Fertility Herb {Red Clover}

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photo credit - donielle

 

While on a walk a few weeks ago with my littles I happened to notice a large patch of red clover, wildly growing up a hill across from our home. Much to my husbands chagrin, I headed back inside, grabbed a basket, and my children and I began picking the deep pink blossoms to bring home.

When I was a young girl, I’d pick the red clover to feed to my horse – an indulgent treat for a grass eater – so why pick this “weed” growing beside the road?

Red Clover is a herb that Susan Weed considers “the single most useful herb for establishing fertility” and it has health benefits for most people.

Benefits of Red Clover

  • Dr. Tamminga mentioned in a short talk he did at our local health food store, that red clover is an effective blood cleanser. Though Varro Tyler discredits this notion in his book. Seems to be one of the “one study says one thing…” types of things.
  • It has a high vitamin content that supports the uterus
  • High in protein to aid the entire body
  • Contains easily absorbed calcium and magnesium (supports the nervous system)
  • Also has a high mineral content (due to super deep roots)
  • Alkalizes the body
  • Four isoflavones are found in red clover; formononetin, biochanin A, daidzein, and genistein, which have mild estrogenic activity. These may alter hormone production, metabolism, intracellular enzymes, cell production, and growth factors. (this is also an area where one study finds benefits, one may find damages)
  • Helps to clear mucous in the body
  • It also has antibiotic properties and is effective against many strains of bacteria.
  • It’s a liver stimulant and activates the gallbladder, may have a slightly laxative effect.
  • Also used as a nerve tonic to calm a person.
  • Known as a female tonic to strengthen the ovaries

 

How to Harvest Red Clover

Harvesting red clover is as easy as picking the blossoms. If you gently grab the blossom between two fingers under the leaves at the base of the blossom, a quick pull upward will easily remove it from the plant. After a thorough washing (no bugs!) you can dry them in a dehydrator for a few hours until completely dry. If you don’t have a dehydrator, set out in the hot sun for the day, gently turning every few hours.

 

How to Consume Red Clover

You can add red clover blossoms to salads as well as make tea.

I often take a handful of dried blossoms and pour 1 quart of boiling water over them, allowing them to infuse for a few hours before I strain them out. A bit off raw honey stirred in makes the tea more palatable, I usually drink it cold for ease in consumption.

I also began adding a bit of peppermint to the blossoms while infusing as well – this makes it quite palatable without any added sugars. And while I was referring to my Susan Weed book for this post, she also mentions using peppermint as well – saying that the ‘mints’ are also sexually stimulating.

 

Have you ever used red clover blossoms to eat or drink?

 

 

Sources
The Little Herb Encyclopedia by Jack Ritchason ND
The Wise Woman herbal for the Childbearing Year by Susan Weed
Tyler’s Honest Herbal by Varro E Tyler PH.D.

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About Donielle

Donielle is an amateur herbalist and natural momma to two littles (with another babe in heaven) after dealing with being less than fertile. She has a passion for nourishing nutrition, natural living, and spreading the word on how food truly affects our health.

Comments

  1. MIchelle says:

    Thanks for posting this. I remembered reading in one of my books that red clover was beneficial. I started picking and drying them. I even transplanted some into my herb garden. (I didn’t even have any in my yard, although I have lots of dandelions, plantain and burdock).Now I know what to do with the buds that I picked. :-)

  2. Yes! I have been using red clover to make infusions for a little over a year now to help with a hormone imbalance I have. I can tell when I’ve been faithful in keeping up with it because my menstrual cycles last about 4-5 days longer. (Meaning a few more days in between periods. Yay!) And I don’t get as many migraines when I keep up with it, either.

  3. I’ve read mixed things about consuming this during pregnancy — I drank it in a tea blend for months before I conceived, and on and off throughout pregnancy, but felt that ‘something’ in the blend was not quite right for me (causing slight dilation and increased cramping). Curious what your thoughts are? I do think I will start drinking a tea of it again soon, I am almost at the end, so in a few weeks, cramping and dilation would be quite welcome! (But I think many of your readers might want to know this…in case it helps conception, should you continue?)

    donielle Reply:

    @Kate @ Modern Alternative Mama, Did the blend include red raspberry leaf? RRL is known to bring on contractions in most women and often included in pregnancy blends. I drank it occasionally through my pregnancy, but never more than one cup a day, maybe a few times per week. Towards the end I began drinking it more to tone the uterus and it was bringing on such strong contractions I had to cut back to only one cup per day.

    I do think that herbs should definitely be looked at thoroughly during pregnancy and I almost take the “better safe than sorry” route and don’t use them much at all. Many can bring on contractions or alter hormone levels.I was once told by a master herbalist “if we think herbs can do much to our body to help, we also have to respect that they can also do much to harm.”

  4. Brittany says:

    Aah! Too late! We went on a family hike Saturday and came across a huge patch of red clover. I even told my husband, “I think it’s beneficial to consume this stuff, but I don’t know why or how!” :) We’ll come prepared on our next hike. (There were also wild raspberries growing nearby, so we’ll definitely be going back when they’re ripe!)

    Does black raspberry leaf have the same health benefits as red raspberry leaf? And is it really just the leaves off of a raspberry plant?

    donielle Reply:

    @Brittany, I don’t know about the black vs red varieties, but here’s a good video on how to do it: http://www.dailymotion.com/video/x756ab_red-raspberry-leaf-and-how-to-grow_news

  5. I drink a strong tea of red raspberry leaf and red clover leaf most nights before bed. I have been trying to correct some hormonal imbalances and had to stop taking a supplement that was prescribed to me by my naturopath because it was too expensive, so this tea has helped me to have a cheaper way to help gradually correct my imbalances… and I have noticed my cycles changing, so I know it’s doing something! And it’s a great bedtime routine.

  6. When I was a kid, we used to pick clovers, make sure they didn’t have bugs on them, and pull off the petals and suck out the nectar. I didn’t know that these humble flowers could have such useful properties later on.

  7. Adriana says:

    Have anyone that you know or in this Blog that ever use Red Clover tea infusion as a fertility booster?

    donielle Reply:

    @Adriana, I’ve used it in my fertility tea with good results – http://www.naturallyknockedup.com/fertility-tea-blend-recipe/

  8. Terri Robinson says:

    Hi my name is Terri and I just started drinking red clover tea about 5 months ago due to making a decision that I wanted to have more children. I had a tubal ligation 22 years ago and now I desire greatly to conceive again. I am 42 years old and had planned to get a tubal ligation but I am looking for natural options due to the cost of the surgery…any help?

    donielle Reply:

    @Terri Robinson, I really don’t know of anything specific for undoign a tubal ligation – sorry. If you know how the original surgery was done (clamped vs cut) you might be able to look into doing something like castor oil packs to unblock the tubes. If they were actually cut it won’t help, but if they were just clamped….maybe it’s a possibility?

    Other than that, besides IVF, I haven’t heard of anyone fixing a tubal ligation.

  9. Hi how are you? I’m new to this post and i wanted to if you could help me? I have hypothyroid and im off of my meds due to no insur. I was hoping if u could direct me to what type of herbs will help me concieve. Please and thank u

    donielle Reply:

    @sophiya, I would highly recommend this book: http://amzn.to/PbLwd6 It’s all about natural help for thyroid issues.

    When it comes to herbs, it’s hard to give a one-size-fits-all “prescription” as each person is going to need different herbs to support their specific problems. I recommend a few different ones here – http://www.naturallyknockedup.com/fertility-tea-blend-recipe/

  10. Denise Jackson says:

    @ Terri Robinson, I am 41 and doing the same things except I have already had a failed cycle of IVF , I Have been taking the red clover in the form of a pill I purchased at an organic food stores , we will be trying again in December. Keep me posted and I will do the same .

    Terri Robinson Reply:

    @Denise Jackson, I am still trying to get funding so that I can have my tubal reversal….so praying for a miracle!

  11. Hi! I just stumbled across your blog! My husband and I just started trying to conceive this month. I have had some hormone imbalance that I tried to regulate with supplements but I just would rather try a more natural approach. I realize that it takes time to even things out. I ave been researching different herbs for fertility and hormones. My question is….is the red clover ok to consume during pregnancy or should I decrease how much I drink if I should become pregnant? Any thoughts would be greatly appreciated!

    donielle Reply:

    @Monica, As with anything herbal related, there always seems to be two trains of thought on safety of some herbs. From what I’ve seen, red clover is among them! it’s not on the list of herbs contraindicated during pregnancy, yet it’s not “approved” safe either because there haven’t been a lot of studies done on it’s safety for pregnancy. My feeling is that one should wean themselves off of most herbs they take on a daily basis. For unless an herb is needed, I take the road of “better safe than sorry”.

  12. Is it just as effective to take the capsules? I have read a lot about Red Clover helping to heal scarring and am hoping to heal my tubes and heal my uterus. I had a tubal in ’04 and an ablation in ’11.

    donielle Reply:

    @Shellie, I’m not as big of a fan of capsules, just because once the herb is ground, it doesn’t remain as fresh for as long. But if you purchase them from a quality company who takes heed to those matters, the medicinal benefit should be similar.

  13. I took Red clover capsules for about a little over 2.5 weeks. (Only 2 a day) because I wanted to see if it would help with regulating my cycles and all the other benefits its cited for. After first 8 days of taking it I started to spot, I did this for more than 9 days, then maybe skip a day of spotting a then on again. I decided not to take it anymore after the 18 days and the spotting today has gone away so far, but unfortonatly after I am with my husband doing the BD, I really spot. Has never ever happened to me before, I have never spotted before at anytime. I am starting to think it really screwed me up. I constantly now feel tiny achy feelings/light cramps in my uterus since taking the herb. I can’t seem to figure out whats going on. Took several hpt and all are neg too so I have no idea. Perhaps I am just really sensitive to the estrogen in it? Any aideas would be greatful.

    donielle Reply:

    @k, My first thought is to sip on lemon water throughout the day to help the liver process any hormones. Some people think that red clover helps to clean out the xeno-estrogens (synthetic) from the cell receptors, so it’s very important to make sure the liver is working efficiently and doing it’s job to get rid of excess hormones. If it keeps up, just call your OB or a local herbalist to get their thoughts on the issue.

  14. Samantha Kraucz says:

    Hello Donielle,

    I had a tubal ligation done almost 3 years ago. I didn’t want anymore kids then and now I really want one more kid. I have though about getting them reversed but I really dont have the money for that and me and y husband would really like to have one. I though if I could find some way it may work I would do it. I know that I was clamped. I got tied for the wrong reason and I wish that I would not have. I have 1 girl and 3 boys and I would like another girl or boy, I miss getting up evry 2 hours and changing them and bathing them and watching them grow up. I am 25 years old and kids are my world. I was reading about the red clover and I am going to try it out, If anything else may work please let ma know thank you so much

    donielle Reply:

    @Samantha Kraucz, Outside of a reversal, I don’t really know of anything natural that might help – sorry. It doesn’t mean of course, that there isn’t something, or that it’s never possible – I just don’t know what it is.

  15. I have been trying to conceive for nearly 2 years, to no avail – until I started drinking herbal infusions. In January, I started drinking about a half a quart per day of an infusion of red clover leaves and red raspberry leaf – and I conceived in my next cycle! I am now drinking infusions of nettle, oatstraw, raspberry leaf, and whole red clover blossoms. I have a feeling that these herbs have done wonders with bringing my hormones into balance, and would highly recommend them to women trying to conceive (a midwife friend of mine has attested to their success with many clients as well).

    I have also just recently begun to see articles about the potential “risks” of taking red clover while pregnant – although apparently the only studies that have been done involved isolating certain parts of the herb, which causes an entirely different effect on the body. According to every first-hand account/bit of advice I’ve come across, however, this is a very beneficial herb for pregnant women. I may scale back my intake until I am breastfeeding, but I’m sticking with my red clover for now.

    I do have a question for anyone who is more knowledgable about herbs – is there a major difference between whole red clover blossoms and just the leaves? The blossoms are delicious in an infusion, but are much more expensive.

    donielle Reply:

    @Melissa, Congrats Melissa! Herbs are fantastic aren’t they? And yes, there always seems to be a debate over red clover and even red raspberry leaf.

    As for leaf vs blossom, I found this really interesting: http://www.redcloverherbaltea.com/blossom-vs-leaf/

  16. I have been trying to conceive for the past 3 years, with 7 failed inseminations. I’ve decided to do the natural route of drinking herbal teas, using essential oils, and taking some herbs. I got Red Clover capsules at Whole Foods today, but now I’m worried about taking them. Would they be ok to take if I have regular cycles–28 days? I just don’t want it to throw my periods off.

    donielle Reply:

    @Erica, It’s really hard to give a solid yes or no answer since herbs are not necessarily symptom specific and while it could really help one person, it may not be the best fir for another. Outside of seeking help from an herbalist, the only thing you can do is try it for one cycle and see if it changes anything.

  17. Social Butterfly NYC says:

    Hello,

    I have been trying for the past 8 years now to conceive. RE has told me that IVF is my only option. About 3 years ago I did conceive and had a miscarriage and then I conceived again 4 months later and ended up being an ectopic pregnancy so I lost one tube. RE said the one tube left doesn’t look strong and that it could be my reason why in the last 3 years I have not been able to conceive. I don’t have the financial means for IVF so I have turned to acupuncture and natural herbs and vitamins. My cousin who is going through menopause told me about Red Clover and insist I give it a try for my issues. My only problem is the mixed reviews I read on it. Will it turn my cycle crazy? As it is I have irregular periods. Also for trying to conceive is it better to get the dried red clover or can I take it in pill form? Has anyone taken Red Clover and was able to conceive?

    Donielle Reply:

    @Social Butterfly NYC, Red clover is just one of those herbs where it works best for people who need it, but is not a blanket treatment for all hormone imbalance. It’s best to speak with a qualified herbalist to figure out if it’s the right herb for you. Many women going through menopause find it helpful as the body tends to look at the isoflavones in it as estrogen and in meopause estrogen production diminishes. Someone who is highly estrogen dominant may not have good luck with it, though most herbalists I’ve talked to say that you have to take a ALOT of red clover for that to happen.