Red Clover is an abundant perennial plant planted and grown worldwide. It is the state flower of Vermont and the national flower of Denmark. Its desirable properties include use as livestock dietary supplement, a green manure to replenish nitrogen in fallow fields, as a flavor supplement to herbal teas and its use in herbal medicine.
The bioactive portion of the plant is derived from the flower. Red clover blossoms contain chemical compounds called isoflavones. In the body these are converted into hormonally active phytoestrogens, estrogen like molecules that have a variety of potential actions in humans.
Red Clover Benefits for Women
There are many purported benefits of Red Clover in women. It is used as a supplement to help hormonally related symptoms from fluctuating estrogen levels including menopausal syndrome and pre-menstrual syndrome. Many women report relief from the breast tenderness associated with menstrual cycle and pregnancy. In a large, controlled study the component promensil in Red Clover showed a reduction in the hot flashes associated with menopause.
Red Clover appears to enhance the chances of conception by influencing the pH of the vagina. This shift in the acid-alkaline environment can provide a more conducive medium for pregnancy to occur. Consider the usual diet of rabbits.
In natural medicine practices, Red Clover has been historically used to restore irregular menstruation. It may help in polycystic ovary disease and other causes of primary amenorrhea. In modern medicine the synthetic hormones used to treat these conditions are chemically related.
In large quantities, Red Clover can inhibit pregnancy. Traditional medical practitioners have used it for centuries as an adjunctive treatment in contraception. It is thought that a diet high in Red Clover is in part responsible for the reproductive failure of certain zoo animals and has been shown to cause sterility in farm animals.
The hormonal effects of this plant have been used in men to improve the symptoms of BPH, benign prostatic hypertrophy. It has been shown to decrease the frequency of nighttime urination. It has not been demonstrated to have an effect on the PSA (Prostatic Specific Antigen), a screening test for prostate cancer.
All hormone compounds have powerful anti-inflammatory properties. For this reason Red Clover has been used for a variety of conditions including asthma, bronchitis, whooping cough, psoriasis, skin sores and eczema as well as other inflammatory and autoimmune conditions.
Many believe that Red Clover has cancer preventing properties orally and is used topically on skin cancers. It has been recommended to lower lipids and may positively shift the balance between “good” and “bad” cholesterol. Red clover is also a common ingredient in the 8-herb essiac tea formulations.
Traditional medicine has used Red Clover since ancient times to treat a variety of medical conditions. Modern science has now identified the beneficial chemistry that provides the effects. Because it can thin the blood it should be used with caution in people on anti-coagulants and in those with certain estrogen sensitive cancers. Red clover is a gift from Nature to maintain health and wellness.