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Red Clover: Health Benefits, Side Effects And How To Consume

Red clover (Trifolium pratense L.) is a flowering plant that belongs to the legume family (Fabaceae) and over the past few decades, it is being used as herbal medicine to treat a range of health conditions like skin disorders, heart-related problems, respiratory infections and so on. In this article, we will inform you of the health benefits of red clover and how you can use it to reap its benefits.

Red clover is an excellent source of isoflavones, a type of phytoestrogen that mimics the effects of natural oestrogen in the body. It is known to have potent health benefits against osteoporosis, cardiovascular diseases, menopausal symptoms, etc.

The red clover plant produces reddish-pink flowers that possess many nutrients including magnesium, calcium, niacin, phosphorus, chromium, thiamine, potassium, and vitamin C.

Health Benefits Of Red Clover

1. Lowers menopausal symptoms

When women reach menopause, oestrogen levels fall and the isoflavones present in red clover are known to have a positive effect in reducing the menopausal symptoms. According to a study in Gynecological Endocrinology, red clover supplements can help decrease menopausal symptoms and lower triglyceride levels [1] .

Another study published in Phytotherapy Research showed that red clover reduces skin ageing by increasing collagen levels [2] .

2. Prevents cancer

Red clover may help lower prostate cancer risk according to a study. In the study, scientists found that red clover has the ability to decrease prostate-specific antigen (PSA), a protein found in high amounts in men with prostate cancer [3] .

3. Improves heart health

One of the health benefits of red clover is that it prevents heart disease, thanks to isoflavones. According to a study published in the Climacteric: the Journal of the International Menopause Society, red clover has the potent ability to reduce triglycerides and increase good cholesterol in peri-menopausal women [4] , [5] .

4. Improves bone density

Osteoporosis is the most common problem in menopausal women who are at a greater risk for bone loss and fractures. As per a study review done in 2016, isoflavones present in red clover can significantly improve bone health in post-menopausal women [6] .

Another study showed that the high levels of isoflavones in red clover improve bone turnover, femoral weight, femoral density, bone mineral content, mechanical strength of the tibia and prevents the rise of serum alkaline phosphate levels [7] .

5. Fights respiratory infections

Red clover has been known for preventing and treating respiratory conditions such as cold, asthma, whooping cough and bronchitis. The plant can ease discomfort caused by the accumulation of phlegm and it can help flush out extra mucus from the respiratory system.

6. Treats skin disorders

The isoflavones in red clover are effective in slowing down skin ageing. It also reduces skin conditions like eczema, psoriasis and other inflammatory skin problems. The effectiveness of isoflavones is so much that it can help boost collagen production, skin thickness and skin moisture [2] .

Possible Side Effects Of Red Clover

Women who are pregnant or breastfeeding should avoid red clover as the isoflavones in it mimic oestrogen and therefore, it might disrupt the normal hormone balances in women during pregnancy or when breastfeeding.

How To Consume

Red clover is found in capsules or standardized extract form, however, you can use the flowers to make red clover tea.

Red clover tea recipe

  • In a pan of boiling water, add 1-3 teaspoons of dried red clover flowers.
  • Allow it to steep for 15 minutes.
  • Drink it warm.
View Article References
  1. [1] Hidalgo, L. A., Chedraui, P. A., Morocho, N., Ross, S., & San Miguel, G. (2005). 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,21(5), 257-264.
  2. [2] Circosta, C., Pasquale, R. D., Palumbo, D. R., Samperi, S., & Occhiuto, F. (2006). Effects of isoflavones from red clover (Trifolium pratense) on skin changes induced by ovariectomy in rats.Phytotherapy Research: An International Journal Devoted to Pharmacological and Toxicological Evaluation of Natural Product Derivatives,20(12), 1096-1099.
  3. [3] Gray, N. E., Liu, X., Choi, R., Blackman, M. R., & Arnold, J. T. (2009). Endocrine-immune-paracrine interactions in prostate cells as targeted by phytomedicines.Cancer Prevention Research,2(2), 134-142.
  4. [4] Atkinson, C., Oosthuizen, W., Scollen, S., Loktionov, A., Day, N. E., & Bingham, S. A. (2004). Modest protective effects of isoflavones from a red clover-derived dietary supplement on cardiovascular disease risk factors in perimenopausal women, and evidence of an interaction with ApoE genotype in 49–65 year-old women.The journal of nutrition,134(7), 1759-1764.
  5. [5] Geller, S. E., & Studee, L. (2006). Soy and red clover for mid-life and aging.Climacteric : the journal of the International Menopause Society,9(4), 245–263.
  6. [6] Abdi, F., Alimoradi, Z., Haqi, P., & Mahdizad, F. (2016). Effects of phytoestrogens on bone mineral density during the menopause transition: a systematic review of randomized, controlled trials.Climacteric,19(6), 535-545.
  7. [7] Occhiuto, F., Pasquale, R. D., Guglielmo, G., Palumbo, D. R., Zangla, G., Samperi, S., ... & Circosta, C. (2007). Effects of phytoestrogenic isoflavones from red clover (Trifolium pratense L.) on experimental osteoporosis.Phytotherapy Research: An International Journal Devoted to Pharmacological and Toxicological Evaluation of Natural Product Derivatives,21(2), 130-134.
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