Red Clover (Trifolium pratense)

Traditional Indications

Red clover is an alterative, antiscrophulatic, antispasmodic, aperient, detergent, diuretic, expectorant, sedative and tonic. Red clover is safe and effective herb with a long history of medicinal usage. It is commonly used to treat skin conditions. It is a folk remedy for cancer of the breast, a concentrated decoction being applied to the site of the tumour in order to encourage it to grow outwards and clear the body. It has also shown anti-cancer activity, poultices of the herb have been used as local applications to cancerous growths, Flavonoids in the flowers and leaves are oestrogenic and benefit menopausal complaints. Red clover is used in the treatment of skin complaints (especially eczema and psoriasis), chronic degenerative diseases, gout, whooping cough and dry coughs. (1)

In Traditional Chinese Medicine Red Clover is known as Mu or Hsun tsao. Mu enters the Lung, Kidney and Bladder channels to cleanse the Blood, clear Heat, remove Toxins, reduce inflammation, relieve pain, nourish the Blood and tonify Yin. (2)

Pharmacognosy

Active constituents include isoflavones, flavonoids, pterocarpans, coumarins, tyramine. Daidzein, genistein, formononetin, biochanin A, coumestrol, and naringenin are estrogenic. (3)

A randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled study concluded that compared with placebo, red clover isoflavone supplementation in postmenopausal women significantly decreased menopausal symptoms and had a positive effect on vaginal cytology and triglyceride levels (4)

Red clover extract supplementation exerted a subject improvement of scalp hair and skin status as well as libido, mood, sleep, and tiredness in postmenopausal women. (5)

A systematic review into soy, red clover, and isoflavones and breast cancer concluded that Soy consumption may be associated with reduced risk of breast cancer incidence, recurrence, and mortality and that soy does not have estrogenic effects in humans and there is no evidence of harm in relation to red clover isoflavones. (6) Red clover isoflavones are safe and well tolerated in women with a family history of breast cancer. (7)

 

1. PFAF. Trifolium pratense. 2019.
2. Healing WRIo. Clover (Mu) 2019 [
3. Booth NL, Overk CR, Yao P, Burdette JE, Nikolic D, Chen S-N, et al. The Chemical and Biologic Profile of a Red Clover (Trifolium pratense L.) Phase II Clinical Extract. 2006;12(2):133-9.
4. Hidalgo LA, Chedraui PA, Morocho N, Ross S, San Miguel G. The effect of red clover isoflavones on menopausal symptoms, lipids and vaginal cytology in menopausal women: A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study. Gynecological Endocrinology. 2005;21(5):257-64.
5. Lipovac M, Chedraui P, Gruenhut C, Gocan A, Kurz C, Neuber B, et al. Effect of Red Clover Isoflavones over Skin, Appendages, and Mucosal Status in Postmenopausal Women. Obstetrics and gynecology international. 2011;2011:949302-.
6. Fritz H, Seely D, Flower G, Skidmore B, Fernandes R, Vadeboncoeur S, et al. Soy, red clover, and isoflavones and breast cancer: a systematic review. PloS one. 2013;8(11):e81968-e.
7. Powles TJ, Howell A, Evans DG, McCloskey EV, Ashley S, Greenhalgh R, et al. Red clover isoflavones are safe and well tolerated in women with a family history of breast cancer. Menopause international. 2008;14(1):6-12.