Weed Love : Red Clover

October 25, 2018 by Micah  
Filed under Featured, Musings

As I get older and my hormonal balance shifts, I’ve been looking for supportive herbs and Spagyrics to make the transition as gracefully as possible. I eat well, exercise and do yoga, and live a relatively stress-free life, so I’m in a good position to help my body find its own balance with just a little nudge from the plant kingdom.

For a few months now, I’ve been taking a daily tonic of equal parts Red Clover and Black Cohosh Spagyric Essences. It’s been very helpful for energy, balanced mood and sleep, and the occasional hot flashes I get. It’s a gentle combination, but it’s been working great for me, and it’s helped me get to know an herb that I hadn’t worked with much before.

Red Clover is a member of the legume family, which also includes peas and beans, along with many other kinds of clover. Clovers and many of the rest of the pea family share similar leaves and flowers, with the clovers showing the classic “lucky clover” leaf pattern.

This family is special in another way- as fixers of nitrogen into the soil. Despite the fact that the air we breathe is 78% nitrogen, and this element is essential to plant growth, most plants cannot gather nitrogen directly from the air. For most of the green kingdom, nitrogen has to come to them in soluble form from the soil into the plants’ roots, depending on many other processes to provide this food.

Legume plants can’t really gather nitrogen directly from the air, either, at least not without some help. That help comes in the form of rhizobia, special bacteria that partner with the roots of some plants in a symbiosis. These bacteria convert atmospheric nitrogen into forms the plant can use and then feed it to the plant’s roots. In return, the plant exudes carbohydrates for the bacteria to eat.

This partnership can lock up a great deal of natural nitrogen fertilizer through the life of the plant, and when that plant dies, that food is available to other plants- so much so that clovers are often called “green manure”. This is why legumes such as clovers, alfalfa, peas, beans, and vetch are used in rotation as cover crops, grown one season for the specific purpose of fertilizing the next season’s main crop.

In our garden, we’ve planted a number of different clovers as cover crops for their benefit to the other plants we grow, and we also have a lot of Red Clover that was here before we moved in, and which has thrived with just a bit of extra water and care that we give it.

As it grows, Red Clover also takes up minerals from deep in the soil, including large amounts of calcium and potassium. This makes Red Clover a great source of these minerals, especially when extracted in our Spagyric process which purifies and concentrates minerals.

In my own health, I am relying on Red Clover for its hormone-balancing properties, especially as a source of plant-based estrogen. The chemicals in Red Clover, called isoflavones, are common in the pea family, and are most famous as the estrogenic compounds in soy.

Because of genetic modification, pesticide use, and digestibility issues, I don’t eat enough soy to use it as an estrogen source, but Red Clover is a reliable ally for this purpose, and many feel it acts in a more balanced way than soy.

Isoflavones bind to the same receptors in our bodies as our own natural estrogen, and so they can carry the same signals, activate the same pathways, and cause the same biological actions as endogenous estrogen, even when our own levels are low, as in peri-menopause and menopause.

Red Clover extracts have been studied and found helpful for many common complaints of the “change”, such as hot flashes, anxiety and mood swings, as well as helping support bone density buildup, lowering cholesterol, and generally reducing inflammation.

I have found our Red Clover Essence helpful in addressing all these imbalances, and it seems to work very well in combination with our Black Cohosh Essence, which has a stronger and more targeted effect on estrogen receptors than Clover. Together, I have found that a twice-daily dose has kept my energy and mood balanced and my vitality good, in both hormonally-specific ways, and generally.

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