As I’m sure some of you have noticed, one of my newest herbal obsessions is Red Clover! I have been extremely interested in utilizing the topical properties of this unique herb, but only recently have I turned my attention to its medicinal and therapeutic properties when ingested.
Red Clover is a wild perennial herb belonging to the legume family and it is most famous for its benefits for dairy cattle and other animals using it as a natural graze in pastures. (More on that later, hehe!) While it is often just viewed as a wild growing pasture plant, almost on par with a common weed, Red Clover is actually a powerful plant chock full of healing and therapeutic properties, and when ingested, it is a great tonic for cleansing and overall wellness for women!
Benefits of Red Clover Herbal Teas
Historically, Red Clover Herbal Tea was seen a means of purifying the blood by acting as a diuretic (helping the body get rid of excess fluid) and as an expectorant (helping clear the lungs of mucous). It is also known to improve circulation, and to help cleanse the liver.
While Red Clover may be beneficial when used in it’s historical context, modern scientific tests have shown that Red Clover is actually most beneficial when used for women’s health!
Red Clover contains LOTS of isoflavones, which are basically plant-based chemicals that produce estrogen like effects in the body. Because isoflavones are changed in the body to phytoestrogens that are similar to the hormone estrogen, Red Clover is often used in the treatment of a number of conditions associated with menopause, such as:
– Hot Flashes
– Cardiovascular Health
– Breast Pain or Tenderness
– Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS) Symptoms
Aside from the benefits for women’s health, Red Clover is also a source of many nutrients including calcium, chromium, magnesium, niacin, phosphorus, potassium, thiamine, and vitamin C.
Additionally, the compounds biochanin-A, caffeic acid, chlorogenic acid, coumarin, formononetin, genistein and isorhamnetin found in the Red Clover blossoms all demonstrate some anti-cancer properties! The blossoms of Red Clover have been used medicinally to treat a number of conditions including:
– Cancer Prevention
– Whooping Cough
– Respiratory Problems
– High Cholesterol
Red Clover Herbal Tea During Pregnancy?
(Please keep in mind, I am not a medical professional, just an information junky. Do your own research, and when in doubt, listen to your doctor, not the bookworm with a mom blog! Lol!)
The more I research the do’s and don’t of what to consume (and not consume) during pregnancy, the more I am convinced that the American medical system is a bit intellectually schizophrenic. When it comes to the FDA and AAP, I’ve noticed that many foods and substances that are beneficial for pregnancy are banned, while other risky foods and behaviors are completely ignored.
So whenever I see a substance that is cautioned against during pregnancy, I err on the side of caution and avoid the substance until I have done further research. Red Clover is one of those substances. It is recommended that you NOT use Red Clover while pregnant.
The reason is because Red Clover acts like estrogen in the body, and therefore “might” disturb your hormonal balances during pregnancy or breastfeeding. A worthy enough concern, however in practice it’s a silly worry in my personal opinion.
The fact is, a woman will produce more estrogen during one pregnancy than throughout her entire life when not pregnant. The increase in estrogen during pregnancy enables the uterus and placenta to improve vascularization, transfer nutrients, and support the developing baby. In addition, estrogen is thought to play an important role in helping the fetus develop and mature. Estrogen levels increase steadily during pregnancy and reach their peak in the third trimester.
Concerning pregnancy, the greatest risk to your growing child is a LACK of estrogen – NOT an overabundance! While Red Clover does indeed boost estrogen production in your body, the increase is highly unlikely to cause anything approaching harm to you or your child – in fact quite the opposite! It will actually serve to help boost the life giving and health promoting hormone that your body is in dire need of.
To put it bluntly – The risks of too little estrogen is death to your child. The risk of too much estrogen is headaches, mood swings and nausea to you. Me personally? I’d err on the side of too much estrogen!
The only legitimate cause for concern regarding Red Clover during pregnancy is that Red Clover is a blood thinner. (This is due to the concentration of coumarin found in the blossoms.) So if you have experienced any spotting, bleeding or are high risk in your pregnancy, I would avoid any substances that act as blood thinners – Red Clover Herbal Tea included.
How to Make Red Clover Herbal Tea
So! All that said, as a gentle cleansing tea drunk on occasion for overall health and wellness purposes, Red Clover offers many benefits to health! High in natural protective antioxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds – and pleasant in flavor! – Red Clover is good for general health, and is a tasty beverage.
To make yourself a cup of this yummy wellness tea, you can either buy prepackaged tea bags of Red Clover (what I am currently doing), or take 1 to 2 teaspoons of the dried herb and steep it in 8 ounces of hot water for 1/2 hour. As a medicinal treatment, WebMD recommends you drink 2 – 3 cups daily.