pratense) is an herb that belongs to the legume family (which also includes peas and beans). It contains isoflavones, which are compounds that act as phytoestrogens (plant chemicals similar to the female hormone estrogen). Uses for Red Clover

In herbal medicine, red clover is typically used to treat respiratory issues (such as asthma and bronchitis), skin disorders (such as eczema and psoriasis), and women's health problems (such as menopausal and menstrual symptoms). Benefits of Red Clover

In alternative medicine, red clover is said to help with the following conditions:

Menopausal Symptoms

A number of small studies have shown that red clover may help relieve menopausal symptoms. One report published in 2002, for instance, found that women taking a daily red clover supplement had a 44% reduction in hot flashes after 16 weeks.

However, a research review released in 2007 concluded that there is no evidence that phytoestrogen treatments (including red clover) can effectively alleviate menopausal symptoms.

Bone Loss

Red clover may protect against bone loss, according to a 2004 study of 177 women (ages 49 to 65). Results showed that women who took red clover supplements daily for a year had significantly lower loss of bone mineral density than those who took a placebo. Here is more information about protecting bone health.

Cancer

Preliminary research suggests that red clover may help reduce risk of prostate cancer.

In a 2009 study of prostate cancer cells, scientists found that treatment with red clover led to a decrease in the prostate-specific antigen (a protein found at elevated levels in men with prostate cancer).

Things to Know Before Using Red Clover
• Although red clover appears to be safe for short-term use, long-term or regular use may be linked to increased risk of cancer of the lining of the uterus.
• Women who are pregnant or breastfeeding, along with anyone with hormone-sensitive cancers, should avoid red clover.
• Red clover also can increase the effects of anti-coagulant and anti-platelet drugs.

As always, it's important to keep in mind that supplements haven't been tested for safety and dietary supplements are largely unregulated. In some cases, the product may deliver doses that differ from the specified amount for each herb. In other cases, the product may be contaminated with other substances such as metals.

Also, the safety of supplements in pregnant women, nursing mothers, children, and those with medical conditions or who are taking medications has not been established.

Using Red Clover for Health

Due to the limited research, it's too soon to recommend red clover for any condition. It's also important to note that self-treating a condition and avoiding or delaying standard care may have serious consequences. If you're considering using red clover, make sure to consult your physician first.


Red Clover Genome Sequenced

By Natalie Anderson

A team of genetic researchers, led by Dr Jose de Vega of the Genome Analysis Center and Aberystwyth University, UK, has successfully sequenced the genome of a red clover variety called the Milvus B.

The red clover (Trifolium pratense) is a perennial, sometimes biennial herb, which occurs in rocky woodland and scrub.

The species is distributed worldwide. It is native in Eurasia and northern Africa and widely naturalized in temperate regions. It has been introduced in experimental nurseries in Ethiopia, Zimbabwe and South Africa.

The red clover is a globally significant forage legume in pastoral livestock farming systems. It is an attractive component of grassland farming, because of its high yield and protein content, nutritional value and ability to fix atmospheric nitrogen.

“The publication of the red clover reference genome is an important milestone, as it represents the first genome sequence of the clover forage crops, which are key components of more sustainable livestock agriculture,” said Dr de Vega, who is the first author of a paper in the journal Scientific Reports.

“The draft genome of the red clover will assist on-going breeding programs, by speeding up the incorporation of beneficial traits from a panel of diverse red clover plants sampled from all around Europe for use in sustainable agriculture.”

According to Dr de Vega and co-authors, the genome of the red clover contains about 420 megabases – that’s 420 million base pairs of DNA letters.

“We observed large blocks of conserved synteny with the barrel clover (Medicago truncatula) and estimated that the two species diverged about 23 million years ago,” they said.

“Among the 40,868 annotated genes, we identified gene clusters involved in biochemical pathways of importance for forage quality and livestock nutrition.”

“The availability of the genome assembly will pave the way towards genomics-assisted breeding methods for forage legumes, and provide a platform for deeper understanding of the genetics of forage crop domestication,” Dr de Vega said.


Benefits of Red Clover Blossoms

By Nadia Haris (Demand Media)

A four-leaf clover is not the only type of "lucky" clover you might come across. The wild red clover is a plant that has a range of health benefits. The University of Maryland Medical Center notes that red clover blossoms are used to treat respiratory and fertility problems, as well as skin conditions such as eczema and psoriasis rashes. This herbal medicine is available as a tea, a tincture, a liquid extract and a capsule. However, these blossoms can cause side effects and should not be taken without the supervision of your family physician. Heart Health

The bright blossoms of the red clover are the part of the plant that is used medicinally. The University of Maryland Medical Center notes that they contain a compound called isoflavone that can improve blood circulation and heart health. The National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine reports that this may be because the compounds in this medicinal herb help to raise your healthy high density lipid cholesterol levels and lower harmful low density lipids. This helps to prevent clots and narrowing of the blood vessels, lowers high blood pressure, and keeps your arteries strong and flexible. Your doctor may recommend red clover blossom in addition to prescribed medication and a balanced, nutritious diet.

Detoxification

Drinking a soothing cup of tea made from red clover blossoms may help you detox and reduce bloating due to excess fluids. The University of Maryland Medical Center advises that extracts from red clover blossoms help to cleanse the blood because they act as a diuretic. This simply means that red clover will help to increase your urine, removing extra water from your body. Red clover may also help clear up thick phlegm and mucous in your lungs, as well as enhance the function of your liver, which is your body's natural detoxification organ.

Fertility

The National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine notes that another benefit of red clover blossoms is improved fertility. The red clover plant contains natural hormones that may supplement low hormone levels in women who have difficulty becoming pregnant. Red clover blossom extracts may help to balance hormone levels and improve the health of the uterus -- making the womb more inviting to a newly implanted embryo. However, there are no conclusive studies to date on whether red clover can aid fertility, and you should use it for this purpose only under the guidance of a specialist.

Post-Menopausal Benefits

Women who have undergone menopause -- the end of their menstrual cycles -- face side effects and health risks because of the changes in their hormone levels. Red clover is thought to be a natural hormone replacement therapy because it can increase the female hormone estrogen, according to MayoClinic.com. Plant hormones and other compounds found in this plant may help reduce the risk of osteoporosis, a bone disease, and even increase bone mineral density. FemHealth.net notes that red clover blossom extracts may also help relieve symptoms of menopause, such as hot flashes.

Considerations

Red clover blossom extracts or supplements are not a replacement for any medication your doctor prescribes for you. The National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine advises that there is not yet enough scientific evidence to determine whether this herb can effectively treat any health condition. It is also not yet known if red clover is safe for women who are pregnant or breast-feeding, or who have hormone-sensitive cancers, such as breast cancer. If you are taking red clover or any type of supplement, let your doctor know; herbal remedies can interact with other medications and cause side effects.


Red Clover: Use it to Relieve Menopausal Discomfort

(Best Health)

Hot flushes. Night sweats. Mood swings. Over half of women experience these life-disrupting symptoms during menopause'and 70 percent never find relief. Could red clover help?

Symptoms of menopause can be treated with red clover supplements Red clover (Trifolium pratense) is a herbal remedy used to treat menopausal hot flushes and night sweats. You may also see red clover referred to as cow clover, meadow clover and/or wild clover’these are all the same thing.

How to take red clover during menopause

Many red clover supplements are available, some with standardized levels of isoflavones, the weak plant oestrogens that are clover’s active ingredients. Aim for 80 milligrams of isoflavones a day, the amount used in many menopause research studies.

Concerned about side effects? Studies lasting up to a year have found red clover to be generally safe to take, but it is not known whether it is safe for women who have had breast cancer or other hormone-sensitive cancers, or whether use for more than a year raises any health risks. If you have any concerns, discuss red clover supplements with your doctor first.

What makes red clover useful in treating menopausal women?

The plant hormones in clover flowers are weak oestrogens called daidzein, genistein, formononetin and biochanin A. They are similar to the phytoestrogens in soy. Intriguingly, women in Asia’where soy is a common food’report less menopausal discomfort than in the West. The oestrogens in red clover were discovered by Australian researchers in the 1930s when sheep grazing on large quantities of red clover developed infertility

Modern research and studies on red clover

When scientists from the Universities of Exeter and Plymouth in the United Kingdom reviewed 5 well-designed red clover studies in 2007, they reported a ‘marginally significant effect’ against hot flushes.

In 2005, scientists from Ecuador’s Foundation for Health and Well Being in the Climacteric gave 60 menopausal women a red clover extract or placebo daily for 3 months; women taking clover saw an 80% reduction in menopausal symptoms.

When 25 menopausal women with severe hot flushes and night sweats took a red clover extract for 12 weeks, symptoms eased by 46 percent, in a 2005 study conducted at the Functional Medicine Research Center in Gig Harbor, Washington State. Given these mixed results, it may be that red clover simply works for some women and not for others.

Other applications of red clover

Red clover may not be a single-use remedy; there’s early evidence from a 2009 lab study at Japan’s Biokenkyusho Research Laboratory that red clover may also maintain bone density


15 Amazing Skin, Hair And Health Benefits Of Red Clover

(homeremediesadmin ,Home Remedies Authority)

Red clover plant is utilized as medicinal natural herb. It is indigenous to the field of Europe, western Asia while Africa. Now it is located in every components of the globe. Its sweet tasted flowers are made use of in salads as well as refreshments. Green leaves are utilized as medicinal tea. The red clover tea treatments various illnesses.

Here Are 15 Advantages Of Red Clover:

Clear The Liver

Red clover tea cleans the liver. It takes away the wastes from the liver while the body. These wastes produce clogs in liver which brings about the practical trouble of the liver. Red clover cleanses the whole body while capillary. It safeguards the liver. You can drink this natural tea to protect your liver.

Healthy Lungs

Daily consuming red clover tea will certainly make your lungs healthy. Its anti- inflammatory commercial property will help you to clear mucous and also phlegm from lungs. Red clover tea will keep your lungs.

Improves Heart

This medical natural herb has a home called isoflavones. This aspect improve the HDL implies good cholesterol level as well as lower the LDL means bad cholesterol. It affects the blood circulation and safeguards the arteries as well as heart health.

Prevent Cancer

Research proved that this natural herb obstruct the advancement of the cancer cells. It is reliable generally for prostate cancer cells and also endometrial cancer cells. It has an element which is called isoflavones. This element has the power to treat cancer. The tea of the red clover additionally protects against cancer.

Relieves From Symptoms Of Menopause

After menopause there is various wellness issues develop, like skin issues, frustration, evening sweating, calcium decrease and so on. These issues could be dealt with by red clover tea. This organic tea effectively deals with all these issues including Breast soreness and also PMS. You should drink this tea regularly.

Treats Fertility

Red clover urges the features of female hormone estrogen. It improves the propagative features of the bodily hormone. This natural herb treats the inability to conceive and secures from the miscarriages. You could utilize this natural herb daily if you have reduced estrogen level.

Boosts Immune System

Red clover contains vitamin c, magnesium, calcium, thiamine and packed with anti-oxidants. These commercial properties help to raise your immune system. It safeguards you from numerous infection while diseases, like coughing, nose blockage as well as respiratory issues. Drink the tea at the early morning and during the night before you visit the bed for far better result.

Slows Down Ageing

Red clover delays the aging process. It secures the skin from great lines, dryness, creases and also the results of menopause. Red clover has couple of homes which assist to safeguard the skin from symptoms of aging. It makes the skin healthier, smooth and glowing. You can include this drink in your normal diet plan graph after thirty years for maintaining the skin well.

Cures Infections On Skin

The red clover lotion treats numerous skin infections. It consider as a traditional medication for skin issues like, dermatitis, psoriasis, blisters, injuries, abscess and also itching rashes. You could apply the cream of the red clover during the night before bed for better result.

Acne Treatment

Red clover remedies acne and various other skin issues. This natural herb removes the contaminants and also cleans up the blood. It gets rid of the nitrogenous garbages from the body. It is an extremely friendly medicine for skin. The herb not just remedies the skin but makes it smooth and glowing. You could utilize it regularly.

Lessens Cellulite

Include red clover tea in routine diet regimen chart to prevent cellulite. This herb is dramatically gets rid of toxins from blood and the whole body. Actually, it reduces the added fat which is called cellulite and also offers you an excellent shape.

Strong Hair

Red clover has few buildings that make the follicles solid. It increases the development of the hair. You could wash your hair with red clover leaves tea to make your hair smooth as well as smooth. This medical natural herb also treats dandruff problems along with infections on the scalp.

Strong Bones

Red clover hold-ups the loss of bone thickness after menopause. After menopause bones are ending up being weak. Bones need minerals like calcium iron as well as phosphorus. Red clover tea supplements these minerals as well as makes the bone strong and protects against osteoporosis.

Heals Wounds And Burns

You could straight use the red clover to treat injuries or your burns. It quickens your recovery process.

Control Anxiety And Depression

Red clover is an energizer. One cup red clover tea could boost your mood. It is very efficient for article menopause symptoms like anxiety, tension as well as anxiety. It straight results on the emotion and also enhance the mental health of a person.

Caution: Please utilize Home Remedies after Proper Research study and Guidance. You approve that you are aftering any sort of suggestions at your very own danger while will correctly research study or consult healthcare professional.


11 Amazing Benefits Of Red Clover For Skin, Hair And Health

(StyleCraze)

When you see a red clover, you might mistake it for alfa alfa. The red clover leaves are a little greener, but these two herbs have similar flavor. Red Clover has its own place in the world of herbs.

What is Red Clover? Red Clover (Trifolium pratense) is a wild, leguminous, perennial herb that is native to the meadows of Europe, Western Asia, Africa, and now has been naturalized in many other regions of the world. The sweet tasting, tiny pink flowers of the plant are edible and used for garnishing and flavoring salads and beverages. The green leaves are alternate, trifoliate and each leaf is 15–30 mm long and 8–15 mm broad with the outer half assuming a crescent shape. The leafy greens of the herb are used to make sweet herbal tea for therapeutic purposes.

Alternate Names Of Red Clover:

Trifolium, Trefoil, Cow Clover, Purple Clover, Wild Clover, Meadow Clover, Beebread, Clovone.

Nutritional Value:>

Red Clover contains isoflavones, which chemically change to phytoestrogens after entering our body. Phytoestrogens are immensely beneficial as they can functionally imitate the estrogen hormone in our body. The isoflavonoids present in clover help to maintain elasticity of large arteries, which can help boosting reproductive ability in post-menopausal women. It is a storehouse of many vitamins, nutrients, and minerals, such as calcium, chromium, magnesium, niacin, phosphorus, potassium, thiamine, and vitamin C.

Red clover is known for its amazing health benefits. It is used widely to treat a number of ailments. 11 Amazing Benefits Of Red Clover: Skin Benefits:

Red Clover is one of the most popular herbs that can be used to get radiant, healthy skin. Some of the benefits that can be derived from red clove are:

1. Reduce Skin Aging:

Menopause is often accompanied by many problems, such as loss of skin collagen, skin thickness, and moisture. These occur due to the “hypoestrogenism effect”, which is the underproduction of the female hormone estrogen. Red Clover retards the process of skin aging due to its estrogen-like effects and helps to maintain youthful and vibrant skin. It also ensures appropriate skin thickness and healthy keratinization and vascularity of the skin.

2. Accelerates Wound And Burn Healing:

Red Clover hastens the wound and burn healing process. Topical application of red clover in appropriate percentage can help heal such wounds quickly.

3. Treats Psoriasis And Eczema:

Topical application of red clover in the form of cream or lotion has been traditionally used in the treatment of psoriasis, eczema, skin-ulcers, and other such skin anomalies.

4. Treats Skin Cancer:

Though there is no medical evidence to prove that the herb can completely cure skin cancer, yet many researchers have praised its efficacy in curing skin cancer since it acts as a supplementary to mainstream medicine.

Benefits:

5.Makes Hair Strong:

Red clover tea is an effective hair rinse as it is rich in isoflavones. It also makes the hair strong by preventing dandruff and scalp irritations. The use of it softens the hair, and adds volume and luster to the hair. It also makes the hair more manageable.

Health Benefits:

6. Improves Cardiovascular Health:

Red Clover is beneficial for heart health as the isoflavones present in clover is an effective ingredient to increase HDL or good cholesterol both in pre- and post-menopausal women. A lot of researches suggest that red clover is chemoprotective, which means that it protects the body tissues from the harmful actions of anti-cancer medications. It also contains a blood-thinning compound called coumarin, which helps to maintain flexible and compliant arteries. In turn it prevents blood-clotting and ensures healthy blood circulation. Having said so, people who are already on anti-coagulants (or blood-thinners), persons suffering from breast cancer, pregnant or breast-feeding women and infants should avoid consuming the herb.

7. Improves Menopausal Symptoms:

Many recent studies suggest that isoflavones present in Red Clover help in reducing the menopausal symptoms, such as night flashes, night sweats, breast tenderness (mastalgia) and pre-menstrual syndrome (PMS). Though such studies are not conclusive, yet many post-menopausal women around the globe have been benefited by this wonder-herb. These are some of the health benefits of red clover. Make sure that you consult a doctor before using this herb.

8. Treats Infertility:

People suffering from low estrogen level, infertility, premature menopause and recurring miscarriage can be benefited to a large extent by the fascinating isoflavones present in red clover. However, women with excess estrogen in their body as in the cases of breast cancer, ovarian cancer, endometriosis and uterine fibroids should avoid it.

9. Prevents Osteoporosis:

Pre or post-menopausal women are at maximum risk of low bone density due to sinking estrogen levels, which may lead to osteoporosis. The isoflavones present in red clover mimic estrogen internally and can help increase bone-density and prolong the process of bone-depreciation.

10. Prevents Cancer:

Here again the isoflavones present in red clover coupled with their estrogen-like effects fight cancerous cells. Red clover has been proved to be the most effective in the prevention of endometrial and prostate cancer. But in spite of clover’s miraculous properties, it does not show any efficacy for the treatment of cancer.

11. Enhances Immunity:

Red Clover boosts the immunity system of the body and protects us against cough, cold, bronchial asthma, whooping cough, respiratory infection or congestion and related mild ailments.

Red Clover can be consumed in many forms – teas, tinctures, tablets, capsules and liquid extracts. These preparations should be made under the supervision of experts. The wonder-herb red clover with its multitudinous benefits has catered and contributed to many lives.


Herbal Healer: What is red clover?

By Ted PanDeva Zagar (Times Correspondent)

One of the more familiar flowery faces in fields across the land, red clover is enshrined in myths and highly respected by herbal healers. Initially a stranger to Vermont, red clover was designated the state flower in 1894. This bloom is also honored as the national flower of Denmark.

What does it do?

In Back to Eden—a classic herbal still read by countless health enthusiasts—Jethro Kloss cites red clover’s reliability in treating asthma, bronchitis, burns, ulcers, syphilis and cancerous tumors. Red clover is one of eight herbs found in essiac tea, an herbal concoction given to Canadian nurse Renee Caisse (“essiac” spelled backward) by an Ojibway native medicine man. Many decades later, this anti-tumor blend is still a popular item at health stores in two countries. Red clover flowers are rendered into wines and herbal teas for the purpose of easing coughs and respiratory spasms. Researchers are currently investigating red clover as a possible botanical response to AIDS, diabetes and heightened cardiovascular risk associated with menopause. As a legume, red clover enriches soil through nitrogen fixation. As a result, it is grown as a cover crop to improve farmland.

About the herb

First gracing the world in Europe, Western Asia and Northwest Africa, red clover has proven to be marvelously adaptive to foreign soils. This crimson wonder blossoms from Maine to California and all states in between. Growing between 8 and 16 inches in height, red clover has leaves that are trifoliate (i.e., comprised of three leaflets). St. Patrick employed this characteristic common to both red and white clovers to good advantage, explaining the three-person—Father, Son and Holy Spirit—nature of the Christian Deity through this symbolism. The rare four-leafed clover is believed to bring its finder good fortune.

Recommended dosage

To reduce airway congestion add a teaspoon of dried red clover flowers to a cup of boiled water and allow the brew to set for 10 minutes. Add a cinnamon stick and a fresh orange slice for flavor. Caution: patients taking anticoagulation (blood thinning) medicines or who are susceptible to breast tumor formation should avoid red clover.



Benefits of Red Clover Blossoms

By Joanne Marie (Demand Media)

Red clover is a perennial herb that is native to Europe and Asia, and has become naturalized throughout the U.S. A member of the legume family, red clover adds nitrogen to the soil and is used commonly to rejuvenate pastureland. In addition, its blossoms and leaves contain natural compounds that may make red clover potentially useful as a remedy for several health problems.

History

Red clover blossoms have been used as part of herbal medicine to treat respiratory problems, skin inflammations, liver disease, cancer and joint problems. Practitioners of traditional medicine also recommend red clover to improve circulation, purify the blood, and promote production of urine and mucus. Topical preparations containing red clover are also used to speed wound healing and to improve skin conditions such as psoriasis and eczema. Red clover contains a number of biologically active phytochemicals that are likely responsible for the plant's natural medicinal properties.

Components

Red clover blossoms contain vitamin C, niacin, thiamin, calcium, phosphorus, potassium and several other minerals. In addition, red clover is rich in isoflavones, which are natural chemicals that share characteristics with estrogen, the female sex hormone. When you consume red clover blossoms, your liver takes up its isoflavones, alters them slightly and then releases them as active compounds into your circulation; blood levels of these compounds are highest four to six hours after you consume the herb. Red clover also contains several other compounds, called coumarins and saponins. Health Efftects

Isoflavones in red clover blossoms may help relieve menopausal symptoms and might lower your risk for osteoporosis, or thinning of the bones, after menopause. In a clinical study published in "Maturitas," menopausal subjects who consumed red clover experienced a 44 percent reduction in hot flashes compared to a placebo group. In another study published in "American Journal of Clinical Nutrition," post-menopausal women who consumed isoflavones from red clover experienced less bone loss in their spinal bones and increased markers of bone formation, compared to those who took a placebo. According to Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, compounds in red clover may also slow skin aging, improve cardiovascular health and help prevent certain estrogen-dependent cancers. However, these possible benefits need to be confirmed with clinical trials involving human subjects.

How to Use

Red clover blossoms or extracts made from red clover are generally available from health-food stores. Preparations include teas, tinctures, tablets and capsules, or extracts standardized for their content of isoflavones. Red clover is generally considered safe and with no serious side effects, although some people might develop headache, nausea or a rash after consuming the herb. Red clover may interact with certain medications, including blood thinners, birth control pills and other drugs that affect hormones. Do not take red clover preparations if you are pregnant or breast-feeding, and do not self-treat for any condition with red clover. Discuss its use with your doctor to decide if it might be helpful for you.



Foraging Red Clover for Medicine and Food

By Leda Meredith

It’s a flower. It’s a legume. It’s several kinds of medicine. It’s flour to bake with, an infusion to sip, something to kick up the nitrogen in your soil, it’s … (drumroll, please) … Red Clover!

Red Clover: Nitrogen Fixer

Red Clover (Trifolium pratense) is a perennial plant that is in peak bloom right now through early July. It’s leaflets come in groupings of 3 (no 4-leafed clovers here), and often sport a whitish, chevron-shaped mark. The flowers look like pink or pinkish-purple pompoms made up of many tiny individual florets. The whole flower heads are 1/2 to 1 1/4 inches in diameter. The plants usually get to be about 16 inches tall.

Trifolium pratense is in the Fabaceae, also known as the legume family. It is often planted by farmers as a cover crop because it has the super power of being able to fix atmospheric nitrogen in the soil and make that biologically available to nourish other plants. Medicinal Properties of Red Clover

That’s not the only super power red clover has. Medicinally, it is used for respiratory complaints, and for chronic skin ailments such as eczema. Isoflavone compounds in red clover act as phytoestrogens and are used to relieve menopausal symptoms. There are a few studies out there (and hopefully more will be done) that indicate red clover may be useful in preventing and treating breast cancer.

And on top of all of that awesomeness, red clover flowers taste good.

It’s the flowers, along with the top leaves attached to the stems near the base of the flowers, that you want to harvest. Okay, okay: food snobs will skip the leaves completely and just go for the flowers. Try harvesting that way in quantity; I dare you. You'll probably end up doing what I do and simply ignoring the occasional leaf that end up in your collection container along with the flowers.

One of the best ways to use red clover both medicinally and as a pleasant beverage is to make an infusion of it. Red clover tastes mildly sweet to me, and combines well with nettles, red raspberry leaf, and/or mint. To prepare, pour boiling hot water over the herbs, cover, and let steep for 30 minutes. Strain and serve hot or chilled. If you like your tea sweet, honey pairs better with red clover than sugar or agave does.

You can strip the tender florets off of the tough flower head base and use them, fresh or dried, in grain recipes such as rice salads. Fresh red clover florets with barley and a little mint is an especially tasty combination.

Dried, the florets can be used to replace up to 25% of the wheat or other grain flour in recipes for baked goods. The red clover flowers add a lightly spongy texture, mild sweetness, and a dash of protein to whatever bread, muffin, etc. you are baking.

And here's one last fact about this fantastic plant: red clover is the state flower of Vermont.

Red Clover Buttermilk Soda Bread Recipe

Yield one round loaf.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Grease a baking sheet, or line with parchment paper or a silpat mat.

•1 1/4 cups whole wheat pastry flour (pastry flour makes this bread more tender. If you can’t get whole wheat pastry flour, use a mix of half all-purpose and half whole wheat flours)
•1/2 cup red clover blossom florets (stripped off of the tough bases/cores)
•1 tsp. baking powder½ tsp. baking soda
•½ tsp salt
•2 tsp caraway or anise seeds (optional)
•1 egg
•2/3 cup buttermilk
•¼ cup melted butter, plus one more tablespoon reserved for brushing on finished loaf
•1 tbsp. honey

Whisk the dry ingredients (including the fresh or dried red clover blossom florets) together in a large bowl. In a separate bowl, whisk together the wet ingredients. Pour the liquid ingredients into the dry ones. Stir to incorporate the flour. Don’t stir too much though—it’s okay if there is still a little dry flour here and there, and for this dough lumpy is good. You want the dough to still be somewhat soft and sticky, but coherent enough that you can shape it into a loaf. If the dough seems too goopy, add more flour a little at a time. I sometimes need to add as much as 1/3 c. additional flour. Some cracks on top are okay and actually make the finished loaf more attractive in a rustic way. Scrape the dough out onto your baking sheet. Shape it into a disk approximately five to six inches in diameter. Bake 25-35 minutes until golden. While still hot, brush with remaining tablespoon of butter. Let cool on a rack.


Humble clover is main driver in organic farming

By Grace Maher

Keeping red clover in your pastures is about to become easier this season, with the launch of a new, more persistent variety.

Tuscan is the first red clover developed by Canterbury plant breeding company Agriseeds.

Nine years in the making, it combines superb summer feed quality with enhanced staying power and grazing tolerance.

That makes it ideal for farmers looking to improve the nutritional value of their pasture mix during the summer.

It's also a good fit for those who are looking at using some red clover as an alternative to their traditional white clover varieties, because of pest pressure.

"Most farmers who have used red clover in their pasture mixes know what good summer feed it produces," says Agriseeds New Zealand sales manager Stephen Bennett.

"Most of them also know however that it is relatively slow to recover from grazing, especially in comparison with white clover, and it does not always persist as long as they would like!"

Tuscan sets a new standard in this respect, Stephen says, with trials showing it out-lasts other varieties, producing higher plant counts after two years of sheep grazing.

Combine that with excellent summer and autumn growth, plus higher total yield, and the result is a useful addition to pasture mixes for sheep, beef, deer and dairy systems alike.

"Like any red clover, it will persist best under less intensive stocking rates and/or extended summer grazing rotations.

"A perfect example would be using Tuscan on dairy run-offs, where you're looking for very high quality silage or grazing.

"We're also seeing it being sown with a high-powered Italian like Tabu ryegrass for a two to three year feed crop, in summer moist regions or under irrigation.

"There's a real opportunity here for farmers to improve their summer feed with this mix."

For sheep farmers, Tuscan can be mixed with perennial ryegrass like Bealey or Alto and white clovers to provide high quality lamb finishing feed.

One of the key's to Tuscan's performance is its growth habit, Stephen says.

"This is a denser, more prostrate variety than is typically the case with red clovers, so it is better able to persist under grazing pressure."

Tuscan has moderate to high levels of phyto oestrogen, which farmers need to take into account when planning autumn grazing management and mating.

For more detail contact your seed merchant.

ENDS


Look Over the Benefits of Clover

By Kaitlin Morrison

Clover is so much more than a fun St. Patrick’s Day decoration.

As a massage cream ingredient, red clover blossom serves as a strong accompaniment to other herbs and oils or can stand by itself. Massage therapists who use a cream containing clover might want to understand this plant’s history of benefits.

Power-Packed Herb

Red clover blossom, the flower of the red clover plant, is nutrient-rich, providing a source of niacin, magnesium, potassium, phosphorus, thiamine, chromium, calcium and vitamin C; it has traditionally been used as an herbal remedy to address chronic or acute skin issues, such as eczema, psoriasis, rashes and burns, according to a University of Maryland Medical Center online fact sheet.

Jean Shea, founder and CEO of BIOTONE, which manufactures some products containing red clover, told MASSAGE Magazine that red clover blossom extract is typically added to a massage cream base in order to harness red clover’s skin-soothing properties.

Benefits of Clover

“Speaking purely from a sports-massage standpoint, there is no feature of clover that I find more beneficial than its healing properties,” said Laurie Towers, owner and CEO of Physical Advantage, a sports massage practice in New York, New York.

Towers said that the beneficial properties of red clover make it a popular ingredient in balms and skin ointments. Its versatility makes it a fantastic ingredient in massage creams by itself or along with other herbs. Arnica, especially, is a great accompaniment to clover, according to Towers. Together, these two herbs have little to no aroma and are not overpowering, she said.

“The anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving properties of red clover in particular are in step with the array of soft tissue injuries I see [every] day,” Towers said.

Considerations and Contraindications

A comforting and gentle herb, clover usually does not cause skin irritation, but it does have a few contraindications, Towers said.

Because red clover is high in isoflavones—“chemicals that act like estrogens and are found in many plants,” the fact sheet noted—several studies have been conducted on red clover’s effects on symptoms of menopause, but any evidence of benefit is as yet inconclusive. What is known is that due to its level of isoflavones, red clover may increase estrogen levels in the body when taken orally as a supplement.

When taken as a supplement for self-care, individuals sensitive to estrogen; pregnant or breastfeeding women; or those with medical conditions that may be worsened by estrogen should avoid red clover. Red clover also has blood-thinning properties and may boost the effects of anticoagulant medications, so individuals who are taking blood thinner medications should avoid using red clover. Since this herb has the potential to interfere with the liver’s ability to process certain prescription medications, clients taking prescription medications may also want to avoid red clover, as should clients undergoing breast cancer treatment, since this herb can interact with the cancer drug tamoxifen.

Evidence has so far not been sufficient to determine whether red clover has exactly the same effects when applied topically.

The Wonders of Red Clover

This St. Patrick’s Day, you and your clients may fall in love with this festive herb’s many great properties and versatile nature.



Red clover may combat hot flushes

(BBC News)

Scientists are testing an extract of red clover as an alternative to hormone replacement therapy for symptoms of the menopause, such as hot flushes.

The extract contains chemicals called isoflavones, which mimic the effects of the female sex hormone oestrogen.

A study will be carried out by Queen Charlotte's and Chelsea Hospital's menopause and PMS centre.

Use of HRT has declined in recent years following suggestions of an increased risk of stroke and breast cancer.

Guidance issued last year by the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists concluded that HRT should only be used for short term relief of menopausal symptoms.

The Queen Charlotte team hope their work will provide women with an effective alternative.

Lead researcher Dr Chun Ng said: "We hope the product may help women with menopausal symptoms such as hot flushes, and also those with premenstrual syndrome.

"Problems such as hot flushes have a negative impact on quality of life, although many women simply suffer in silence.

"Since the scares about HRT, some patients are just not taking anything at all."

Respiratory remedy

Red clover is used as a herbal remedy for respiratory problems, particularly whooping cough.

It is also marketed as a treatment for chronic skin conditions such as eczema and psoriasis.

The Queen Charlotte team will also test a second treatment, using low doses of a compound known as desvenlafaxine succinate, which is thought to stabilise the body's heat control mechanism.

Professor David Purdie, of the Centre for Metabolic Disease at Hull University, told the BBC News website, an alternative therapy would be useful for women who either could not or would not take oestrogen-based HRT.

However, he stressed that taking oestrogen was currently by far the best way to tackle menopausal symptoms.

"There is evidence that long-term use of combined oestrogen and progesterone therapy does carry a slight increased risk of breast cancer, although the risk is probably much less for oestrogen-only therapy," he said.

"This has to be put into context. We are talking about just a few cases per 1,000 women over five years.

"Women have to decide whether the better quality of life HRT can offer them outweighs the small increased risks."

Professor Purdie also said the effects of oestrogen-like substances taken from plants had been hyped up somewhat.

He said trials of their effect had to be tightly controlled as previous studies had shown that women with menopausal symptoms often responded positively to dummy treatments.



New Study Finds Red Clover Isoflavones Help Vaginal Dryness in Women at Midlife

(Novogen Limited)

Red Clover Isoflavone Supplement May Help Alleviate Sexual Discomfort

STAMFORD, Conn., July 7 -- Results of a prospective, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial presented Saturday in London at the British Menopause Society annual meeting indicate that Novogen's red clover isoflavone supplement (Promensil(TM)) is a natural alternative for minimizing vaginal dryness in healthy, postmenopausal women.

As women get older, the vagina becomes dry and overly delicate in response to declining levels of the female hormone estrogen. About one in two postmenopausal women experience vaginal dryness and sensitivity(1). A normal part of aging, the dryness can be managed to help women avoid everyday discomfort and continue to enjoy sex.

The research -- led by Dr. Malcolm Whitehead, Director, Gynecology/Endocrinology Unit, King's College Hospital, London -- found that 80 mg of Promensil significantly improved the vaginal maturation index (VMI), a measure of normal functioning of the epithelium lining the vagina, compared to placebo, while there was no increase seen in endometrial thickening for either the Promensil or placebo groups.

"The preliminary results of this study are encouraging news for women who want to manage menopause naturally and to continue enjoying sex," said Dr. Whitehead. "Unlike steroidal estrogens, the natural isoflavone phytoestrogens or plant estrogens provided by the red clover supplement are showing a welcome estrogenic effect in relieving vaginal dryness while showing no adverse thickening effect on the endometrium."

This study complements two further randomized placebo controlled studies published last year demonstrating that the daily use of Promensil significantly decreases hot flashes in postmenopausal women(2,3).

Promensil is a natural dietary isoflavone supplement derived from red clover for women during and after menopause. Standardized to pharmaceutical grade Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP) levels, it is a rich source of the four major dietary isoflavones known to be bioactive. Promensil has been studied more extensively and rigorously than any other similar dietary supplement, including those based on soy, which contains only two out of the four isoflavones found in red clover.

The aim of the King's College Hospital study was to evaluate the efficacy and safety of Promensil versus placebo on endometrial thickening, uterine blood flow and the vaginal maturation index. A prospective, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, cross-over trial with two 8-week phases was conducted. Twenty-nine women, age 45-65, received either 80mg of Promensil daily or placebo for the first active phase of eight weeks, followed by a 2- week 'wash-out' on placebo and an additional eight weeks on the reverse treatment. No adverse side effects were reported during the study.

Novogen Limited (Nasdaq: NVGN) is a pharmaceutical company based in Sydney, Australia with offices in Stamford, Connecticut. Novogen is involved in the development of isoflavone supplements and drug discovery for disorders that are commonly associated with aging. Over the past five years, Novogen has conducted the largest and most comprehensive isoflavone clinical testing program in the world. Current products include Promensil(TM), Rimostil(TM) and Trinovin(TM) -- a midlife health range of natural products, scientifically developed for menopause, post-menopause and prostate health. Novogen is also researching and developing compounds for the treatment of cancer, cardiovascular disease and inflammatory bowel disease. More information can be found at www.novogen.com.


Red clover: A powerful herb with strong healing properties

By Chris Kilham (FoxNews.com)

Every year, a beautiful crop of red clover spontaneously matures on my lawn. For a few weeks, the dark pink tops adorn the yard. I always look forward to the blooming of red clover, and I take advantage of the bumper crop in my yard by picking some and drying it for herbal tea.

Originating from Europe, northern Asia and Africa, red clover is broadly distributed throughout the United Sates. As a fodder crop red clover is cultivated for animals, and the plant benefits soil by fixing nitrogen, thereby making it an ideal cover crop for enriching soil fertility for other crops. In the U.S., red clover is the state flower of pastoral Vermont.

The use of red clover as an herbal remedy goes back centuries, and the plant enjoys a history of both topical and internal applications. As a topical aid, red clover is often an ingredient in liniments and balms, for relieving the pain of both eczema and psoriasis, for sores, burns, and as an aid against skin cancer. The pain-relieving properties of red clover are likely due to the presence of the anti-inflammatory compounds eugenol, myricetin and salicylic acid in the flowers. Salicylic acid also demonstrates activity against eczema.

Red clover has long been used as a “blood purifier,” specifically for the potential treatment of cancer. The flower is a mainstay ingredient in traditional herbal formulas, including Essiac Tea, Jason Winters Tea, and the Hoxsey Therapy. In the best selling herbal classic Back to Eden, author Jethro Kloss declares red clover as a life-saving anti-cancer remedy. Proponents of these therapies claim a multitude of successes, while various health agencies including the FDA and the American Cancer Society declare these same formulas to be of no value. In red clover blossoms, the compounds biochanin-

Photo Gallery of the Red Clover