Detoxify with Red Clover

Almost everyone is familiar with the compact pink blossoms and three-part leaves of red clover, growing by roadsides or cultivated in farmer's fields where "nitrogen fixing" nodules on the roots make it a useful soil budding crop.

Red clover is used for its general eliminative, detoxifying or cleansing activities. It is a gentle eliminative remedy that can be used in chronic disease. Most commonly, it has been used in skin and respiratory problems. The British Herbal Pharmacopoeia lists clover as a dermatological agent for use in skin conditions such as eczema and psoriasis. It also suggests it for whooping cough because of its antispasmodic and expectorant activity.

There is no recommendation for the use of this herb for cancer among the most credible authorities. However, in his Honest Herbal, Tyler cites a study which found that an extract from red clover, known as biochanin A, inhibited carcinogen activation in cell cultures in the laboratory which seems to support folk tradition uses of red clover m poultices, washes and dressings for cancer growth. In vitro experiments only illustrate the need for more research Clover, like many members of the pea family, contains coumarins. Many herbalists believe that plants containing coumarins should be avoided when a patient is taking pharmaceutical blood thinners because of the risk of "potentiation," resulting in hemorrhage. But in his excellent introduction to herbal medicine, Out of the Earth, Simon Mills points out that "fortunately, coumarins are neutralize in the digestive tract and normally present no difficulty on consumption." Red clover contains genistein, an isoflavone with estrogenic properties. It would be contraindicated in estrogen-dependent cancers.

Steep a teaspoon of the flowers in a cup of boiling water for 10 minutes. Do not let the steam escape! Use a good sample of the herb -- one that has been dried quickly, still retains much of its original pink colour and has not turned brown. When gathering the flowers, reject any that have turned brown.

Canadian Health Reform Products Ltd.

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By Keith Stelling

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