The blossoms of Trifolium pratense, Linné.
Botanical Source.—Red clover is a biennial plant with several stems arising from the same root, ascending, somewhat hairy, and varying much in its height. The leaves are ternate; the leaflets oval or obovate, entire, nearly smooth, often notched at the end, and lighter colored in the center. Stipules ovate and mucronate. Flowers red, fragrant, in short, dense, ovate, sessile spikes or heads. Corollas unequal, monopetalous; lower tooth of the calyx longer than the four others, which are equal, and all shorter than the rose-red corolla (W.—G.).
History.—This plant is common to the United States, being extensively cultivated in grass lands, with herds-grass (Phleum pratense) and other grasses, and often alone; it flowers throughout the summer. The blossoms or flowers are the parts used. A strong decoction is made of them, which is evaporated to the consistence of an extract. A tincture is also prepared. Frederick Graser obtained from the flower-heads two resins, fat, chlorophyll, tannin, ash (7 ½ per cent), etc. The ether-soluble resin dissolves green in ammonia, and yellow in potassa (Amer. Jour. Pharm., 1883, p. 194).
Action, Medical Uses, and Dosage.—Red clover is an excellent alterative, and one of the few remedies which favorably influences pertussis. In earlier editions of this work it was stated that "a strong infusion of the plant is said to afford prompt relief in whooping-cough, suspending the spasmodic cough entirely in 2 or 3 days; it is to be given in ½ fluid ounce, every 1 or 2 hours, throughout the day." Since then the remedy has come into extensive use, but the statement should be modified, as it does not reach all classes of cases. When the proper case is found it acts promptly, but as yet the specific indications in this complaint have not been discovered. It is also a remedy in other spasmodic coughs, as those of measles, bronchitis, laryngitis, phthisis, etc. It is an excellent internal agent for those individuals disposed to tibial and other forms of ulcers, and it unquestionably retards the growth of carcinomata, and may be freely administered to those of a cancerous diathesis. The extract, spread on linen or soft leather, has long been said to be an excellent remedy for cancerous ulcers. This assertion, however, has not been so well verified as its action in retarding the growths when administered internally for a prolonged period. It is also highly recommended in ill-conditioned ulcers of every kind, and deep, ragged-edged, and otherwise badly-conditioned burns. It possesses a peculiar soothing property, proves an efficient detergent, and promotes a healthful granulation. The infusion (℥i to water Oj) may be used freely; a strong tincture may be prepared from the recently dried flowers (℥viii) in 50 per cent alcohol (Oj) The dose of this will range from 1 to 60 drops; specific trifolium, 1 to 60 drops.
Specific Indications and Uses.—Some forms of whooping-cough; irritation of the laryngo-pulmonic passages; provoking spasmodic cough; cough of measles; cancerous diathesis.
Pharmaceutical Preparation of Clover.—EXTRACT OF TRIFOLIUM COMPOUND. This preparation is a specialty of the Wm. S. Merrell Chemical Co., of Cincinnati, Ohio. It is a combination of the alterative, tonic, and eliminative properties of the recently expressed juices or extracts from fresh or green plants with potassium iodide. The compound contains the extracts of Trifolium pratense, Stillingia sylvatica, Lappa minor, Phytolacca decandra, Cascara amarga, Berberis aquifolium, Podophyllum peltatum, tincture of Xanthoxylum carolinianum and potassium iodide. It is designed for administration in syphilis, scrofula, chronic rheumatism, glandular and various skin affections.
King's American Dispensatory, 1898, was written by Harvey Wickes Felter, M.D., and John Uri Lloyd, Phr. M., Ph. D.