In folk medicine of different countries using red clover for treating many diseases. Red clover has been used in Russian and Chinese traditional medicine to treat respiratory disorders. Traditional Medicinal American professionals recommended red clover for treating pertussis and cancer. Some naturopathy experts also recommended red clover to treat psoriasis and for wound healing. Experts also assumed that the phytoestrogen present in red clover has a therapeutic benefit on bone metabolism, reduce lipid levels in blood plasma and lessen the scope of arterial complication.
Clover has almost 300 different species of Trifolium. This herb belongs to Fabaceae or Leguminosae family. Among them, Trifolium pratense is a commonly used species. It is locally named as red clover has great medicinal benefits. This can be a useful ingredient in a dietary supplement. European countries are the native place of red clover. Red clover has grown in East to south Spain, Norway, Britain, and West Asia. Red clover is also widely found all over the United States. Red clover is an important food crop of the northeastern United States and uses as legumes.
Clover contains more than 125 phytochemicals. Among these, isoflavones are phytoestrogens are two primary phytochemicals present in clover. Biochanin A, daidzein, formononetin, and genistein are four isoflavone components, which have significant health benefits. However, all the phytochemicals present in clover have bioactive property.
Red clover has estrogenic property. It acts as both estradiol receptor agonist and antagonist due to a varying degree of affinity towards estradiol receptors. Red clover potentially binds with the estradiol-β receptor, which is present in the brain, heart, blood vessels and bone, whereas it opposes the functioning of estradiol-α receptor present in adrenal glands, breasts, ovaries, and uterus. The estrogenic activity of red clover achieves by up-regulating the activity progesterone receptor and also inducing the activity of alkaline phosphatase.
Red clover also has anti-proliferative property. The bioactive composition of red clover inhibits the activity of both DNA topoisomerase and tyrosine kinase. Cytotoxicity activity of red clover also provides anti-proliferative activity. Phytochemicals like Genistein and Daidzein of red clover have antioxidant properties as they scavenge free radicals.
Red clover flowers and flower heads usually added in herbal preparations. These plant parts have collected during summer and shade drying to formulate different formulations like herbal tea, tinctures, and capsule. In some formulations, flower extract is used to formulate the products.
Red clover extract
This is used to regulate blood pressure and having effective blood thinning property.
Red clover tea
Red clover tea alone or in combination with other herb have great blood cleansing property. The flavor of the tea is pleasant and acts as an antioxidant and anti-inflammatory agent.
Red clover tincture
Red clover tincture is commercially available to obtain this herbal benefit. The recommended dosing of this herb is one teaspoon twice or thrice a day.
Red clover compress
The strong herbal tea when soaked in a cotton cloth, then red clover compress formed and use for different therapeutic purposes.
Red clover poultices
In the traditional medicinal system, Red clover poultices applied externally at the site of cancer to heal the ailments.
Red clover seeds
Sprouted form of red clover seeds widely used.
Isoflavones of red clover can reduce menopausal symptoms like hot flushes. Small scale clinical trials also showed the possibility of benefits of red clover supplements for menopausal women. However, no definite benefit was identified may due to the small scale and short duration study conduction.
Red clovers are used as complementary medicine for hormone replacement therapy. The isoflavones derived from red clover is used as an alternative treatment to rectify the hormonal imbalance. Research result portrayed that estrogen-like benefits observed from isoflavones. It reduces the risk of cardiovascular diseases, helps in normalizing the lipid profile, and provides positive vascular benefits in menopausal women.
It is assumed that red clover can also prevent osteoporosis by regulating bone metabolism as it contains isoflavones. Multiple evidential research studies had conducted to check the benefits of soy isoflavones and obtained positive result. A small-scale clinical trial conducted on menopausal women reported that isoflavones derived from red clover could improve bone mineral density and may prevent osteoporosis. However, there are limited studies conducted on red clover.
Isoflavones present in red clover have estrogenic activity. Estrogen improves blood lipid profile by decreasing LDL level and increasing HDL level. Therefore, isoflavones present in red clover can effectively treat hypercholesterolemia.
This is a common male genital organ ailment that occurs due to the enlargement prostate gland. Benign Prostatic Hypertrophy possesses many symptoms such as frequency of urination at night, enhance urine flow. Red clover treatment is useful to reduce these symptoms and improve the overall quality of life of the patients. This beneficial outcome may occur due to the reduction of the prostate gland and modulation of prostate-specific antigen value. However, detail knowledge of these aspects still undetermined.
Isoflavones derived from red clover have many anticancer activities including suppressing cellular proliferation, the partial antagonistic effect on estradiol receptors, suppressing angiogenesis and inhibiting angiogenesis, etc. All these activities may effective to prevent cancer progression. Research studies conducted to check the anticancer activity against human prostate cancer and breast cancer cell line.
Red clover expels out excess mucus from the respiratory tract due to its expectorant property. It also acts as an antispasmodic. These properties help to reduce cold and cough and effective to provide symptomatic relief from asthma and whooping cough.
Red clover containing herbal ointment can treat various skin problems such as acne, eczema, psoriasis, and rashes. Usually, red clover is combined with other herbs in the formulation to give effective results against different skin conditions. For example, a combination with Achilles millefolium (commonly known as yarrow), red clover acts as an astringent ad effective to treat skin itching occurs due to insect bites and stings.
Red clover is generally safe and well-tolerated product. But theoretically, the presence of isoflavone present in red clover may increase the risk of breast tenderness and weight gain. It has also assumed that isoflavone can also increase the risk of breast cancer. But clinical research showed that isoflavone intake could limit the risk of breast cancer. Theoretically phytoestrogen present in red clover may cause genitourinary complications, like alteration of the menstrual cycle, endometrial hyperplasia and also increase the risk of uterine cancer. But the test result had not proven such side effects.
Research experts stated that long-term red clover product consumption does not cause any serious adverse effects. However, some precautionary measures need to follow, such as