Red Clover Benefits

Red clover flowers make a pleasant tea!

There are so many red clover benefits that it's hard to understand why anyone would try to eradicate it! Not only is red clover edible and have many health benefits but it's also a natural nitrogen fixer which means it's get for the soil. Trifolium pratense (red clover) is a perrenial plant that grows about 2 feet tall and flowers throughout the summer here in MN. This humble little plant is one of the most well known "cleansing" herbs.

So what is red clover? Being a legume, a plant in the family Fabaceae (or Leguminosae) it's related to beans, peas and alfalfa. All these plants are nitrogen fixers which means they add nitrogen to the soil. Red clover also has roots which can reach 120 feet deep! These roots help break up compacted soil and bring nutrients up that are deep underground. In fact, once upon a time, farmers would plant red clover then till it under as a natural fertilizer. I wonder if organic farmers are doing this today?

Red Clover Benefits

Red clover has a long history! Traditionally it has been used :

  • As an expectorant or cough medicine (including whooping cough)
  • a diuretic for water retention
  • a sedative
  • an anti-inflammatory
  • treatment for asthma
  • externally and internally as a treatment for eczema, psoriasis and other skin conditions
  • as a blood purifier or tonic
  • for menopause
  • for syphilis
  • as a cancer treatment

Red clover benefits for cancer is probably it's claim to fame. It was in Harry Hoxsey's controversial alternative cancer treatment and is used in many modified Essiac recipes today. This, of course, is still controversial today even though the National Cancer Institute researchers found 4 antitumor compounds in this pretty, little herb. They also found that it contains significant amounts of the antioxidant tocopherol, (a form of vitamin E) .

Warnings & Side Effects of Red Clover

Studies have shown that red clover has similar properties to estrogen which makes sense that it would help with menopause symptoms but women who are already doing hormone replacement should not use red clover medicinallly. Also because of the estrogen properties, medicinal red clover use should be avoided by pregnant and nursing women, anyone with blood clotting or heart troubles and anyone who has had estrogen dependent cancer such as breast, endometrial, colon or uterine cancer.

Medicinal Dosage of Red Clover 

AS A TEA - Red clover makes a sweet tasting therapy tea! Use about 3 teaspoons of the dried flowers per cup of boiling water. Let steep 10 to 15 minutes and enjoy up to 3 cups per day.

RED CLOVER TINCTURE - Use 1/2 to 1 1/2 teaspoons of tincture up to 3 times per day.

RED CLOVER SALVE or OIL - Make a salve or an infused oil to treat any kind of skin ailment such as eczema or psoriasis. A good combination would be calendula and red clover!

RED CLOVER COMPRESS - Make a strong batch of red clover tea and while still warm soak a cotton cloth in it. Use for arthritic pains and even gout!

Fresh clover flowers can be crushed and used in the field to treat bug bites and stings.


Red clover may be used externally for skin disorders or skin cancer on animals. You can use either a poutice or compress with the fresh red clover flowers.

In horses, red clover as been fed to speed recovery from viral infections of the respiratory tract. Feed 1/2 to 2 cups of the flowers daily as part of the horses feed.

Moderation is the key when using red clover for pets. As a preventative you can give a pinch of dried red clover to a dog, a much smaller pinch to a cat and a handful to horses and sheep. A rabbit can have a flower or two a day.

CAUTION FOR RED CLOVER AND ANIMALS - The same warning and side effects (above) apply to your pets also! Remember moderation! Cases of acute skin and digestive disorders have been reported in horses, sheep, cattle and other livestock from being allowed to overgraze on red clover!

The old adage, "Too much of a good thing" seems to be revelant with most things, doesn't it?

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I have used red clover as a strong tea when friends are sick 
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The red clover herb, or trifolium pratense, is featured on this harvesting herbs video. Learn about drying herbs, particularly the red clover, and how …

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