Growing up the only clover I knew was the white clover, I didn’t have a particular affinity for it. Mostly I knew not to step on them as bees loved them. It wasn’t out of bee preservation but my own desire to not be stung that I kept an eye out as I ran across open spaces. In recent years I have come to know of a more delicate and beautiful clover; the red clover. It is a powerhouse of activity and nutrition bundled in a small delicate flower.
Throughout our life our body is in a constant state of flux and change of hormones that help us to grow and blossom. At times these shifts may not be as smooth as we would like in our body. When this happens our skin and mood can reflect these changes and imbalances.
Even at a young age these issues can come up. Cradle cap is one example of a medically insignificant but annoying health issues that affects many newborns and young children. The oil glands are in a state of overproduction leaving a crusty or thickened patch on the head or elsewhere on the body.
An easy remedy that is safe for even young children is to make a simple tea of red clover and burdock root. Set a small bit apart and have the child drink a bit daily and then use the remaining tea and wash child’s head with it. Within a week or two your baby’s skin will be back to being baby-fresh and soft.
This gentle remedy can be just as effective with the teenagers in your life. The liver is largely taxed with breaking down and disposing of hormones in the body. There are times in life when the liver isn’t working optimally to do that and is overwhelmed. In Traditional Chinese Medicine it is thought that foods such as chips, sweets, and processed foods inhibit the health of the liver and the ability for it to do its job. So in some respect acne can be considered a perfect storm of overactive hormones and poor diet that manifest in this rather unpleasant outward skin issue that is the bane of many teenagers and young adults. While some medications can help they rarely address the root issue.
One of the primary actions of red clover is as an alterative. Alteratives are herbs that are loosely defined as helping the body to rid itself of metabolic waste through the liver, kidneys, lungs and skin. This action makes red clover very beneficial for not only acne but also eczema and rashes. This mild stimulation of the liver helps not only hormonal teenage acne but also premenstrual acne that is also caused by an intense hormonal shift. To read more about how red clover can help with other premenstrual health concerns read the article Nutritive Tonic for the Menstrual Cycle.
Besides its hormone balancing attributes by improving liver function another attribute of red clover that makes it very useful for women is its phytoestrogens. While there continues to be studies on its effectiveness in alleviating menopausal issues many cultures use it for this purpose with results. One benefit it can provide to women through this aging process is a reduction in hot flashes and night sweats. Interestingly it has also been shown to reduce BPH in older men. Two other benefits can’t be overlooked. Red clover has the potential to increase bone density in women which is a common concern as her natural estrogen declines. It also has been shown to improve cardiovascular arterial plasticity which is important as a woman ages her risk for cardiovascular diseases increase as well.
These same phytoestrogens (isoflavones) that provide these benefits do have some concern. There is some concern that it will negatively impact those with estrogen dominant tumors such as is often the case with breast cancer. Interestingly more than 33 cultures use it for its anti-tumor effect on breast cancer though so be sure to do your research if this is a concern for you.
I hope enjoyed learning a bit more about this amazing and abundant plant. Please reach out if you are suffering with any hormonal issues so that we can get you back feeling your best!