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Alternative Nature Online Herbal
Medicinal and Useful Plants of North America, with herbal uses and scientific names. Learn to identify, and use wild medicinal herb plants that grow all around us. History, Folklore, Growing Information.

Red Clover

Trifolium pratense

Other Names:  Meadow Honeysuckle, Meadow Trefoil, Purple Clover, Trefoil, Wild Clover, Cleaver Grass, Marl Grass, Cow Grass

red clover flower picture

Photo by Karen Bergeron Copyright 2010

Red Clover Herbal Use and Medicinal Properties

Red Clover is edible and medicinal, the young leaves and new flowers are harvested, and are 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 tea is made from the fresh or dried flowers,

Red Clover has 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 alterative, anti-scrofulous, antispasmodic, aperient, detergent, diuretic, expectorant, sedative and tonic. Red clover is now involved in research for a certain medicinal alkaloid ’slaframine’ which is often found in diseased clover, this substance has shown anti-diabetic and anti-AIDS activity.

Red Clover Habitat and Description

 Red Clover is a perennial herb, origin believed to be Britain where it is abundant, now a world wide escape, naturalized in nearly every country, even the Arctic Circle and high up into mountains. 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.

Harvest flowers and dry for later herb use as it comes into bloom. Harvest edible leaves for salad before flowers fully bloom.

How to Grow Red Clover

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

Red Clover History and Folklore

   In the middle ages the clover was considered a charm warn 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 warn by witches to give them evil powers, and a two leaf clover would give a maiden the power to see her future lover.

Red Clover Herbal Recipe

"Medicinal" tea: To 1 tbs. dry flowers or herb add 1 cup boiling water, steep 10 min., sweeten to taste, drink warm for cough and upset stomach.

Article by Deb Jackson & Karen Bergeron Copyright 2000

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