Journal Entry: The presence of red clover is inexplicably aiding me | Written by Amy-Jane Beer
It all occurred suddenly, causing me to question my sanity. I failed to attend a meeting, then another. I repeatedly went upstairs to do laundry, but returned empty-handed. The name of the RSPB escaped my mind, as did the date of my son’s birth that was supposed to be memorable. The most concerning issue was that my ability to recall words began to decline. I scheduled a GP appointment but ended up forgetting it. On the third try, I struggled to answer basic questions and even forgot the term for “fertility.”
“Yes, that. Jeez.”
The individual provided reassurance and discussed the options for hormone replacement therapy (HRT). While this treatment can have a significant impact on the lives of some women, I began to feel uneasy as I considered the different types of estrogen patches and gels. Hormones and hormone-like substances can have disruptive effects on the body, even causing female marine snails to develop male reproductive organs and feminizing male fish in aquatic environments. Although sewage treatment can remove estrogen from wastewater, it is concerning that the water industry has not taken proper precautions. Additionally, I personally enjoy swimming in natural bodies of water, which has a nearly miraculous effect on my overall well-being and that of many other older women. I couldn’t help but wonder how many of us are unknowingly exposed to hormone gels while swimming. Sometimes, it all feels too complicated to navigate.
My friend Maria, who is a forager and herbalist, shared with me that red clover flowers contain phytoestrogens and nettle seeds are beneficial for hair and skin. These plants are readily available in our local area, with clover being purposely planted to improve soil quality. The plant also has special nodes on its roots that house bacteria capable of converting atmospheric nitrogen into nitrate at a remarkable rate of 250kg per hectare per year. This natural process greatly reduces the demand for synthetic fertilizers, which is beneficial for farmers as the cost continues to rise.
I began incorporating clover tea and nettle porridge into my daily routine. My knowledge in biology prompted me to do further research. I discovered that the hormone-balancing properties of red clover have not yet been proven scientifically, but are comparable to a placebo. However, a strong placebo effect can still have an impact. And if it is helpful, which it seems to be after a month, does it really matter? My motivation comes from the natural environment around me; the idea that it could also inspire me to articulate my thoughts freely is incredibly appealing.