Spike Lavender

Spike Lavender oil (Lavandula spica & latifolia)

There are three basic types of Lavender available.

The first is Spike Lavender (Lavandula spicata). This wild character smells a bit like its name would lead you to believe…rough and spiky. It is full of camphoraceous notes and is not likely to soothe or relax you.

The second are the True Lavenders (Lavandula angustifolia or Lavandula officinalis). This type of Lavender can be further divided into what the French call Fine or Population lavenders, and the Clonal Lavenders.

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  1. A Clonal Lavender is a True Lavender that has been bred for certain characteristics (most usually a sweet bouquet) and which is propagated by taking cuttings from the parent plant, as opposed to by seed.
  2. The Population Lavenders are the original Lavenders of Provence and because they are grown from seed, each plant will have a unique genetic make up and this can be seen in the variance in the appearance of the plants in the field. This variance also gives the essential oil a rich complex bouquet, and a correspondingly rich therapeutic potential. Population Lavenders require cool air to thrive, so they are only found at high elevations.

The third and final group are the Lavandins. Lavadins are types of Lavender produced by interbreeding the True Lavenders with the Spike Lavenders. There are many different strains of Lavadin, of which Abrialis, Super and Grosso are perhaps the most common. The reason that so much of the ‘lavender’ sold these days comes from strains of Lavandin plants is because these hybrid plants grow vigorously to a large size, they resist disease, and they have large flower spikes that yield a lot of oil – making the essential oil inexpensive.

Lavandula spica (spicata)

A beautiful dwarf form of English Lavender. Very Fragrant, intense blue flowers are held on short erect stems during spring summer. The flowers are held above a neat, compact, silver-grey mound of camphor scented foliage just 25cm across. Great cut flowers and dries beautifully.  Lovely small specimen for pots or makes a very tidy border edging plant. Enjoys full sun in well drained, neutral to slightly alkaline soil. Tolerates dry periods. Frost hardy once established.

Spike Lavender is differentiated by its minty, herbal scent. This aroma is helpful for supporting the respiratory system as well as local circulation. Spike Lavender is also more stimulating and active on the skin than Lavender Angustifolia.

Spike lavender is wonderfully cooling when hot flashes hit. Not nearly as harsh as peppermint and yet cools the entire system when applied in diluted form onto the skin. Assists in balancing hormones associated with body temperature and regulation.

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Blends well with:  Bay Laurel, Black Pepper, Black Spruce, Cedar Atlas, Clove, Eucalyptus Radiata, Eucalyptus Globulus, Balsam Fir, Douglas Fir, Silver Fir, Frankincense, Hyssop Decumbens, Inula, Lavender, Oregano, Palmarosa, Patchouli, Peppermint, Wild Scotch Pine, Rosemary Cineol, Sage, Tea Tree, Thyme, Wintergreen.

Safety Information: Do not apply directly on young children. Do not ingest.

Maximum Adult Dilution: 19%; 114 drops per ounce of carrier

Recommended Dilution: 1-5%; 6 – 30 drops per ounce of carrier

Lavandula latifolia

Known as broadleaved lavender, spike lavender or Portuguese lavender, is a flowering plant in the family Lamiaceae, native to the western Mediterranean region, from central Portugal to northern Italy (Liguria) through Spain and southern France. Hybridization can occur in the wild with English lavender (Lavandula angustifolia). The scent of Lavandula latifolia is stronger, with more camphor, and more pungent than Lavandula angustifolia scent. For this reason the two varieties are grown in separate fields.

Aromatically, Spike Lavender Oil tends to blend well with the same families of essential oils that traditional Lavender Oil does including other floral, mint and coniferous oils. Rosemary Essential Oil, depending on the chemotype, also tends to have a large percentage of camphor. If you particularly like the aroma of Rosemary Oil, you should find the aroma of Spike Lavender Essential Oil appealing.

Spike Lavender Essential Oil possesses usage applications similar to that of traditional Lavender Oil. However, it’s greater percentage of the constituent camphor gives it stronger analgesic and expectorant properties. It is a better choice to ease headaches or use as an expectorant in the diffuser. Diluted for topical use, it can be used to help ease aches, pains or the discomfort associated with arthritis. It is also reported to be effective in repelling insects.

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Due to its camphor content of up to 25%, Spike Lavender Essential Oil should be used with care. Robert Tisserand and Rodney Young do not specify any contraindications for Spike Lavender Essential Oil, but state that it may be mildly neurotoxic. [Robert Tisserand and Rodney Young, Essential Oil Safety (Second Edition. United Kingdom: Churchill Livingstone Elsevier, 2014), 329.]

Properties : Nervous system regulation, calming, sedative, anti-depressive, powerful antispasmodic, muscle relaxer, hypotensive, general and pulmonary antiseptic, heart tonic and tonic, cardiac nerves contrastimulant, skin repair, skin regeneration (external use), anti-inflammatory, analgesic

Indications : Infectious, cicatricial or allergic skin ailments, acne, couperosis, psoriasis, pruritus, eczema, wounds, burns, insect bites, razor burn, eschars, ulcers, stretch marks, insomnias, sleeping disorders, spasms, irritability, anxiety, depressive state, stress, cramps, contractures and muscular spasms, hypertension, palpitation, tachycardia, nervous disorders, asthma, digestive spasms, nausea, migraine, rheumatisms

Energetic and Emotional Effect: Solar plexus action. Lavender calms irritations associated with power confrontations and interpersonal relationships. It also calms anxious people and anger in general.

For congestion: Massage around the ear and lymphatic nodes with a few drops, pure or diluted in vegetable oil.

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To calm anxiety and stress episodes: Apply five or six drops on the solar plexus (diaphragm) and massage while breathing slowly and profoundly.

To ease sleep: Mix one drop of essential oil in two table spoons of maple syrup. In your mixer, blend 500ml of plain yogurt

References:

  1. https://www.seedscape.net.au/shop/hardy-perennial/lavandula-spicata-muffets-children/
  2. https://www.essentialoils.gr/en/essential-oil-singles/208-lavender-spike-essential-oil-bio-lavandula-latifolia-cineolifera-florihana.html
  3. https://dengarden.com/gardening/Best-French-English-Lavenders-Lavender-lavendar-grow-in-Zone-5-ontario-flowers-herbs
  4. https://bodybliss.com/blog/a-lesson-in-lavender-june-20th-/
  5. http://veriditasbotanicals.com/products/essential-oils/lavender-spike/
  6. https://www.aromaweb.com/essential-oils/spike-lavender-oil.asp
  7. https://everything-lavender.com/spike-lavender.html
  8. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26441063
  9. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1021949814000799
  10. https://www.iso.org/standard/55964.html
  11. http://eol.org/pages/590824/details
  12. https://species.wikimedia.org/wiki/Lavandula_latifolia
  13. https://www.inaturalist.org/taxa/371559-Lavandula-latifolia
  14. https://aliksir.com/en/lavender-spike-lavandula-latifolia-essential-oil.html

Sleeping Better

How to Get More & Better Sleep

We’ve all had nights, here and there, where no matter what we do we cannot get to sleep. It’s normal. What is not normal is struggling to get to sleep every night, using drugs or alcohol to try to get to sleep, or hoping the TV will help you fall asleep in the wee hours of the morning.

These are the indications of insomnia, which is a treatable disorder or dysfunction. We know that insomnia is the inability to sleep, yet it’s much more than that. It is considered habitual sleeplessness, meaning more than two nights without good sleep. Acute insomnia is associated with a few weeks of not sleeping, typically associated with a traumatic or highly stressful event. Chronic insomnia is the habitual lack of sleep for months or years.

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Caffeine & Insomnia

Caffeine is a stimulant, which means it stimulates the nervous systems, the metabolism, as well as mental function. It takes twelve, yes that’s 12, hours for your body to process the caffeine you consume. For example – you consume 1 cup of coffee (average of 95mg of caffeine) at 8am, by 8pm half of that caffeine (47.5mg) is still there in your system stimulating function. Well no wonder you can’t get to sleep.

Certain medications, like antidepressants, water pills (diuretics), high blood pressure and high cholesterol medications, and allergy medicines have a stimulating effect on the body much like caffeine and can keep you up. They also interfere with normal hormone production which can throw the whole system and all of its cycles out of balance. If you suspect your medications talk with your doctor about trying supplements or herbal remedies to help or even changing medications to help.

Anxiety & Insomnia

Most adults have had some trouble sleeping because they feel worried or nervous, but for some it’s a pattern that interferes with sleep on a regular basis. When this happens for many nights (or many months), you might start to feel anxiousness, dread, or panic at just the prospect of not sleeping. This is how anxiety and insomnia can feed each other and become a cycle that should be interrupted through treatment. There are cognitive and mind-body techniques that help people with anxiety settle into sleep, and overall healthy sleep practices that can improve sleep for many people with anxiety and insomnia. Anxiety symptoms that can lead to insomnia include:

  • Tension
  • Getting caught up in thoughts about past events
  • Excessive worrying about future events
  • Feeling overwhelmed by responsibilities
  • A general feeling of being revved up or overstimulated

Insomnia & Lifestyle

Insomnia can be triggered or perpetuated by your behaviors and sleep patterns. Unhealthy lifestyles and sleep habits can create insomnia on their own (without any underlying psychiatric or medical problem), or they can make insomnia caused by another problem worse. Examples of how specific lifestyles and sleep habits can lead to insomnia are:

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  1. You work at home in the evenings. This can make it hard to unwind, and it can also make you feel preoccupied when it comes time to sleep. The light from your computer could also make your brain more alert.
  2. You take naps (even if they are short) in the afternoon. Short naps can be helpful for some people, but for others they make it difficult to fall asleep at night.
  3. You sometimes sleep in later to make up for lost sleep. This can confuse your body’s clock and make it difficult to fall asleep again the following night.
  4. You are a shift worker (meaning that you work irregular hours). Non-traditional hours can confuse your body’s clock, especially if you are trying to sleep during the day, or if your schedule changes periodically.
  5. You regularly use stimulants to wake up and get through your day.

Mother Jai’s Remedies

Chamomile Tea – chamomile tea soothing to the nervous system and helps you feel relaxed and ready to sleep. Use at least 1hour before bed for best results.

Relax & Sleep Tea – a blend of chamomile, lavender, and hops. Deliciously calming and soothing.

Relax & Sleep Oil– organic sunflower oil with blue chamomile, Valerian, and roman chamomile essential oils. Apply to chest or feet to calm the body and mind for a deep, restful sleep.

Need More Sleep?

We all know sleep is an absolute necessity for living, not just feeling well. So, to help you not only get more sleep, but also better sleep, I’ve put together multiple techniques that are known to induce relaxation in the body and practices that help quiet the mind. With these easy techniques, you’ll be sleeping hard and dreaming strong in no time, just try it.

The average person needs 7 hours of sleep every night, but because we are all so different the range is between 5 and 10 hours. So, a big part of getting better sleep is to understand yourself. This is done by taking time to understand your sleeping habits. Before you attempt any changes take time to observe your habits, taking notes if need be, to get an idea of what you are doing before bed and how well you are sleeping.

A sleep journal can be just as important as a dream journal in helping you to understand yourself. I suggest taking it with you to bed so you can easily write in it as you go to bed and wake in the morning. List your activities that are common for you before bed and list all of the activities you do in your bed. After about a week of this, go back through your journal and review what you have written. You can get an idea of what you need to work with by answering these simple questions:

  • What are the patterns or habits that you notice?
  • Why is your bed being used for activities besides sleeping and sex?
  • What can you change to improve your bedtime habits?
  • How many hours are you sleeping most nights?
  • Are you sleeping hard and remember dreaming?

Now that you’ve spent some time getting to know yourself better and have developed an understanding of your habits, now you can change them.

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Simple Steps for Adjusting Your Sleep Schedule

  1. Make adjustments in increments. The best way to successfully shift your sleep cycle is to do it gradually, in 15-minute increments.
  2. Be consistent all week. The key to changing your sleep schedule is consistency. That means sticking to the same sleep and wake time throughout the week, including weekends.
  3. Keep your room dark at night and light in the morning. Our circadian rhythms are influenced by light and darkness.
  4. Get up if you can’t sleep. Don’t lie in bed tossing and turning, especially if you’re wired. Instead, get up and do something either boring or relaxing.
  5. Stop pressing the snooze button. While it might be rough to get up earlier, snoozing doesn’t help. In general it won’t be the best quality of sleep. Set your alarm to the time you actually want to wake up.
  6. Follow sleep hygiene rules. If you’re having trouble falling asleep, stop drinking caffeine within 12 hours of your bedtime or exercising within four to five hours. Give yourself an hour to unwind before bed. During that time, don’t do anything stressful or stimulating (such as use electronics).
  7. Fight after-dinner drowsiness. If you find yourself getting sleepy way before your bedtime, get off the couch and do something mildly stimulating to avoid falling asleep, such as washing the dishes, calling a friend, or getting clothes ready for the next day.
  8. Hungry at bedtime. For some people, a light snack before bed can help promote sleep. When you pair tryptophan-containing foods with carbohydrates, it may help calm the brain and allow you to sleep better. If you need a bedtime snack, try: half a turkey sandwich, small bowl of whole-grain, low-sugar cereal, granola with low-fat milk or yogurt, or a banana.
  9. Exercise Regularly You’ll also sleep more deeply if you exercise regularly. You don’t have to be a star athlete to reap the benefits—as little as 20 to 30 minutes of daily activity helps. And you don’t need to do all 30 minutes in one session. You can break it up into five minutes here, 10 minutes there, and still get the benefits.
  10. Exercise early. It’s no secret that exercise improves sleep and overall health. Morning exercise seems to affect body rhythms that affect sleep quality. One of the reasons for this interplay between exercise and sleep may be body temperature. Your body temp rises during exercise and takes up to 6 hours to drop back down to normal. Because cooler body temperatures are linked to better sleep, it’s important to give your body time to cool off before bed.
  11. Keep your slumber surroundings tranquil. Your bedroom should feel like a quiet sanctuary. Piles of clothes thrown on your bed, stacks of bills staring at you, or other random clutter will hamper you emotionally and may lead to sleep problems. A tranquil and organized space will help you feel more relaxed.
  12. Postpone worrying and brainstorming. If you wake during the night feeling anxious about something, make a brief note of it on paper and postpone worrying about it until the next day when you are fresh and it will be easier to resolve.
  13. Turn off the TV. In some people, nighttime light can hinder melatonin and create “social jetlag,” which mimics symptoms of having traveled several time zones.
  14. Stretch right before bed. Gentle stretching with deep breathing releases all the pent-up stress from the joints and muscles and makes it much easier for them to relax. Deep breathing helps calm and soothe the mind for getting to sleep faster and staying asleep longer.
  15. Meditation or progressive relaxation. Meditation is directing the mind to one focus, which can be shutting down and going to sleep, by focusing your intent you can make it happen. Progressive Relaxation is a process of mentally and physically working from your toes up and relaxing each muscle group with deep breathing. Each inhale the muscles tense and gather stress. Each exhale is a release of muscle tension.

Some Supplements Can Help Bring Sleep

  1. Melatonin is a hormone that helps regulate the sleep/wake cycle, an internal pacemaker that controls the timing and our drive for sleep. It causes drowsiness, lowers body temperature, and puts the body into sleep mode.
  2. Warm milk. You can put a tasty spin on your grandmother’s natural insomnia remedy by sipping warm milk before bed. Almond milk is an excellent source of calcium, which helps the brain make melatonin.
  3. Sleepy-time snacks. The best sleep-inducing foods include a combination of protein and carbohydrates, a light snack of half a banana with a tablespoon of peanut butter, or a whole wheat cracker with some cheese. Eat one of these snacks about 30 minutes before hitting the hay.
  4. Magnesium apparently plays a key role with sleep. Research has shown that even a marginal lack of it can prevent the brain from settling down at night. Good sources include green leafy vegetables, wheat germ, pumpkin seeds, and almonds.
  5. Valerian root. This medicinal herb has been used to treat sleep problems since ancient times. Research on the effectiveness of valerian for insomnia is mixed. It can take a few weeks for it to take effect. Talk to your doctor before taking valerian and follow label directions.
  6. Chamomile flowers. When consumed in a tea or light infusion they are a gentle sedative with strong calming, pain relief, and anti-inflammatory properties. Stronger dilutions have stronger and longer lasting effects.
  7. Lavender flowers. As a tea, it is a light sedative for those with minor stress interfering with sleep.
  8. Kava Kava root. Caution must be used, in large doses and with continued use Kava can cause liver failure. In small amounts with foods and other supplements it can help reduce anxiety and its associated insomnia.
  9. 5-HTP is a derivative of the amino acid tryptophan. It is used to boost serotonin in the body. 5-HTP is also the precursor of melatonin, which regulates sleep cycles.
  10. Eleuthero (Siberian) ginseng. Studies suggest that his herb (Eleutherococcus senticosus) can help enhance mental activity as well as physical endurance.
  11. Coenzyme Q10. This vital nutrient is involved in cellular energy production throughout the body.
  12. Ashwagandha. This Ayurvedic herb is prized for its ability to help the body deal with stress.
  13. Cordyceps. This traditional Chinese medicinal mushroom may help fight fatigue and boost energy levels.

Essential Oils to Help You Sleep

Lavender: Most people are aware that lavender is somehow related to sleep, but what most people don’t know is that this has been studied extensively and its effectiveness is more than just an Old Wives Tale.

Vetiver: distilled from the roots of the plant. It’s rich and earthy smelling, and helps the brain “shut-off” for the night. Try mixing it with “lighter” oil, such as lavender or roman chamomile.

Roman Chamomile: known for is calming, soothing, and relaxing properties. Simply smelling the oil has a calming effect, which can help you feel relaxed and more prepared for sleep.

German (Blue) Chamomile: is a very strong sedative, almost narcotic when undiluted. This can be diffused into the air or sprayed on to bedding before bed.

Bergamot: citrus fruit and the oil is cold-pressed from the rind or peel. It’s bright, yet calming at the same time.

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Marjoram: wonderful for soothing muscles and joints, but it also excels in creating peaceful sleep.

Relaxing Techniques for Better Sleep

Before bed is a great way to wind down, calm the mind, and prepare for sleep.

  1. Deep breathing. Close your eyes, and try taking deep, slow breaths, making each breath even deeper than the last.
  2. Progressive muscle relaxation. Starting with your toes, tense all the muscles as tightly as you can, then completely relax. Work your way up from your feet to the top of your head.
  3. Visualizing a peaceful, restful place. Close your eyes and imagine a place or activity that is calming and peaceful for you. Concentrate on how relaxed this place or activity makes you feel.
  4. Rubbing or massaging the soles of your feet. Using fingertips and thumbs, rub lotion into the bottom of your feet. Using as much pressure as is comfortable and possible. Massaging in circles in the bottom of the foot releases large amounts of tension. If you cannot reach with your hands, use a broom handle laid across in front of you and rub the bottoms of your feet, with/without lotion or socks, on the handle, gently rolling it under your foot back and forth.

Stretching for Bed

Can help alleviate Restless Leg Syndrome (RLS) and help you relax more and sleep more deeply.

Seated Leg Stretches

Sitting in your chair or bed and keeping your back straight. Simple stretches done by flexing and pointing your toes while keeping your leg straight.

  1. Sitting up straight, raise feet up, and hold legs straight.
  2. Breathing in bend toes back towards shins, holding for a few seconds.
  3. Breathing out releasing toes straight again.
  4. Breathing in point toes and hold for a few seconds with breath.
  5. Breathing out releasing toes straight again.
  6. Repeat holding the stretches with breath.

Ankle Rotations

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Simple rotational movements done to relax and strengthen the ankle joint.

  1. Sitting up straight, raise feet up, and hold legs straight.
  2. Breathing slowly, evenly, and smoothly in through nose, out through mouth.
  3. Point your toes and draw circles in clockwise direction with them.
  4. Stop and draw circles in counterclockwise direction.

Shoulder Scrunches

  1. Sitting up with back straight, chin parallel to the floor, legs resting and feet relaxed.
  2. Breathing in through your nose, bring your shoulders up to your ears.
  3. Hold your shoulders to your ears while holding breath, for a few seconds.
  4. Breathing out through your mouth releasing your shoulders back down and relaxing.
  5. Pause and repeat at least five times.

Shoulder Squeezes

  1. Sitting up with back straight, chin parallel to the floor, legs resting and feet relaxed.
  2. Breathing in bring your shoulders back, squeezing the shoulder blades together.
  3. Hold your shoulder blades together while holding breath for a few seconds.
  4. Breathing out release the shoulders and relaxing them.
  5. Repeating shoulder squeezes with breaths and pauses at least five times.

Head Roll

  1. Sitting with back straight, feet flat, chin parallel to floor, and palms resting on knees.
  2. Breathing slowly and deeply, bring your chin to your chest. Then roll the head to the left, drawing a circle with your head.
  3. Straighten up, pause, and relax.
  4. Bring chin back to chest and roll head to the right, drawing a circle.
  5. Straighten up, pause, relax, and repeat.

Neck Twist

  1. Sitting with back straight, feet flat, chin parallel to floor, and palms resting on knees. Breathing slowly and deeply, relaxing the neck.
  2. Gently turn to the left, as far as your head will turn without injury, hold and stretch. Face forward again. Relaxing the neck.
  3. Gently turn to the right, as far as your head will turn without injury, hold and stretch.

Reference:

https://chipperbirds.com/bird-music-for-anxiety/

https://www.whywesuffer.com

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.

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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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