As much as we all hear to take red raspberry once we’re pregnant, there’s an unsung hero for women’s health few of us know of. Red Clover found all over Canada and formally known as “trillium pratense”, has been used for centuries for all parts of female life stages - menstruation, preconception, fertility, pregnancy, breast feeding, and menopause.
Red Clover is known as one of nature’s greatest vitamin and mineral supplements. Being high in iron and a natural source of isoflavins which can act as phytoestrogens, makes it a natural way to regulate periods and reduce cramping. While this makes it a must have for heavy periods and those who suffer from PCOS, these regulating factors can also promote healthy fertility. Taken during preconception, the high nutrient factor (iron, magnesium, niacin, phosphate, calcium and thiamine) also helps build your body’s stores up to help ensure a healthy pregnancy.
During pregnancy, well-known herbalist Susan Weed says, “Don’t stop drinking red clover infusion once you get pregnant, though. The infusion prevents and eases constipation so common during pregnancy. It also strengthens the liver and improves appetite, especially when morning sickness is a problem. And it relieves anxiety” (Weed, 2004, para. 20).
Because of the high mineral and vitamin content, taking clover tea in the post part period will also help replenish stores depleted by pregnancy and breast feeding, while also helping increase milk supply. The mild anti anxiety properties can also help new mothers to feel relaxed, which can be of great benefit during the hormonal ups and downs with a new baby. A poultice of the leaves and flowers applied to infected breasts can be part of an effective treatment plan for mastitis.
The good uses don’t end there! We use red clover in our Sweet Snuggles baby lotion, because it’s also terrifically soothing and nourishing for babies skin, and can help treat and prevent infant eczema.
Once our child bearing years are over, red clover remains an important herb for women, as It can also help prevent hot flashes and prevent bone density loss during menopause.
All parts of the plant may be used, and is easiest taken as a yummy sweet tea with honey. Many health food stores carry red clover prepackaged in tea bags, and the flowers and leaves can be handpicked from areas free from chemical sprays. It grows commonly in grassy areas such as meadows and pastures, as well as in wooded areas along paths and roadways. (Please keep ethical wildcrafting practices in mind, remember it is prohibited to take plants from provincial and national parks, pertinent to always have land owners permission to harvest from their land, and to never take more than ten percent of a growth). No more than two litres per week is recommended, and anyone on blood thinners or who easily bleed or hemorrhage are not recommended to use. Do not first begin taking red clover tea during your first trimester. If you have been using it regularly during preconception, it is safe to continue use throughout.
We have a huge affinity for red clover, and are proud to use it as our company’s logo as a symbol of women’s health!
Stephanie Slon and Aimee Bings are both certified herbalists located in Sexsmith, AB specializing in Peace Country herbs and passionate about women’s health. Please feel free to reach out to us with any questions you may have!