Red Clover tincture is a gentle herbal remedy that’s used to treat menopausal and pre-menstrual symptoms in women. It’s also used to improve both skin and hair health, and promote healthy sleep patterns. It’s easy to make at home with just a few simple ingredients!
Red clover is so incredibly common, and you’ve probably seen this edible “weed” growing on lawns, alongside roadsides, and in fields from May through September.
While it’s common and easy to identify, few people know that red clover is not only edible, it’s also medicinal!
I’ll send my daughter out to gather it by the basketful, and we’ll make it up into red clover flour to make cookies for her…but I’ll save some aside for a nourishing red clover tincture to help this mama along.
Red clover tincture is commonly used to treat menopausal and menstrual symptoms, including hot flashes. It’s also used to improve sleep and promote skin health, as well as balance female hormones. All around, it’s a lovely herbal preparation for women.
(Always consult your doctor or a clinical herbalist before trying any new herbal remedy, as there’s always the possibility of unintended consequences, allergic reaction, or interactions with other medication. If you’re harvesting wild plant material, make sure you’re 100% confident in your identification and consult multiple sources for your ID. The following is based on my research and experience, but I don’t claim to have any certifications that would qualify me to advise you on your health. Please do your own research and always verify with multiple reputable sources.)
Benefits of Red Clover Tincture
Perhaps the most well-known benefits associated with red clover have to do with the plant’s rich source of isoflavones, which are plant-based compounds that mimic the action of estrogen. This summary provides a good explanation of the relationship between red clover, isoflavones, and skin appearance:
Estrogens improve skin in many ways. Among these, they increase collagen content, skin thickness and improve skin moisture. There is evidence that diets with high levels of phytoestrogenic isoflavones are associated with a low incidence of menopausal symptoms and osteoporosis. Plant extracts such as red clover, which contain high levels of isoflavones, have been used to reduce menopausal symptoms and have been shown to reduce bone loss in healthy women.
Red clover has traditionally been taken for its ability to decrease the frequency of hormonal hot flashes, an application that is showing some promise in clinical trials. Research on osteoporosis, another condition related to lower estrogen levels, has shown that continued use of red clover extract may also be helpful for improving bone density. Another study found that women who took red clover extract reported “a subject improvement of scalp hair and skin status as well as libido, mood, sleep, and tiredness in postmenopausal women.”
Red clover’s potential effect on heart health is another area of study that has shown some promise. In smaller studies, the use of red clover extract has been linked to the lowering of LDL (bad) cholesterol and an increase in HDL (good) cholesterol, specifically with perimenopausal and postmenopausal women.
How to Make Red Clover Tincture
To make a red clover tincture, you’ll need the following ingredients and equipment:
- Red clover blossoms, either dried or fresh
- Vodka (or any other palatable alcohol that’s at least 80 proof/40 percent — there’s no need to splurge here, I always use Smirnoff because it’s inexpensive and has a neutral taste)**
- One-pint mason jar with lid (amber glass is ideal, but as long as you keep the tincture away from light at all times, it won’t make a difference)
- Fine mesh sieve
- Amber glass tincture bottles (with dropper)
**Never use isopropyl/rubbing alcohol for tinctures (or any other remedy you plan on ingesting). Even in small amounts, this type of alcohol is toxic and meant for external applications only. If you’re avoiding alcohol for any reason, consider making a herbal glycerite instead. Herbal vinegars are also a good choice, and work well with red clover blossoms.
To make the tincture, add fill a jar about 3/4 of the way full with fresh red clover blossoms (or about halfway full with dried flowers). Red clover flowers are very light, so pack them down to make sure they really take up space in the jar (rather than just sit there fluffy).
Cover the red clover with vodka, or whichever alcohol you’ve chosen, and seal the jar with its lid.
Keep the developing tincture in a cool, dark place and give the jar a gentle shake every few days. (If you remember, every day is better, but at least once a week will do.)
After about 4 to 6 weeks, it’s time to decant the tincture.
To do this, you’ll need to line a funnel with a few layers of cheesecloth. Carefully strain the tincture into small amber glass tincture bottles, squeezing the red clover blossoms to make sure all the liquid is expelled.
Once the tincture has been decanted, label the tincture bottles with the date and suggested dosages (I use a small piece of masking tape and a marker, it peels off easily when I’m ready to use the bottle for something else).
For more information on the general process, I’d suggest reading this guide to making herbal tinctures at home.
I know 4-6 weeks can be a long time to wait if you’re desperately needing restful sleep now. There’s nothing wrong with buying a bottle of red clover tincture to use while your homemade tincture infuses. Purchased tinctures are a lot more expensive than DIY homemade ones, but they have the benefit of being ready when you need them, like now.
Red Clover Tincture Dosage
For an exact dosage specific to your body and needs, I’d suggest consulting a clinical herbalist.
Generally, the dosage for red clover tincture is 1 to 2 droppers full, taken 2 to 3 times per day.
Red Clover Formulations
Since red clover is a gentle herb for women’s health, it can be used alone or combined with other complementary herbs.
Good choices include elderflower, linden blossom, lavender, and chamomile.
If you’re interested in the science behind combining herbs to enhance their effectiveness, I’d recommend taking this online course in Mastering Herbal Formulations from the Herbal Academy. It covers the science of blending herbs into homemade formulations in detail.
Red Clover Tincture
Red clover tincture is a natural remedy for symptoms associated with menopause. It's also used to balance female hormones and improve sleep.
- Fresh or dried red clover flowers
- Vodka or other high-proof alcohol (*see notes for making a glycerite tincture)
- Pint mason jar (or any other jar with a tight-fitting lid)
- Dark amber dropper bottles
- Adhesive label or masking tape (for labelling tincture)
- Fill a clean, empty mason jar 3/4 full of fresh red clover flowers or 1/2 full of dried red clover flowers.
- Cover the fresh or dried red clover with alcohol, making sure the contents of the jar are completely covered.
- Screw the lid on tightly and gently shake the contents of the jar. Place in a cool, dry location away from light, allowing the extraction to occur over the next 6 to 8 weeks.
- Give the contents of the jar a gentle shake every couple of days.
- Keep an eye on the alcohol level, adding more alcohol to cover the plant material if needed.
- Once the tincture is ready to be decanted, line a funnel with cheesecloth and place the tip of the funnel into the neck of a dark amber glass bottle. Pour the solvent and the red clover flowers into the cheesecloth-lined funnel, pressing to make sure all of the liquid makes into the bottle.
- Label the tincture with its contents, date of production, recommended dosages, and suggested usages. Store in a cool, dry area away from light.
*To make an alcohol-free glycerite tincture (glycerite): cover dried plant material completely with a preparation of 3 parts glycerin to 1 part distilled water (instead of alcohol). If using fresh red clover, use all glycerine and skip the water. As the glycerite tincture develops, it will need to be shaken every day. Proceed following the same directions as if making an alcohol-based tincture.
Disclaimer on Homemade Herbal Remedies
I’ve been foraging wild medicines and treating my family with herbal remedies for the past 20 years, but I’m self-taught. Be aware that I am not a clinical herbalist, and this is based on my own research and personal experience using medicinal plants. I do not claim to have the experience that’d qualify me to advise you on your health, and I’m only providing this as a reference to encourage a broader interest in medicinal plants.
Please use this as a jumping-off point, but always do your own research and verify anything you read with multiple sources.
It’s always possible to have an adverse reaction to any medicinal herb, and plenty of people are allergic to even gentle herbs like chamomile. Always consult your doctor or a certified herbalist before trying any new medicinal plant. Often, they can have unintended reactions in combination with other herbs and supplements, and many herbs have side effects even when they are effective for their intended purpose.
If you are seriously interested in herbal medicine, I’d suggest investing in a course in herbal medicine, and I’d recommend any of the online courses put out by the Herbal Academy of New England. Specifically, the introduction to herbal medicine course and the family herbalist group of courses.
They also have a mushroom course, covering both medicinal and edible mushrooms, and a Botany and Wildcrafting Course. I’ve taken both and they’re informative, inspiring, and artfully presented.
Interested in making other homemade herbal tinctures?
- Yarrow Tincture
- Chickweed Tincture
- Elderberry Tincture
- Dandelion Tincture
- Burdock Tincture
- Echinacea Tincture
Herbal Medicine Making
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