Dandelion

Franz Eugen Köhler, Köhler’s Medizinal-Pflanzen

Dandelion (Taraxacum officinale)

Botanical Name: Taraxacum officinale, Taraxacum mongolicum, Taraxacum palustre, Taraxacum vulgar.

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Mother Jai’s Detox Tea features organic dandelion root and leaf.

Other Common Names: Blowball, canker wort, clock flower, dente de lion, dudhal, dumble-dor, fairy clock, huang hua di ding (yellow flower earth nail), Irish daisy, lion’s tooth, lowenzahnwurzel, mælkebotte, milk gowan, min-deul-rre, monk’s head, mongoloid dandelion, priest’s crown, puffball, swine snout, tell-time, white endive, wild endive, witches’ milk.

Habitat: Dandelion can be found in the temperate regions of Europe, Asia, and North America. Hundreds of species of this hardy and beneficial herb are found throughout the Northern Hemisphere. Some botanists believe that the plant is circumpolar; that is, native to all the temperate regions of the northern hemisphere. Other botanists classify the dandelion as a species introduced to North America from Eurasia. It is found growing wild in meadows, pastures, waste grounds, sand, gravel, rocks, and even cracks in concrete. Most commercial dandelion is cultivated in Bulgaria, Hungary, Poland, Romania and the United Kingdom.

Plant Description: Dandelion is a hardy, variable perennial that is closely related to chicory (Cichorium intybus) that can reach a height of nearly 12 inches. The roots are fleshy and brittle roots are filled with a white milky substance that is bitter and slightly odorous. The dark brown roots may reach into the soil for a foot or more. The shiny, hairless leaves are irregularly dentate or pinnate, either oblong or spatulate. The leaves grow in a rosette from the milky taproot. The grooved leaves funnel rainfall down to the roots. The yellow flowers grow singly on a straight stem that is leafless, hollow, smooth and pale green; it may be tinged with mauve. The flowers are light-sensitive, opening in the morning and closing in the evening or in the event of cloudy weather. The familiar puff-ball that succeeds the flower is a globular cluster of achenes, each of which is fitted with a parachute-like tuft that easily floats on the breeze in order to distribute the seeds. Dandelion flowers open with the sun in the morning and close in the evening or during gloomy weather. The dark brown roots are fleshy and brittle and are filled with a white milky substance that is bitter and slightly smelly.

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Plant Parts Used: Leaves, flowers, and root. Dandelion leaves act as a diuretic, increasing the amount of urine your body makes. The leaves are used to stimulate the appetite and help digestion. Dandelion flower has antioxidant properties. Dandelion may also help improve the immune system. Herbalists use dandelion root to detoxify the liver and gallbladder, and dandelion leaves to help kidney function.

Available Forms: You can find dandelion herbs and roots fresh or dried in a variety of forms, including tinctures, liquid extract, teas, tablets, and capsules. Dandelion can be found alone or combined with other dietary supplements.

History: In the past, dandelion roots and leaves were used to treat liver problems. Native Americans also boiled dandelion in water and took it to treat kidney disease, swelling, skin problems, heartburn, and upset stomach. In traditional Chinese medicine (TCM), dandelion has been used to treat stomach problems, appendicitis, and breast problems, such as inflammation or lack of milk flow. In Europe, dandelion was used in remedies for fever, boils, eye problems, diabetes, and diarrhea.

Dandelion flowers have been used to make dandelion wine, for which there are many recipes. Most of these are more accurately described as “dandelion-flavored wine,” as some other sort of fermented juice or extract serves as the main ingredient. It has also been used in a saison ale called Pissenlit (the French word for dandelion, literally meaning “wet the bed”) made by Brasserie Fantôme in Belgium. Dandelion and burdock is a soft drink that has long been popular in the United Kingdom.

Another recipe using the plant is dandelion flower jam. In Silesia and other parts of Poland and the world, dandelion flowers are used to make a honey substitute syrup with added lemon (so-called May-honey). Ground roasted dandelion root can be used as a non-caffeinated coffee substitute.

Properties

Dandelion is on the FDA’s list of safe foods and is approved by the Council of Europe.

The chief constituents of Dandelion root are Taraxacin, acrystalline and Taraxacerin, an acrid resin, with Inulin (a sort of sugar which replaces starch in many of the Dandelion family, Compositae), gluten, gum and potash. It contains substantial levels of vitamins A, C, D, B-complex, iron, magnesium, zinc, potassium, manganese, choline, calcium and boron.

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Diuretic, tonic and slightly aperient. It is a general stimulant to the system, but especially to the urinary organs, and is chiefly used in kidney and liver disorders.

Dandelion is not only official but is used in many patent medicines. Not being poisonous, quite big doses of its preparations may be taken. Its beneficial action is best obtained when combined with other agents.

Note there are some dandelion look-alikes such as cat’s ear (Hypochoeris radicata), hawkweed (Hieracium pilosella), young wild lettuce (Lactuca spp.) plants, and sow thistle (Sonchus spp.) (Tilford, 1997; Virginia Tech, n.d., Edible Wild Food, n.d.). Note that dandelion differs from these plants in that it only has one flower per stem (no branching stems), has a hollow stem containing milky latex, and is not hairy. Cat’s ear and hawkweed, for example are both hairy and have multiple flowers per stem on branched, solid stems.

Medicinal Uses and Indications

Most scientific studies of dandelion have been in animals, not people. Traditionally, dandelion has been used as a diuretic, to increase the amount of urine and eliminate fluid in your body. It has been used for many conditions where a diuretic might help, such as liver problems and high blood pressure. However, there is no good research on using dandelion as a diuretic in people.

Preventing urinary tract infections (UTIs). A specific combination of dandelion root and leaf extracts of another herb called uva ursi taken by mouth seems to help reduce the number of UTIs in women. In this combination, uva ursi is used because it seems to kill bacteria, and dandelion is used to increase urine flow. However, this combination should not be used long-term because it is not known if uva ursi is safe for extended use.

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Inflammation of the tonsils (Tonsillitis). An early study found that people who had their tonsils removed recovered faster if they ate soup containing dandelion compared to those who ate soup without dandelion.

Fresh or dried dandelion herb is also used as a mild appetite stimulant, and to improve upset stomach. The root of the dandelion plant may act as a mild laxative and has been used to improve digestion. Preliminary research suggests that dandelion may help improve liver and gallbladder function. But this study was not well designed.

Preliminary animal studies suggest that dandelion may help normalize blood sugar levels and lower total cholesterol and triglycerides while raising HDL (good) cholesterol in diabetic mice. But not all the animal studies have found a positive effect on blood sugar. Researchers need to see if dandelion will work in people.

Scientists at the Baylor College of Medicine have discovered the cancer chemopreventive potential of dandelion root against breast cancer. Conventional anti-cancer drugs target only the bulk of the tumor cell population, but not the rarer cancer stem cells, which are capable of indefinite self-renewal and proliferation, says Michael Lewis, Ph.D., an assistant professor of molecular and cellular biology at the Baylor College of Medicine. The results of this experiment, published in the “Journal of the National Cancer Institute,” showed that dandelion root kills both breast cancer stem cells and the bulk of the tumor.

A study by S.J. Chatterjee and colleagues published in the journal “Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine” on December 30, 2010, reported that dandelion root can be a major strategy to prevent chemical-mediated breast cancer because it can detoxify carcinogens, thus protecting tissues against carcinogenesis. In MCF-7 breast cancer cells, dandelion root extract also showed the capacity to induce apoptosis, or programmed cell death, study findings have suggested.

A few animal studies also suggest that dandelion might help fight inflammation.

Surprising Benefits Of Dandelion

Improves Bone Health: Dandelion is rich in calcium, which is essential for the growth and strength of bones and is also rich in antioxidants like vitamin C and luteolin, which protect bones from age-related damage. This inevitable impairment is often due to free radicals and is frequently seen as bone frailty, weakness, and decreased density.

Treats Liver Disorders: Dandelion can help the liver in many ways. While the antioxidants like vitamin C and luteolin keep the liver functioning in optimal gear and protect it from aging, other compounds in dandelion help to treat hemorrhaging in the liver. Furthermore, dandelion aids in maintaining the proper flow of bile, while also stimulating the liver and promoting digestion. Proper digestion can reduce the chances of constipation, which in turn reduces the risk of serious gastrointestinal issues.

Controls Diabetes: Dandelion juice can help diabetic patients by stimulating the production of insulin from the pancreas, thereby keeping the blood sugar level low. Since dandelions are diuretic in nature, they increase urination in diabetic patients, which helps to remove the excess sugar from the body. Diabetics are also prone to renal problems, so the diuretic properties of dandelion can help in removing the sugar deposition in the kidneys through increased urination. Furthermore, the dandelion juice is slightly bitter to taste, which effectively lowers the sugar level in the blood, as all bitter substances do. Consistently lower blood sugar and a regulated insulin release prevents dangerous spikes and plunges in diabetics, so dandelion extracts can be a perfect solution!

Treats Urinary Disorders: Dandelions are highly diuretic in nature, so they help eliminate deposits of toxic substances in the kidneys and the urinary tract. The disinfectant properties of dandelions also inhibit microbial growth in the urinary system. In fact, the diuretic properties of dandelions are so strong that in France, the flower is also called “pissenlit” which means “urinate in bed”.

Skin Care: Dandelion sap, also known as dandelion milk, is useful in treating skin diseases which are caused by microbial and fungal infections. This treatment stems from the fact that the sap is highly alkaline and has germicidal, insecticidal and fungicidal properties. You should be careful while using this sap and avoid any contact with the eyes. This sap can be used on itches, ringworm, eczema, and other skin conditions without the risk of side effects or hormonal disturbances commonly caused by pharmaceutical skin treatments.

Prevents Acne: Dandelion juice is a good detoxifier, diuretic, stimulant, and antioxidant. These four properties make it a great treatment for acne. Before we know how it treats acne, we must know what causes it. Acne typically arises during the teenage years, when the body undergoes many physiological and hormonal changes. The flood of new hormones that bring about the changes in the body must be regulated, but if they don’t remain at a healthy ratio, they tend to deposit somewhat toxic substances into the body. These toxins tend to come out along with sweat through the sweat glands or sebaceous glands on the skin.

During these hormonal changes, these glands secrete more oils which, when mixed with dead skin, block the pores and the secretion of toxins is obstructed. Therefore, the toxic substances cannot escape and eventually result in acne. This situation is exacerbated by the microbial infections on the affected places. Dandelion juice, being a stimulant, diuretic, and detoxifier in nature, can help to regulate proper secretion of hormones, increase sweating, and widen the pores. All of these factors help to facilitate the removal of toxins through sweat and urine. Furthermore, dandelion sap, if externally applied to areas with acne, can inhibit microbial infection and reduce the signs of acne. Also, it can speed up healing due to its vitamin C content, so the scars and ugly red inflammation that traditionally follows acne treatment will be less noticeable.

Weight Loss: Our urine consists of up to 4% fat, so the more we urinate, the more water and fats are lost from the body. Dandelions, being diuretic in nature, promote urination and thereby help in losing the dreaded “water weight” without causing any side effects. Furthermore, dandelions are low in calories, like most leafy greens, but for the small expense of calories (~1oo cal. /4 cups), you get a huge amount of beneficial side effects. This is also why dandelions are sometimes used as sweeteners because they are not packed with unhealthy sugars.

Prevents Cancer: Dandelions are high in antioxidants, such as vitamin C and luteolin, which reduce the free radicals (major cancer-causing agents) in the body, thereby reducing the risk of cancer. Vitamin C also detoxifies the body, which further helps to protect from the development of tumors and various cancers. Luteolin poisons essential components of cancer cells when it binds to them, rendering them ineffective and unable to reproduce. This characteristic has been demonstrated most notably with prostate cancer, although there are other studies being done.

Treats Jaundice: Jaundice is primarily a disorder of the liver in which the organ starts overproducing bile, which ultimately enters the bloodstream and wreaks havoc on the body’s metabolism. The excess bile is also reflected through the color of the skin and eyes, which typically develops a yellow tint. The treatment of jaundice includes three main steps. First, you need to curb the production of bile. Second, you must remove the excess bile from the body, and third, you have to fight the underlying viral infection.

Dandelions are very helpful in all of these steps. They promote liver health and regulate bile production. Being diuretic in nature, they promote urination, where the excess bile can be eliminated. Finally, as an antioxidant and disinfectant due to the presence of vitamin C and luteolin, dandelions fight viral infections as well. They are most beneficial when taken with sugarcane juice since they replace the sugar in the body, which is significantly lowered due to the impact of excess bile. A lack of sugar can cause extreme fatigue and weakness, so dandelions help to boost your energy levels after infection.

Prevents Gall Bladder Disorders: Dandelions are very beneficial for the gallbladder and liver, because they improve their general functioning, protect them from ill effects of oxidants and infections, and regulate the various secretions from both organs.

Cures Constipation: Certain components of dandelion, namely the high levels of dietary fiber make it a beneficial aid for digestion and proper intestinal health. Dietary fiber stimulates healthy bowel movements by adding bulk to stool and also reduces chances of constipation as well as diarrhea. It regulates bowel movements, which can prevent serious gastrointestinal issues. It is commonly prescribed for children who are experiencing constipation, as it is relatively soothing on the stomach. It has also been used to stimulate the appetite, particularly following trauma or surgery.

Prevents Anemia: Dandelions have relatively good levels of iron, vitamins, and protein content. While iron is an integral part of hemoglobin in the blood, vitamin B and protein are essential for the formation of red blood cells and certain other components of the blood. This way dandelion can help anemic people keep their condition in check.

Regulates Blood Pressure: Urination is an effective way of lowering blood pressure. In fact, most of the modern medicines for lowering blood pressure are based on this phenomenon. Dandelion juice, being diuretic in nature, increases urination, both in quantity and frequency. Therefore, it helps to lower high blood pressure. The fiber in dandelion is also helpful in reducing cholesterol and thereby assists in lowering blood pressure since cholesterol is one of the factors that increase blood pressure. Finally, there is a high potassium content in dandelions, which is very effective in lowering blood pressure by replacing sodium.

Other Benefits: Dandelions can also be used as a vegetable and are a good source of fiber. It promotes digestion, and in the past, it was used to treat scurvy because of its high levels of vitamin C. It also has healing effects on dyspepsia, infections in the stomach, intestines and urinary system.

How to Take it

Pediatric: Ask your doctor before giving dandelion supplements to a child so the doctor can determine the dose.

Adult: Ask your doctor to help determine the right dose for you.

Preparations

Dandelion Tea— Infuse 1 OZ. of Dandelion in a pint of boiling water for 10 minutes; decant, sweeten with honey, and drink several glasses in the course of the day. The use of this tea is efficacious in bilious affections, and is also much approved of in the treatment of dropsy.

  • Or take 2 OZ. of freshly-sliced Dandelion root, and boil in 2 pints of water until it comes to 1 pint; then add 1 OZ. of compound tincture of Horseradish. Dose, from 2 to 4 OZ. Use in a sluggish state of the liver.
  • Or 1 OZ. Dandelion root, 1 OZ. Black Horehound herb, 1/2 OZ. Sweet Flag root, 1/4 OZ. Mountain Flax. Simmer the whole in 3 pints of water down to 1 1/2 pint, strain and take a wineglassful after meals for biliousness and dizziness.

For Gall Stones— 1 OZ. Dandelion root, 1 OZ. Parsley root, 1 OZ. Balm herb, 1/2 OZ. Ginger root, 1/2 OZ. Liquorice root. Place in 2 quarts of water and gently simmer down to 1 quart, strain and take a wineglassful every two hours.

For a young child suffering from jaundice: 1 OZ. Dandelion root, 1/2 oz. Ginger root, 1/2 oz. Caraway seed, 1/2 oz. Cinnamon bark, 1/4 oz. Senna leaves. Gently boil in 3 pints of water down to 1 1/2 pint, strain, dissolve 1/2 lb. sugar in hot liquid, bring to a boil again, skim all impurities that come to the surface when clear, put on one side to cool, and give frequently in teaspoonful doses.

A Liver and Kidney Mixture— 1 OZ. Broom tops, 1/2 oz. Juniper berries, 1/2 oz. Dandelion root, 1 1/2 pint water. Boil in gredients for 10 minutes, then strain and adda small quantity of cayenne. Dose, 1 tablespoonful, three times a day.

A Medicine for Piles— 1 OZ. Long-leaved Plantain, 1 OZ. Dandelion root, 1/2 oz. Polypody root, 1 OZ. Shepherd’s Purse. Add 3 pints of water, boil down to half the quantity, strain, and add 1 OZ. of tincture of Rhubarb. Dose, a wineglassful three times a day. Celandine ointment to be applied at same time.

Word of Caution: Dandelions can be helpful in lowering blood sugar, but for patients already taking blood-sugar modulators, this can result in hypoglycemia, an equally dangerous condition. Consult your doctor before adding dandelion supplements on top of your normal treatment. Also, the milk sap of dandelions has been known to cause itchiness, irritation, or allergic reactions on the skin, and should be kept away from the eyes. Finally, there is a rare type of fiber in dandelions called inulin and some people have a predisposed sensitivity or allergy to it which can be quite severe. While adding dandelion greens to your diet in any way, start small and closely monitor your body’s response.

Precautions: The use of herbs is a time-honored approach to strengthening the body and treating disease. However, herbs can trigger side effects and interact with other herbs, supplements, or medications. For these reasons, you should take herbs under the supervision of a health care provider.

Dandelion is generally considered safe. Some people may have an allergic reaction from touching dandelion. Others may get mouth sores.

If you are allergic to ragweed, chrysanthemums, marigold, chamomile, yarrow, daisies, or iodine, you should avoid dandelion.

In some people, dandelion can cause increased stomach acid and heartburn. It may also irritate the skin.

People with kidney problems, gallbladder problems, or gallstones should consult their doctors before eating dandelion.

Possible Interactions

Dandelion leaf may act as a diuretic, which can make drugs leave your body faster. It also interacts with a number of medications that are broken down by the liver. If you are taking prescription medications, ask your doctor before taking dandelion leaf. Medications that may interact with dandelion include:

Antacids: Dandelion may increase the amount of stomach acid, so antacids may not work as well.

Blood-thinning medications (anticoagulants and antiplatelets): It is possible that dandelion may increase the risk of bleeding, especially if you already take blood thinners such as aspirin, warfarin (Coumadin), or clopidogrel (Plavix).

Diuretics (water pills): Dandelion may act as a diuretic, causing your body to produce more urine to get rid of excess fluid. If you also take prescription diuretics, or other herbs that act as diuretics, you could be at risk of electrolyte imbalances.

Lithium: Lithium is used to treat bipolar disorder. Animal studies suggest that dandelion may worsen the side effects of lithium.

Ciproflaxin (Cipro): One species of dandelion, Taraxacum mongolicum, also called Chinese dandelion, may lower the amount of the antibiotic ciproflaxin that your body absorbs. Researchers do not know whether the common dandelion would do the same thing.

Medications for diabetes: Theoretically, dandelion may lower blood sugar levels. If you take medications for diabetes, taking dandelion may increase the risk of low blood sugar.

Medications broken down by the liver: Dandelion can interact with a number of medications. To be safe, ask your doctor before taking dandelion if you take any medication.

Recipes

Dandelion Pesto – Adapted from The Wild Wisdom of Weeds by Katrina Blair

Ingredients

  • 2 cups fresh young dandelion greens
  • 1 cup basil
  • 1 cup cashews, almonds, or pine nuts
  • ½ cup olive oil
  • 1 cup water
  • 3 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1 teaspoon salt

Directions

  • Wash and dry dandelion greens and basil.
  • Combine all ingredients in a blender or food processor and blend until smooth and creamy.
  • Serve as a dip with vegetable crudites or crackers, on pasta, or as a sandwich spread.

The Health Benefits Of Dandelion For Dogs

If your dog suffers from digestive issues, dandelion may be a great herb to consider. The dandelion flower may be used for its antioxidant properties and may improve the immune system. It is also high in lecithin. Dandelion leaves are loaded with potassium. They also stimulate the appetite and help digestion along with kidney function. They are an ideal choice for dogs with chronic indigestion or those with gas. Dandelion leaf also acts as a diuretic, making it useful in cases of arthritis, kidney stones, congestive heart failure and gallbladder disease. And best of all, dandelion leaf contains lots of potassium, which can be lost through urination. Dandelion leaf also stimulates the liver and promotes the elimination of waste material from the body. Dandelion root is also quite useful and nutritional. The root is a liver tonic and helps to remove toxins from the body, via the kidneys. Signs of toxicity can include:

  • Skin disease
  • Dandruff
  • Chronic constipation
  • Dandelion root can also treat gallstones and gallbladder inflammation.

Using Dandelion: Dandelion can be used as a dried herb, a tea or as a tincture.

Dandelion Tea – To make dandelion tea:

  • Use 5g to 30g dried herb infused in 8oz water.
  • You can use 1/3 of a cup per 20 pounds of your dogs body weight, up to 3 times a day.
  • For dried herbs, use a teaspoon per 20 pounds.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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