If I asked anyone who isn’t an herbalist or botanist to draw a clover, they would draw the plant in the center of this picture. But it isn’t a clover at all. It’s Wood Sorrel (Oxalis sticta), which isn’t even in the same family as clover. Oxalis is in the Oxalidaceae family, while clover is in the Fabaceae (legume, pea, bean) family.
If you remember back a few days, Red Clover is Trifolium pratense. It has a long oblong leaf with a white-ish “V”. The other common clover is Trifolium repens, the White Clover, which has rounder leaves with a crescent or “U” shaped white area. If you look to the bottom right of the picture, there are Red Clover leaves next to the wood sorrel.
Wood Sorrel is an edible plant with a wonderful lemon-like taste. On one of our walks, I joked to my husband that he could make a whole dessert of Red Clover Flowers, Wood Sorrel Leaves and Red Raspberries. Thankfully my husband appreciates my herbal ways and doesn’t hesitate when I shove a new plant into his face and say “Eat this!”
While on an herb walk in Transylvania County, North Carolina, another herbalist shared that this plant, with it’s 3 heart shaped leaves of 6 lobes, represents the 6 directions to the Native Americans: North, South, East, West, Heaven and Earth.
The wonderful lemony taste I described above is due to the oxalic acid content of the leaves, otherwise known as oxalates. Too much of these leaves could cause some kidney stones, but a moderate amount is a great diuretic, can be used in febrile diseases, chronic catarrh (mucus), urinary afflictions, and even scurvy. Externally, the mashed leaves can be applied to infected, malignant and non-healing ulcers.
Jen Williamson, ND is a native of Buffalo, New York who earned her Bachelor of Science at Gannon University in Erie, Pennsylvania and a Doctorate of Naturopathic Medicine from Southwest College of Naturopathic Medicine in Tempe, Arizona. While in medical school, she became very involved in the student community, most notably as the President of the Student Government Association. For her service, upon graduation she was given the Outstanding Leadership Award.
In the spirit of Docere, the Naturopathic principle of the doctor’s role as teacher, Dr. Williamson was an adjunct professor in the Complementary and Alternative Therapies program at Daemen College. She has had articles in a variety of publications, includingNaturopathic Doctor News and Review, SheKnows.com, local Buffalo magazines and papers, as well as her own newsletter, blog and website. While practicing in Buffalo, she also offered over 30 different classes to the public at various events and locations.
In 2012, Dr. Williamson moved to Vermont to expand her practice of Naturopathic Medicine as well as provide an atmosphere that resonates with her medicine for her son, Victor, and husband, David. As a Primary Care Physician at Avalon Natural Medicine, Dr. Williamson focuses on mental/emotional, gastrointestinal, and endocrine disorders. Most of her treatment plans include a combination of nutritional, herbal and homeopathic remedies, but she has also received additional training in Hair Trace Mineral Analysis and Bowel Nosodes.