Frankincense

Frankincense Resin & Oil (Boswellia carterii, serrata, sacra)

Frankincense is an aromatic resin used in incense and perfumes, obtained from trees of the genus Boswellia in the family Burseraceae, particularly Boswellia sacra (syn: B. bhaw-dajiana), B. carterii, B. frereana, B. serrata (B. thurifera, Indian frankincense), and B. papyrifera. The English word is derived from Old French “franc encens” (i.e., high quality incense). There are four main species of Boswellia that produce true frankincense. Resin from each of the four is available in various grades, which depend on the time of harvesting. The resin is then hand-sorted for quality.

Olibanum is characterised by a balsamic-spicy, slightly lemon, fragrance of incense, with a conifer-like undertone. It is used in the perfume, cosmetic and pharmaceutical industries.

You will find Frankincense in many of Mother Jai’s products.

Chemical Composition: Structure of β-boswellic acid, one of the main active components of frankincense. These are some of the chemical compounds present in frankincense:

  • “acid resin (56 %), soluble in alcohol and having the formula C20H32O4”
  • gum (similar to gum arabic) 30–36%
  • 3-acetyl-beta-boswellic acid (Boswellia sacra)
  • alpha-boswellic acid (Boswellia sacra)
  • 4-O-methyl-glucuronic acid (Boswellia sacra)
  • incensole acetate, C21H34O3
  • phellandrene
  • (+)-cis- and (+)-trans-olibanic acids

Blending: Frankincense oil blends well with other oils such as Lime, Lemon, Orange and other Citrus oils as well as Benzoin, Bergamot, Lavender, Myrrh, Pine, and Sandalwood oil. This makes it a popular element of various aromatherapy combinations.

Boswellia sacra (frankincense) – Boswellia sacra trees in Dhofar, southern province of the Sultanate of Oman (Photo: Helen Pickering)

Uses for Frankincense

Boswellia serrata is a tree native to India that produces special compounds that have been found to have strong anti-inflammatory, and potentially anti-cancer, effects. Among the valuable boswellia tree extracts that researchers have identified, several stand out as being most beneficial, including terpenes and boswellic acids, which are strongly anti-inflammatory and protective over healthy cells.

Frankincense is used in perfumery and aromatherapy. It is also an ingredient that is sometimes used in skincare. The essential oil is obtained by steam distillation of the dry resin. Some of the smells of the frankincense smoke are products of pyrolysis.

Frankincense oil is used by either inhaling the oil or absorbing it through the skin, usually mixed with a carrier oil, such as an unscented lotion or jojoba oil. It’s believed that the oil transmits messages to the limbic system of the brain, which is known to influence the nervous system. A little bit of oil goes a long way; it should not be ingested in large quantities as it can be toxic.

Frankincense Essential Oil

The health benefits of frankincense essential oil can be attributed to its properties as an antiseptic, disinfectant, astringent, carminative, cicatrizant, cytophylactic, digestive, diuretic, emmenagogue, expectorant, sedative, tonic, uterine, and a vulnerary substance. Frankincense oil relieves pain associated with rheumatism and arthritis. It helps to heal boils, infected wounds, acne, circulatory problems, insomnia, and various types of inflammation as well.

The essential oil of frankincense is produced by steam distillation of the tree resin. The oil’s chemical components are 75% monoterpenes, sesquiterpenes, monoterpenoles, sesquiterpenols and ketones. It has a good balsamic sweet fragrance, while the Indian frankincense oil has a very fresh smell. Contrary to what some commercial entities claim, steam or hydro distilled frankincense oils do not contain boswellic acids (triterpenoids), although may be present in trace quantities in the solvent extracted products. The chemistry of the essential oil is mainly monoterpenes and sesquiterpenes, such as alpha-pinene, Limonene, alpha-Thujene, and beta-Pinene with small amounts of diterpenoid components being the upper limit in terms of molecular weight.

Benefits of Frankincense Oil (DrAxe.com)

  1. Helps Reduce Stress Reactions and Negative Emotions: When inhaled, it’s been shown to reduce heart rate and high blood pressure. It has anti-anxiety and depression-reducing abilities, but unlike prescription medications, it does not have negative side effects or cause unwanted drowsiness.
  2. Helps Boost Immune System Function and Prevents Illness: Studies have demonstrated that frankincense has immune-enhancing abilities that may help destroy dangerous bacteria, viruses and even cancers.
  3. May Help Fight Cancer or Deal with Chemotherapy Side Effects: Frankincense oil has been shown to help fight cells of specific types of cancer.
  4. Astringent and Can Kill Harmful Germs and Bacteria: Frankincense is an antiseptic and disinfectant. It has the ability to eliminate cold and flu germs from the home and the body naturally and can be used in place of chemical household cleaners.
  5. Improves Oral Health: The same antiseptic qualities also make frankincense oil a useful preventive measure against oral issues, like bad breath, toothaches, cavities, mouth sores, and other infections.
  6. Heals Skin and Prevents Signs of Aging: Frankincense has the ability to strengthen skin and improve its tone, elasticity, defense mechanisms against bacteria or blemishes, and appearance as someone ages. It helps tone and lift skin, reduces appearance of scars and acne, and heals wounds. It can also be beneficial for fading of stretch marks, surgery scars or marks associated with pregnancy, and for healing dry or cracked skin.
  7. Balances Hormone Levels: Frankincense oil reduces symptoms associated with menstruation and menopause by balancing hormone levels. It can help relieve pain, cramps, constipation, headaches, anxiety, nausea, fatigue and mood swings. Frankincense oil also helps with regulating estrogen production and may reduce the risk of tumor or cyst development in premenopausal women.
  8. Reduces Scars: This is an interesting property of Frankincense oil. When applied topically or inhaled, it can make the scars and marks of boils, acne, and pox on the skin fade at a much faster rate. This also includes the fading of stretch marks, surgery marks, and fat cracks associated with pregnancy and delivery.
  9. Eases Digestion: Frankincense helps the digestive system properly detox and to produce bowel movements, reduces pain and cramping in the stomach, can relieve nausea, helps flush out excess water from the abdomen that can cause bloating and even relieves PMS-related stomach pains.
  10. Acts as a Sleep Aid: Frankincense essential oil is useful in lowering levels of anxiety or chronic stress that can keep you up at night. It has a calming, grounding scent that can naturally help you to fall asleep. It helps open breathing passages, allows your body to reach an ideal sleeping temperature and can eliminate pain that keeps you up.
  11. Helps Decrease Inflammation and Pain: Frankincense can inhibit the production of key inflammatory molecules associated with conditions like arthritis, asthma, painful bowel disorders like IBS and many more conditions.
  12. Acts as Tonic: Overall, frankincense essential oil tones and boosts health and is, therefore, considered a tonic. It benefits all the systems operating in the body, including the respiratory, digestive, nervous, and excretory systems, while also increasing strength by aiding the absorption of nutrients into the body. Furthermore, frankincense oil strengthens the immune system and keeps you strong.
  13. Stimulates Urination: If you think that Lasix and its variants are the only drugs that can help you release water from the body through urination, you are incorrect. These pharmaceutical options may be instantaneous, but not very safe. Frankincense essential oil is a natural and safe alternative. It promotes urination and helps you lose that extra water weight, as well as fats, sodium, uric acid, and various other toxins from the body, with the added advantage of lowering blood pressure. The best part about this is that frankincense essential oil is completely safe and has no adverse side effects.
  14. Reduces Respiratory Issues: It soothes cough and eliminates phlegm deposited in the respiratory tracts and the lungs. Frankincense essential oil also provides relief from bronchitis and congestion of nasal tract, larynx, pharynx, bronchi, and lungs. Its antidepressant and anti-inflammatory properties also help relax the breathing passages, which can reduce the dangers of asthma attacks, and its antiseptic qualities give it the reputation of being an immune system booster! It also eases body pain, headaches, toothaches, and balances the rise in body temperature commonly associated with colds.

Using Frankincense at Home

  1. Stress-Relieving Bath Soak: Frankincense oil immediately induces the feeling of peace, relaxation and satisfaction. Add a few drops of frankincense oil to a hot bath for stress relief.  You can also add frankincense to an oil diffuser or vaporizer to help fight anxiety and for experiencing relaxation in your home all the time. Some people believe that the fragrance of frankincense can increase your intuition and spiritual connection.
  2. Natural Household Cleaner: Frankincense oil is an antiseptic, meaning it helps eliminate bacteria and viruses from your home and clean indoor spaces. The plant has been commonly burned to help disinfect an area and is used as a natural deodorizer. Use it in an essential oil diffuser to help reduce indoor pollution and deodorize and disinfect any room or surface in your home.
  3. Natural Hygiene Product: Due to its antiseptic properties, frankincense oil is a great addition to any oral hygiene regimen. Look for natural oral care products that contain frankincense oil, especially if you enjoy the aroma. It can help prevent dental health issues like tooth decay, bad breath, cavities or oral infections. You can also consider making your own toothpaste by mixing frankincense oil with baking soda.
  4. Anti-Aging and Wrinkle Fighter: Frankincense essential oil is a powerful astringent, meaning it helps protect skin cells. It can be used to help reduce acne blemishes, the appearance of large pores, prevent wrinkles, and it even helps lift and tighten skin to naturally slow signs of aging. The oil can be used anywhere where the skin becomes saggy, such as the abdomen, jowls or under the eyes. Mix six drops of oil to one ounce of unscented oil and apply it directly to the skin. Be sure to always do a small patch area test first to test for possible allergic reactions.
  5. Relieves Symptoms of Indigestion: If you have any digestive distress, such as gas, constipation, stomach aches, irritable bowel syndrome, PMS or cramps, frankincense oil can help relieve gastrointestinal discomfort. It helps speed up the digestion of food, similar to digestive enzymes. Add one to two drops of oil to eight ounces of water or to a tablespoon of honey for GI relief. If you’re going to ingest it orally, make sure it’s 100 percent pure oil; do not ingest fragrance or perfume oils.
  6. Scar, Wound, Stretch Mark or Acne Remedy: Frankincense oil can help with wound healing and may decrease the appearance of scars. It may also help reduce the appearance of dark spots caused from acne blemishes, stretch marks, eczema and help with healing of surgical wounds. Mix two to three drops of oil with an unscented base oil or lotion and apply directly to skin. Be careful not to apply it to broken skin, but it’s fine for skin that’s in the process of healing.
  7. Natural Cold or Flu Medicine: Next time you have a respiratory infection from a cold or flu, use frankincense essential oil to help provide relief from coughing. It can help eliminate phlegm in the lungs. It also acts as an anti-inflammatory in the nasal passages, making breathing easier, even for those with allergies or asthma. Add a few drops to a cloth and inhale for the respiratory benefits or use an oil diffuser.
  8. Helps Relieve Inflammation and Pain: To improve circulation and lower symptoms of joint pain or muscle pain related to conditions like arthritis, digestive disorders and asthma, try massaging frankincense oil to the painful area or diffusing it in your home. You can add a drop of oil to steaming water and soak a towel in it, then place the towel on your body or over your face to inhale it to decrease muscle aches. Also diffuse several drops in your home or combine several drops with a carrier oil to massage into your muscles, joints, feet or neck.
Boswellia sacra-habitat and leaf morphology. This tree grows wildly in the Dhofar region of Oman. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0169794.g001
https://www.researchgate.net/figure/Boswellia-sacra-habitat-and-leaf-morphology-This-tree-grows-wildly-in-the-Dhofar-region_fig4_312317670

History of Frankincense

Frankincense has been traded on the Arabian Peninsula for more than 5000 years. A mural depicting sacks of frankincense traded from the Land of Punt adorns the walls of the temple of ancient Egyptian Queen Hatshepsut, who died circa 1458 BC.

Frankincense was one of the consecrated incenses (Ha-Ketoret) described in the Hebrew Bible and Talmud used in Ketoret ceremonies, an important component of the services in the Temple in Jerusalem. It was offered on a specialized incense altar in the time when the Tabernacle was located in the First and Second Temples. It is mentioned in the Book of Exodus 30:34.

Frankincense also received numerous mentions in the New Testament (Luke 1:10 ; Revelation 5:8, 8:3). Together with gold and myrrh, it was made an offering to the infant Jesus (Matthew 2:11). Frankincense is a symbol of holiness and righteousness. The gift of frankincense to the Christ child was symbolic of His willingness to become a sacrifice, wholly giving Himself up, analogous to a burnt offering.

Frankincense was reintroduced to Europe by Frankish Crusaders, although its name refers to its quality, not to the Franks themselves. Although it is better known as “frankincense” to westerners, the resin is also known as olibanum, or in Arabic, al-lubān (roughly translated: “that which results from milking”), a reference to the milky sap tapped from the Boswellia tree.

The Greek historian Herodotus was familiar with frankincense and knew it was harvested from trees in southern Arabia. He reported that the gum was dangerous to harvest because of venomous snakes that lived in the trees. He goes on to describe the method used by the Arabs to get around this problem, that being the burning of the gum of the styrax tree whose smoke would drive the snakes away. The resin is also mentioned by Theophrastus and by Pliny the Elder in his Naturalis Historia.

Frankincense is used in many Christian churches including the Eastern Orthodox, Oriental Orthodox and Catholic churches. According to the Biblical text of Matthew 2:11, gold, frankincense, and myrrh were among the gifts to Jesus by the biblical magi “from out of the East.” Christian and Islamic Abrahamic faiths have all used frankincense mixed with oils to anoint newborn infants, initiates and members entering into new phases of their spiritual lives.

Conversely, the spread of Christianity depressed the market for frankincense during the 4th century AD. Desertification made the caravan routes across the Rub’ al Khali or “Empty Quarter” of the Arabian Peninsula more difficult. Additionally, increased raiding by the Parthians in the Near East caused the frankincense trade to dry up after A.D. 300.

Frankincense Oil DIY Recipes

Scar Reducing Body Butter: Total Time: 5 minutes; Serves: 4

INGREDIENTS:

  • 2 ounces shea butter or coconut oil
  • 10 drops of jasmine oil
  • 10 drops frankincense oil
  • Small container or jar to mix the ingredients

DIRECTIONS:

In a double boiler, melt the shea butter until it’s liquid.

Make sure the oil is not so hot that it will burn you, then add the other oils and stir together to combine. Having the shea butter be room temperature or a little warmer is best.

You can either smear it on your scar right away, or if you’d like to make it into a shelf-stable cream texture, place the mixture in the fridge until it’s cool for a few minutes, then use a hand mixer on high speed to whip the oils into a white cream.

Pour into a glass jar or containers, and keep it at room temperature to use whenever you want.

Sleep-Inducing Facial Cream or Body Rub: Total Time: 5 minutes; Serves: 1

This all-natural night cream is great to help you fall asleep. It also doubles as a skin health-booster if you apply it to your face and may be able to help clear up blemishes or breakouts.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 5 drops frankincense essential oil
  • 5 drops lavender essential oil
  • 1/4 tablespoon organic coconut oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon olive oil
  • Small container or jar to mix the ingredients

DIRECTIONS:

Use coconut oil that’s not solid but rather soft. If need be, heat it first in a double broiler.

Add the other oils and stir together to combine. Spread over your face and body. You may want to pat yourself off after to not allow the oil to seep into your bed sheets. You can also store this to use at another time.

Homemade Frankincense and Myrrh Lotion: Total Time: 90 minutes; Serves: 30

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil
  • 1/4 cup bees wax
  • 1/4 cup shea butter
  • 2 tbsp vitamin E
  • 20 drops frankincense essential oil
  • 20 drops myrrh essential oil
  • BPA free plastic lotion dispenser bottles

Directions:

Put olive oil, coconut oil, beeswax and shea butter in glass bowl then place that bowl in sauce pan with water.

Heat stove to medium and mix ingredients together.

Once mixed put in refrigerator for an hour until solid.

With a regular mixer or hand mixer beat the mixture until it is whipped and fluffy. Then add essential oils and vitamin E and mix.

Fill container and store in cool place.

Homemade Frankincense Soap Bar: Total Time: 30 minutes; Serves: 30

INGREDIENTS:

  • 20-30 drops frankincense essential oil
  • Soap Base
  • 5 drops pomegranate oil
  • Oval Bar Molds or Decorative Soap Mold

Directions:

Put soap base in glass bowl then place that bowl in sauce pan with water.

Heat stove to medium and allow base to melt.

Remove from heat and let cool slightly. Then add the frankincense and pomegranate oil

Mix well and transfer to a soap mold

Let mixture cool fully before popping bar out of mold. Keep at room temp

Frankincense Interactions/Side Effects

For oil safety concerns, you should know that frankincense essential oil is extremely well-tolerated, especially compared to prescription medications. To date, there are no reported serious side effects of using frankincense oil, as long as you do not ingest large quantities, which can result in it becoming toxic.

Rarely frankincense oil can cause certain reactions for some people, including minor skin rashes and digestive problems like nausea or stomach pains. Frankincense is also known to have blood-thinning effects, so anyone who has problems related to blood clotting should not use frankincense oil or should speak with a doctor first. Otherwise, the oil may have potential to negatively react with certain anticoagulant medications.

References:

  1. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Frankincense
  2. https://draxe.com/what-is-frankincense/
  3. http://deposit.ddb.de/cgi-bin/dokserv?idn=975255932&dok_var=d1&dok_ext=pdf&filename=975255932.pdf
  4. http://www.etymonline.com/index.php?term=frankincense
  5. https://finance.yahoo.com/news/worlds-last-wild-frankincense-forests-084122152.html
  6. http://www.foxnews.com/scitech/2011/12/21/christmas-staple-frankincense-doomed-ecologists-warn/
  7. http://www.bibler.org/glossary/frankincense.html
  8. https://www.organicfacts.net/health-benefits/essential-oils/health-benefits-of-frankincense-essential-oil.html
  9. https://www.mountainroseherbs.com/products/frankincense-essential-oil/profile
  10. https://draxe.com/frankincense-oil-cancer/
  11. https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/314366.php
  12. https://drericz.com/frankincense-oil-benefits/
  13. https://www.healthline.com/health/cancer/frankincense-and-cancer
  14. http://tisserandinstitute.org/frankincense-oil-and-cancer-in-perspective/
  15. http://roberttisserand.com/2015/03/frankincense-essential-oil-and-cancer/
  16. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2664784/
  17. https://breastcancerconqueror.com/the-power-of-essential-oils-on-breast-cancer/
  18. https://beatcancer.org/blog-posts/the-cancer-healing-power-of-frankincense
  19. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3796379/
  20. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/m/pubmed/?term=frankincense%20and%20cancer&page=2
  21. http://www.i-detox.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/11/Frankincense-Essential-Oil-for-treating-Cancer-v2-summary-notes-from-Dr-Lin_s-talks-in-SG-2013.pdf
  22. https://www.mskcc.org/cancer-care/integrative-medicine/herbs/boswellia
  23. https://www.nhs.uk/news/cancer/can-frankincense-really-fight-cancer/
  24. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2221169115001446
  25. http://www.acanceresearch.com/cancer-research/frankincense-boswellia-species-the-novel-phytotherapy-for-drug-targeting-in-cancer.php?aid=8424
  26. https://www.livestrong.com/article/479493-frankincense-cancer/
  27. https://www.canceractive.com/cancer-active-page-link.aspx?n=3658
  28. https://peoplebeatingcancer.org/frankincense-oil-causes-apoptosis-to-bladder-cancer-cells/
  29. https://www.curejoy.com/content/holy-herbs-frankincense-and-myrrh-can-cure-cancer/
  30. http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/8505251.stm
  31. https://wellnessmama.com/123712/frankincense-oil-uses-benefits/

Red Clover

Clover, Red – flower & leaf (Trifolium pratense)

Other Names: Beebread, Clovone, Cow Clover, Daidzein, Genistein, Isoflavone, Meadow Clover, Miel des Prés, Phytoestrogen, Purple Clover, Trebol Rojo, Trèfle Commun, Trèfle des Prés, Trèfle Pourpre, Trèfle Rouge, Trèfle Rougeâtre, Trèfle Violet, Trefoil.

Red clover is a low growing perennial, native to northwest Africa, Asia, and Europe. It has since been naturalized and cultivated in many parts of the world, including North America. The flower heads are collected in full bloom, during the summer months.

Druids believed that it could ward off evil spells and witches, while Medieval Christians believed that the three lobbed leaves were associated with the trinity and the four lobbed leaves as a symbol of the cross.

Trifolium pratense is used in traditional medicine of India as Deobstruent, Alterative,  Antipsoriatic,  Antiscrophulatic,  Antispasmodic,  Aperient,  Cancer,  Detergent,  Diuretic,  Expectorant,  Sedative,  Skin Tonic, Expectorant, Anti-inflammatory and Antidermatosis agent.

Edible parts: Although leaves can be tossed into a salad or used in a tea, the preferable part of this wild edible is the flower. Red clovers are the tastiest of all clovers although it is recommended not to eat too many of these as some people experience bloating.

Red clover is a source of many nutrients including calcium, chromium, magnesium, niacin, phosphorus, potassium, thiamine, and vitamin C. Red clover is a rich source of isoflavones (chemicals that act like estrogens and are found in many plants).

RED CLOVER USES & EFFECTIVENESS

It is widely grown as a fodder crop, valued for its nitrogen fixation, which increases soil fertility. For these reasons, it is used as a green manure crop. Several cultivar groups have been selected for agricultural use, mostly derived from T. pratense var. sativum. It has become naturalized in many temperate areas, including the Americas and Australasia as an escape from cultivation.

Red clover is commonly used to make a sweet-tasting herbal tea. It is an ingredient in some recipes for essiac tea.

In alternative medicine, red clover is promoted as a treatment for a variety of human maladies, including symptoms of menopause, coughs, disorders of the lymphatic system and a variety of cancers. Several systemic reviews and meta-analyses concluded that red clover extract reduces the frequency of menopause hot flashes.

HEALTH BENEFITS OF RED CLOVER

Reduces Hypertension: The unique properties of red clover include its ability to reduce inflammation throughout the body, particularly in the cardiovascular system. Studies have linked the use of its tea to a significant reduction in the tension of arteries and blood vessels, therefore reducing blood pressure. This can help to prevent coronary heart diseases and a variety of other cardiovascular conditions.

Boosts Immune System: If you consume the greens of red clover, you are much more likely to get a high dose of vitamin C than if you consume the tea. Vitamin C is a powerful immune system booster and can help to stimulate the production of white blood cells.

Prevents Infections: If you consume the leaves in the form of tea, you can get a healthy dose of antioxidants. Antioxidants can neutralize free radicals, which cause degenerative diseases and cell mutation. The overall immune boost of red clover includes preventing infections, both viral and bacterial.

Eases Menstruation & Menopause: The hormonal impacts of red clover are significant, particularly in women. The isoflavones found in red clover mimic estrogen, so for women who may struggle to maintain estrogen levels, red clover can help to balance their hormonal shifts and prevent mood swings, as well as reduce breast pain. This applies to women undergoing PMS as well as menopause, as both of these times can cause dangerous or unpredictable fluctuations in hormone levels.

Prevents Cancer: Red clover is not only useful for women, however, and in terms of cancer prevention, it is extremely important for men. Prostate cancer is one of the most dangerous forms of cancer in men, and some of the compounds found in it can block certain enzymes that could cause prostate growth. Although some forms of prostate enlargement are benign, a reduction in prostate size is always a good thing for long-term male health.

Cholesterol-lowering Properties: If you struggle to maintain healthy cholesterol levels, you significantly increase your chances of heart attacks and strokes as a result of atherosclerosis. Therefore, anything that can lower cholesterol levels is valuable, and research has shown that LDL cholesterol levels can be reduced by adding red clover.

Blood Circulation: Furthermore, coumarins found in red clover have been shown to keep blood flowing smoothly and stimulating healthy circulation, further preventing high blood pressure and cardiovascular distress.

Detoxify the Body: If you want to find a quick way to detoxify your body and clear your system of excess toxins and salts, nothing works better than a diuretic. Red clover has been connected to increased urination, thereby helping to release excess water, toxins, and even fat from the body.

TREATMENTS WITH RED CLOVER

Cardiovascular health: Researchers theorize that red clover might help protect against heart disease, but studies in humans have not found strong evidence. Red clover isoflavones have been associated with an increase in HDL (“good”) cholesterol in pre and postmenopausal women, but other studies show conflicting results. One study found that menopausal women taking red clover supplements had stronger, more flexible arteries (called arterial compliance), which can help prevent heart disease. Red clover may also have blood-thinning properties, which keeps blood clots from forming. It appears to improve blood flow.

Menopause: Researchers think that isoflavones, like those found in red clover, might help reduce symptoms of menopause, such as hot flashes and night sweats, because of their estrogen-like effects. So far studies have been mixed. Several studies of a proprietary extract of red clover isoflavones suggest that it may significantly reduce hot flashes in menopausal women. However, the largest study showed no effect.

Osteoporosis: As estrogen levels drop during menopause, a woman’s risk for developing osteoporosis (significant bone loss) goes up. A few studies suggest that a proprietary extract of red clover isoflavones may slow bone loss and even boost bone mineral density in pre- and perimenopausal women. But the evidence is preliminary, and more research is needed.

Cancer: Based on its traditional use for cancer, researchers have begun to study the role of isoflavones from red clover in cancer prevention and treatment. Preliminary evidence suggests these isoflavones may stop cancer cells from growing or kill cancer cells in test tubes. Researchers theorize that red clover may help prevent some forms of cancer, such as prostate and endometrial cancer. However, because of the herb’s estrogen-like effects, it might also contribute to the growth of some cancers, just as estrogen does. Until further research is done, doctors cannot recommend red clover to prevent cancer. Women with a history of breast cancer should not take red clover.

Other uses: Traditionally, red clover ointments have been applied to the skin to treat psoriasis, eczema, and other rashes. Red clover has also been used as a cough remedy for children. More recently, studies have shown that women using red clover may experience psychological benefits.

DOSAGE AND ADMINISTRATION

Red clover is available in a variety of preparations, including teas, tinctures, tablets, capsules, liquid extract, and extracts standardized to specific isoflavone contents. It can also be prepared as an ointment for topical (skin) application. Due to lack of long-term studies, self treatment should not exceed 3 to 6 months without the supervision of a health care professional.

Pediatric: Red clover has been used traditionally as a short-term cough remedy for children. Products containing isolated red clover isoflavones are very different than the whole herb, however, and are not recommended for children. DO NOT give a child red clover without talking to your pediatrician first.

Adult: Dose may vary from person to person, but general guidelines are as follows:

Dried herb (used for tea): 1 to 2 tsp dried flowers or flowering tops steeped in 8 oz. hot water for 1/2 hour; drink 2 to 3 cups daily

Powdered herb (available in capsules): 40 to 160 mg per day, or 28 to 85 mg of red clover isoflavones

Tincture (1:5, 30% alcohol): 60 to 100 drops (3 to 5 mL), 3 times per day; may add to hot water as a tea

Fluid Extract (1:1): 1 mL, 3 times per day; may add to hot water as a tea

Standardized red clover isoflavone extracts: follow directions on product labels carefully

Topical treatment (such as for psoriasis or eczema): an infusion, liquid extract, or ointment containing 10 to 15% flower heads; apply as needed unless irritation develops. DO NOT apply to an open wound without a doctor’s supervision.

RED CLOVER SIDE EFFECTS & SAFETY

Pregnancy and breast-feeding: Red clover is LIKELY SAFE when taken by mouth in amounts commonly found in food. However, it is LIKELY UNSAFE when taken by mouth in medicinal amounts. Red clover acts like estrogen and might disturb important hormone balances during pregnancy or breast-feeding. Don’t use it. Not enough is known about the safety of red clover when applied to the skin during pregnancy or breast-feeding. Stay on the safe side and don’t use it.

Bleeding disorders: Red clover might increase the chance of bleeding. Avoid large amounts and use with caution.

Hormone-sensitive conditions such as breast cancer, uterine cancer, ovarian cancer, endometriosis, or uterine fibroids: Red clover might act like estrogen. If you have any condition that might be made worse by exposure to estrogen, don’t use red clover.

Protein S deficiency: People with protein S deficiency have an increased risk of forming blood clots. There is some concern that red clover might increase the risk of clot formation in these people because it has some of the effects of estrogen. Don’t use red clover if you have protein S deficiency.

Surgery: Red clover might slow blood clotting. It might increase the chance of extra bleeding during and after surgery. Stop taking red clover at least 2 weeks before a scheduled surgery.

RED CLOVER INTERACTIONS

Birth control pills (Contraceptive drugs) interacts with RED CLOVER: Some birth control pills contain estrogen. Red clover might have some of the same effects as estrogen. But red clover isn’t as strong as the estrogen in birth control pills. Taking red clover along with birth control pills might decrease the effectiveness of birth control pills. If you take birth control pills along with red clover, use an additional form of birth control such as a condom. Some birth control pills include ethinyl estradiol and levonorgestrel (Triphasil), ethinyl estradiol and norethindrone (Ortho-Novum 1/35, Ortho-Novum 7/7/7), and others.

Estrogens interacts with RED CLOVER: Large amounts of red clover might have some of the same effects as estrogen. But red clover isn’t as strong as estrogen pills. Taking red clover along with estrogen pills might decrease the effects of estrogen pills. Some estrogen pills include conjugated equine estrogens (Premarin), ethinyl estradiol, estradiol, and others.

Medications changed by the liver (Cytochrome P450 1A2 (CYP1A2) substrates) interacts with RED CLOVER. Some medications are changed and broken down by the liver. Red clover might decrease how quickly the liver breaks down some medications. Taking red clover along with some medications that are broken down by the liver can increase the effects and side effects of some medications. Before taking red clover, talk to your healthcare provider if you take any medications that are changed by the liver. Some medications that are changed by the liver include amitriptyline (Elavil), haloperidol (Haldol), ondansetron (Zofran), propranolol (Inderal), theophylline (Theo-Dur, others), verapamil (Calan, Isoptin, others), and others.

Medications changed by the liver (Cytochrome P450 2C19 (CYP2C19) substrates) interacts with RED CLOVER. Some medications are changed and broken down by the liver. Red clover might decrease how quickly the liver breaks down some medications. Taking red clover along with some medications that are broken down by the liver can increase the effects and side effects of some medications. Before taking red clover, talk to your healthcare provider if you take any medications that are changed by the liver. Some medications that are changed by the liver include omeprazole (Prilosec), lansoprazole (Prevacid), and pantoprazole (Protonix); diazepam (Valium); carisoprodol (Soma); nelfinavir (Viracept); and others.

Medications changed by the liver (Cytochrome P450 2C9 (CYP2C9) substrates) interacts with RED CLOVER. Red clover might decrease how quickly the liver breaks down some medications. Taking red clover along with some medications that are broken down by the liver can increase the effects and side effects of some medications. Before taking red clover, talk to your healthcare provider if you take any medications that are changed by the liver. Some medications that are changed by the liver include diclofenac (Cataflam, Voltaren), ibuprofen (Motrin), meloxicam (Mobic), and piroxicam (Feldene); celecoxib (Celebrex); amitriptyline (Elavil); warfarin (Coumadin); glipizide (Glucotrol); losartan (Cozaar); and others.

Medications changed by the liver (Cytochrome P450 3A4 (CYP3A4) substrates) interacts with RED CLOVER. Some medications are changed and broken down by the liver. Red clover might decrease how quickly the liver breaks down some medications. Taking red clover along with some medications that are broken down by the liver can increase the effects and side effects of some medications. Before taking red clover, talk to your healthcare provider if you are taking any medications that are changed by the liver. Some medications changed by the liver include lovastatin (Mevacor), ketoconazole (Nizoral), itraconazole (Sporanox), fexofenadine (Allegra), triazolam (Halcion), and many others.

Medications that slow blood clotting (Anticoagulant / Antiplatelet drugs) interacts with RED CLOVER. Large amounts of red clover might slow blood clotting. Taking red clover along with medications that also slow clotting might increase the chances of bruising and bleeding. Some medications that slow blood clotting include aspirin, clopidogrel (Plavix), diclofenac (Voltaren, Cataflam, others), ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin, others), naproxen (Anaprox, Naprosyn, others), dalteparin (Fragmin), enoxaparin (Lovenox), heparin, warfarin (Coumadin), and others.

Tamoxifen (Nolvadex) interacts with RED CLOVER. Some types of cancer are affected by hormones in the body. Estrogen-sensitive cancers are cancers that are affected by estrogen levels in the body. Tamoxifen (Nolvadex) is used to help treat and prevent these types of cancer. Red clover seems to also affect estrogen levels in the body. By affecting estrogen in the body, red clover might decrease the effectiveness of tamoxifen (Nolvadex). Do not take red clover if you are taking tamoxifen (Nolvadex).

Recipes from EdibleWildFood.com

Clover Syrup

Ingredients:

  • 4 cups red (and white) clover flowers
  • 2 1/2 cups water
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 3 1/2 cups organic cane sugar

Instructions:

  • Boil the flowers for about 10 minutes or until the color comes out of the flowers. Strain and measure 2 1/4 cups liquid (add water if needed).
  • Return to pot. Add lemon juice and sugar. Bring to a full rolling boil then reduce heat. Simmer until liquid becomes syrupy.
  • Pour into a bottle or jar and store in the fridge up to 6 months.

Red Clover Biscuits

prep Time: 20 minutes  Cook Time: 15 minutes  Yield: Serves 4-6

Start your morning on the wild side with these tasty red clover biscuits served with homemade jam or jelly.

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups unbleached flour + extra for rolling
  • 1/2 cup almond flour
  • 1 tbsp baking powder
  • 1/3 cup butter at room temperature
  • 2 eggs (beaten)
  • 1/2 cup plain yogurt
  • 1/4 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 cup dried or fresh red clover flowers (broken down)

Instructions:

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  • In a bowl combine flour, almond flour, and baking powder. Add butter and knead until fully blended.
  • In a separate bowl, mix eggs, yogurt, and vanilla. Add in red clover flowers and blend well. Gradually add to the dough until it is completely blended.
  • Roll out dough on a lightly floured surface to a thickness of almost 1/2″. Use a cookie cutter about 1½” in diameter and cut.
  • Bake on an ungreased baking sheet for 15 minutes or until golden brown.
  • Serve (preferably) warm with jam or jelly.

Red Clover Ice Tea

Prep Time: 10 minutes  Cook Time: 60 minutes  Yield: Makes 8 one cup servings.

Harvest and store red clover flowers so that you can enjoy this tasty, healthy ice tea any time of the year.

Ingredients:

  • 12 red clover flowers (with leaves is fine)
  • 8 cups water
  • 3/4 cup organic can sugar (or sweetener of your choice)
  • one half lemon, squeezed

Instructions:

  • Boil water in a saucepan, then remove from stove and allow to cool 10 minutes. Place red clover flowers in water; let infuse minimum 1/2 hour. (For a stronger flavor and more nutrients allow to sit 1-2 hours.)
  • Strain, add sweetener of your choice and the fresh squeezed lemon juice. (The amount of sweetener can be reduced or increased based on your taste buds.) Place in ridge to chill then enjoy!
  • Makes 8 one cup servings.

References:

  1. https://www.webmd.com/vitamins-supplements/ingredientmono-308-red%20clover.aspx?activeingredientid=308&
  2. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trifolium_pratense
  3. http://practicalplants.org/wiki/Trifolium_pratense
  4. http://www.pfaf.org/USER/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Trifolium+pratense
  5. http://www.illinoiswildflowers.info/weeds/plants/red_clover.htm
  6. http://www.umm.edu/health/medical/altmed/herb/red-clover
  7. http://www.ediblewildfood.com/red-clover.aspx
  8. https://www.dr.hauschka.com/en_GB/knowledge-base/medicinal-plant-facts/red-clover/
  9. http://www.iucnredlist.org/details/174713/0
  10. https://online.epocrates.com/u/1183107/Trifolium+pratense
  11. https://www.livestrong.com/article/344220-what-are-the-benefits-of-taking-red-clover-herb-pills/
  12. https://www.hindawi.com/journals/ecam/2012/921684/
  13. https://www.medicinenet.com/red_clover_trifolium_pratense-oral/article.htm
  14. https://medivetus.com/botanic/trifolium-pratense-red-clover-medicinal-uses/trifolium-pratense-1/
  15. http://www.cam-cancer.org/The-Summaries/Herbal-products/Red-clover-Trifolium-pratense/(merge)
  16. http://www.foxnews.com/health/2013/06/12/healing-properties-red-clover.html
  17. https://draxe.com/red-clover/
  18. https://thenaturopathicherbalist.com/herbs/t-u/trifolium-pratense/
  19. https://www.organicfacts.net/health-benefits/herbs-and-spices/red-clover.html
  20. https://www.mountainroseherbs.com/products/red-clover-blossoms/profile
  21. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed?cmd=Retrieve&list_uids=16373244&dopt=Abstract
  22. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed?cmd=Retrieve&list_uids=12161042&dopt=Abstract
  23. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed?cmd=Retrieve&list_uids=19031218&dopt=Abstract
  24. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed?cmd=Retrieve&listuids=15226466&dopt=Abstract
  25. http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0944711309001585
  26. http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0021967301012316
  27. http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1046/j.1463-1326.2003.00282.x/abstract
  28. https://dl.sciencesocieties.org/publications/cs/abstracts/19/1/CS0190010059
  29. http://press.endocrine.org/doi/abs/10.1210/jcem.84.3.5561
  30. http://www.biomedcentral.com/content/pdf/bcr773.pdfCultivation
  31. http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0021915099004372
  32. http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/J157v02n03_06
  33. http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1046/j.1365-2710.2002.00444.x/abstract
  34. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16645539
  35. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16857655
  36. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11528359
  37. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16373244
  38. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3206499/
  39. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17117453
  40. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3842968/
  41. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17078110
  42. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17078110
  43. http://umm.edu/health/medical/altmed/herb/red-clover
  44. http://lpi.oregonstate.edu/mic/dietary-factors/phytochemicals/soy-isoflavones
  45. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25581426
  46. http://www.drugs.com/npp/red-clover.html
  47. Medical Herbalism by David Hoffmann pg. 590
  48. Baber R, Bligh PC, Fulcher G, et al. The effect of an Isoflavone dietary supplement (P-081) on serum lipids, forearm bone density & endometrial thickness in post menopausal women [abstract]. Menopause. 1999a;6:326.
  49. Baber RJ, Templeman C, Morton T, et al. Randomized, placebo-controlled trial of an isoflavone supplement and menopausal symptoms in women. Climacteric. 1999b;2(2):85-92.
  50. Cassady JM, Zennie TM, Young-Heum C, et al. Use of a mammalian cell culture benzo(a)pyrene metabolism assay for the detection of potential anticarcinogens from natural products: Inhibition of metabolism by biochanin A, anisoflavone from Trifolium pratense L.Cancer Res. 1988;48:6257-6261.
  51. Chedraui P, San Miguel G, Hidalgo L, Morocho N, Ross S. Effect of Trifolium pratense-derived isoflavones on the lipid profile of postmenopausal women with increased body mass index. Gynecol Endocrinol. 2008 Nov;24(11):620-624.
  52. DerMarderosian A, ed. Red Clover. In: Facts and Comparisons The Review of Natural Products. 5th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins; 2008
  53. Duke JA. CRC Handbook of Medicinal Herbs. Boca Raton, FL: CRC Press, Inc.; 2000:614.
  54. Gartoulla P, Han MM. Red clover extract for alleviating hot flushes in postmenopausal women: a meta-analysis. Maturitas. 2014; 79(1):58-64.
  55. Geller SE, Studee L. Soy and red clover for mid-life and aging. Climacteric. 2006 Aug;9(4):245-263.
  56. Heck AM, DeWitt BA, Lukes AL. Potential interactions between alternative therapies and warfarin. Am J Health Syst Pharm. 2000;57(13):1221-1227.
  57. Howes JB, Sullivan D, Lai N. The effects of dietary supplementation with isoflavones from red clover on the lipoprotein profiles of postmenopausal women with mild to moderate hypercholesterolemia. Atherosclerosis. 2000;152(1):143-147.
  58. Husband A. Red clover isoflavone supplements: safety and pharmacokinetics. Journal of the British Menopause Society. 2001;Supplement S1:4-7.
  59. Jeri AR. The effect of isoflavones phytoestrogens in relieving hot flushes in Peruvian postmenopausal women. Paper presented at: 9th International Menopause Society World Congress on the Menopause; October 20, 1999; Yokahama, Japan.
  60. Kuhn MA, Winston D. Herbal Therapy and Supplements. Philadelphia, PA: Lippincott; 2008:365-369.
  61. Lipovac M, Chedraui P, Gruenhut C, et al. The effect of red clover isoflavone supplementation over vasomotor and menopausal symptoms in postmenopausal women. Gynecol Endocrinol. 2012;28(3):203-207.
  62. Mannella P, Tosi V, Russo E, et al. Effects of red clover extracts on breast cancer cell migration and invasion. Gynecol endocrinol. 2012;28(1):29-33.
  63. McGuffin M, Hobbs C, Upton R, et al. Botanical Safety Handbook. Boca Raton, FL: CRC Press LLC; 1997:117.
  64. Mueller M, Jungbauer A. Red clover extract: a putative source for simultaneous treatment of menopausal disorders and the metabolic syndrome. Menopause. 2008 Nov-Dec;15(6):1120-1131.
  65. Nachtigall LE. Isoflavones in the management of menopause. Journal of the British Menopause Society. 2001;Supplement S1:8-12.
  66. Nestel PJ, Pomeroy S, Kay S, et al. Isoflavones from red clover improve systemic arterial compliance but not plasma lipids in menopausal women. J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 1999;84(3):895-898.
  67. North American Menopause Society (NAMS). The role of isoflavones in menopausal health: consensus opinion of the North American Menopause Society. Menopause. 2000;7(4):215-229.
  68. Occhiuto F, Pasquale RD, Guglielmo G, Palumbo DR, Zangla G, Samperi S, Renzo A, Circosta C. Effects of phytoestrogenic isoflavones from red clover (Trifolium pratense L.) on experimental osteoporosis. Phytother Res. 2007 Feb;21(2):130-134.
  69. Panay N. Taking an integrated approach: managing women with phytoestrogens. Climacteric. 2011;14(2):2-7.
  70. Powles TJ, Howell A, Evans DG, McCloskey EV, Ashley S, Greenhalgh R, Affen J, Flook LA, Tidy A. Red clover isoflavones are safe and well tolerated in women with a family history of breast cancer. Menopause Int. 2008 Mar;14(1):6-12.
  71. Rakel: Integrative Medicine. 2nd ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2007.
  72. Stephens FO. Phytoestrogens and prostate cancer: possible preventive role. MJA. 1997;167:138-140.
  73. Tripathi A, Singh SP, Raju KS, Wahajuddin, Gayen JR. Effect of Red Clover on CYP Expression: An Investigation of Herb-Drug Interaction at Molecular Level. Indian J Pharm Sci. 2014;76(3):261-6.
  74. Umland EM. Treatment strategies for reducing the burden of menopause-associated vasomotor symptoms. J Manag Care Pharm. 2008 Apr;14(3 Suppl):14-19. Review.
  75. Woodside JV, Campbell MJ. Isoflavones and breast cancer. Journal of the British Menopause Society. 2001;Supplement S1:17-21.
  76. Wuttke W, Rimoldi G, Christoffel J, Seidlova-Wuttke D. Plant extracts for the treatment of menopausal women: Safe? Maturitas. 2006 Nov 1;55 Suppl 1:S92-S100. Epub 2006 Aug 8.
  77. Zava DT, Dollbaum CM, Blen M. Estrogen and progestin bioactivity of foods, herbs, and spices. Proc Soc Exp Biol Med. 1998;217(3):369-378.
  78. Steven D. Ehrlich, NMD, Solutions Acupuncture, a private practice specializing in complementary and alternative medicine, Phoenix, AZ. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network
  79.