Scientific Name: Trifolium pretense
Common Name: cow clover, meadow clover, purple clover, beebread, wild clover, daidzein, genistein, clovone and trefoil.
History of Use
Red clover is a legume which grows abundantly in meadows throughout Europe and Asia, as well as North America. This plant is among the wild plants cattle and other animals graze on. Traditionally, the plant has been used by humans internally for asthma, whooping cough, cancer and gout. The plant has also been applied topically to treat skin conditions such as psoriasis, eczema and rashes.
Modern science has established that red clover contains high amounts of clovamide and isoflavones and abundant flavonoids including derivatives from quercetin, formononetin and biochanin A (Tava, Pecio, Stochmal, & Pecetti, 2015). Clovamide is a neuroprotective compound which helps in the prevention of oxidative stress and intracellular calcium overload (Fallarini, et al., 2009). As a plant-based phytoestrogen, isoflavones are among those tagged as promising reagents for cancer chemoprevention and treatment (Hwang & Choi, 2015). However, as a rich source of phytoestrogens, precaution has to be observed in certain estrogen-sensitive forms of cancer. As an abundant source of flavonoids, it has antioxidant activity which has shown to decrease glycation of hemoglobin and may be beneficial on diabetes (Hosseini, Asgary, & Najafi, 2015).
In women, red clover has been proven to be beneficial at the onset of menopause in terms of improving bone health as evidenced in positive effects to bone mineral density, bone mineral content and bone turnover (Thorup, Lambert, Kahr, Bjerre, & Jeppesen, 2015). After the onset of menopause, bone loss starts to occur but is often asymptomatic until the development of fractures and osteoporosis. The study, a 12-week randomized, double-blinded, placebo-controlled trial, was performed involving 60 menopausal women receiving a daily dose of 150 mL red clover extract. During the three-month study, no side effects were observed.
In men, another study was performed to establish the effects of one-year treatment of red clover extract on the prostate, liver and sexual function and quality of life (Engelhardt & Riedl, 2008). Over a year, levels of prostate-specific antigen has reduced significantly and may help reduce the chance of prostate cancer. No effect was observed on sexual function. However, in terms of the effect on the liver, it has shown to increase transaminases.
How to Get your Red Clover On
The herb can be dried and the blossoms can be steeped in hot water for a refreshing healthy tea. Extracts in the form of powders (made available in capsules), and tinctures are also available. Extracts can also be infused in ointments and salves as a topical treatment.
For women, you can get your dose in our red clover formulation specifically designed for women going through premenstrual and postmenopausal symptoms. This product will be available soon. Check out the site from time to time and ask us how you can place an order.
For men, you may get your dose of red clover in a convenient capsule with pure whole herb extract.
To address prostate issues, 1-2 servings at 500mg per dose can be taken by mouth for three months. For menopausal sympoms, 40-160mg have been taken my mouth on studies. For diabetes, 86mg have been used for a period of three months.
Who Should Not Take Red Clover
For those with pre-existing medical conditions, especially hormone-specific conditions, it is still best to consult with your doctor. Red clover may interfere with anticoagulants like aspirin and warfarin. People taking drugs for diabetes or insulin should be monitored closely by a qualified healthcare professional as medication adjustments may be necessary due to red clover’s effect on sugar levels.
Engelhardt, P. F., & Riedl, C. R. (2008, February). Effects of One-Year Treatment with Isoflavone Extract from Red Clover on Prostate, Liver Function, Sexual Function, and Quality of Life in Men with Elevated PSA Levels and Negative Prostate Biopsy Findings. Urology, 71(2), 185-190. Retrieved October 19, 2015, from http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0090429507023011
Fallarini, S., Miglio, G., Paoletti, T., Minassi, A., Amoruso, A., Bardelli, C., . . . Lombardi, G. (2009). Clovamide and rosmarinic acid induce neuroprotective effects in in vitro models of neuronal death. British Journal of Pharmacology, 157(6), 1072-84. doi:http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1476-5381.2009.00213.x
Hosseini, M., Asgary, S., & Najafi, S. (2015, March). Inhibitory potential of pure isoflavonoids, red clover, and alfalfa extracts on hemoglobin glycosylation. ARYA Atherosclerosis, 11(2), 133-8. Retrieved October 19, 2015, from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4568198/
Hwang, K., & Choi, K. (2015, May 21). Anticarcinogenic Effects of Dietary Phytoestrogens and Their Chemopreventive Mechanisms. Nutrition and Cancer, 67(5), 796-803. doi:http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/01635581.2015.1040516
Tava, A., Pecio, L., Stochmal, A., & Pecetti, L. (2015, June). Clovamide and Flavonoids from Leaves of Trifolium pratense and T. pratense subsp. nivale Grown in Italy. Natural Product Communications, 10(6), 933-6. Retrieved October 19, 2015, from http://europepmc.org/abstract/med/26197520
Thorup, A. C., Lambert, M. N., Kahr, H. S., Bjerre, M., & Jeppesen, P. B. (2015). Intake of Novel Red Clover Supplementation for 12 Weeks Improves Bone Status in Healthy Menopausal Women. Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine, 2015. doi:http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2015/689138