four leaf clover

Four leaf clover

Four leaf clover, Marsilea quadrifolia, is a herbaceous perennial fern used as a leafy green with medicinal properties in some parts of Asia. It looks just like a 4-leaf clover. I don’t know if it brings luck but in has been shown in clinical studies to have anti depressive and mood enhancing properties.

FAMILY

Marsileaceae

OTHER NAMES

European water clover (USA), water Shamrock (UK), marsilea, sushni (India)

PARTS USED

Leaves

HABITAT

Four leaf clover is found eastwards from central and southern Europe to Japan. It has been naturalized in the northeastern part of the USA.

BOTANICAL DESCRIPTION

Height: 20 cm (8 inches)
Width: 40 cm (16 inches) with a spreading habit
Leaves: divided in four, resembling 4-leaf clover, green, erect, hairless (glabrous), closing at night
Root: Creeping rhizomes

CULTIVATION

Four leaf clover has a high water requirement and can grow fully submerged in a pond or aquarium, semi submerged in the shallow edges of a pond, and in a pot with wet soil.

Hardiness: Zone 5 (UK)
Propagation: Spores. The plant produces sporocarps which, when soaked in water, swell and burst to release the spores.
Germination: The spores germinate immediately after being released from the sporocarps. The first roots and shoot appear in 2-3 days.
Spacing: 40 cm (16 inches)
Soil: Sandy or loamy, permanently moist or wet. It can grow in water.
pH: Acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils
Exposure: Shade, partial shade (light woodland). Full sun if the soil is consistently moist or wet.
Garden Design: Four leaf clover is an excellent addition to a pond or bog garden.

DRYING

Use it fresh as a vegetable

CONSTITUENTS

Steroids, saponins, alkaloids and other polyphenols. Total alkaloid, phenolic and saponin contents were found to be 19.3 mg g⁻¹ and 158.5 ± 1.02 mg g⁻¹ as gallic acid equivalents and 2.63 mg g⁻¹ of the extract, respectively. (Source)

PROPERTIES

Anticonvulsant, anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, cooling, depurative, diuretic, febrifuge,

ENERGETICS

cooling

TASTE

Sweet, slightly bitter

SCENT

Herbaceous, fresh

MEDICINAL USE OF FOUR LEAF CLOVER

In Indian folk’s medicine, four leaf clover is known as sushni and has been used traditionally as sedative and antiepileptic drug in India where it is also used for insomnia and other mental disturbances.

Studies have shown that four leaf clove may be useful in the management of Alzheimer’s disease.

Used internally for:

CULINARY USE

Four leaf clover is known in Bangladesh and West Bengal as sushni. It’s sold in vegetable markets as a leafy vegetable as it is cheaper there than prescription medications. It’s cooked and made into a paste and eaten like chutney. It is also eaten raw in salads or prepared as spinach.

SIDE EFFECTS

None known

CONTRA-INDICATIONS

None known

four leaf clover

References
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21978132

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