Red clover (Trifolium pratense) is a wild flowering plant belonging to the same family as peas and beans.
It’s widely used in traditional medicine as a remedy for menopause symptoms, asthma, whooping cough, arthritis, and even cancer.
However, health experts are wary of its purported benefits due to a lack of scientific evidence.
This article reviews red clover, its potential benefits, downsides, and uses
The flowering portion of red clover is used decoratively as an edible garnish or extract, and it can be extracted into essential oils (2Trusted Source).
Finally, it’s widely used as a traditional medicine to treat osteoporosis, heart disease, arthritis, skin disorders, cancer, respiratory problems like asthma, and women’s health issues, such as menstrual and menopausal symptoms.
Red clover (Red clover) belongs to the legume family, also known as red clover, matures up to one meter high, and the corolla is reddish purple. Because of its rapid growth characteristics, red clover is often used for forage feed or soil fertilizer in the early stage.
For hundreds of years, red clover has been considered by traditional herbal medicine to purify blood. It is often used to treat skin-related diseases, improve circulation, and help liver detoxification.
Until recent years, red clover was found to contain Isoflavones (the highest content in leaves and roots, not generally believed to be flowers) Note 10, which can produce estrogen-like effects in the human body, so it has been widely used to improve women’s menopausal hormonal imbalance. Symptoms (such as hot flashes, emotional instability, etc.) are currently the most established health care value
What are the recommended empirical effects of red clover?
Reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease
Cardiovascular disease is often described as a silent killer, and there is usually no obvious sign of exacerbation. Diseases such as stroke or myocardial infarction are mainly caused not by the deterioration of organ function, but by the aging of blood vessels
The main factors that cause vascular aging are high blood pressure, high blood sugar and abnormal low-density cholesterol. If these indexes are too high (representing turbid blood and tighter blood vessels), blood vessels should be maintained early to prevent regrets.
A study of menopausal women found that red clover has the effect of improving arterial compliance (arterial compliance, refers to the elasticity of arterial blood vessels) by up to 23% (dose is about 40-80mg for 5 weeks), but due to the sample The number is small and still needs further verification Note 1
In addition, another double-blind controlled study also found (for 80 men and women with normal blood pressure) that the isoflavones in red clover can reduce arterial stiffness and improve vascular resistance (but have no effect on blood pressure). 2
Lower blood lipids (triglycerides and cholesterol)
Blood lipid refers to the fat in the blood, which is the general term for cholesterol and triglycerides, and the high blood lipid that is often heard in the health check is one of the indexes exceeding the normal value
Mild hyperemia is usually asymptomatic, but continuous accumulation may cause symptoms such as dizziness, numbness, chest tightness, and palpitations, and cause vascular disease and obstruction, leading to severe myocardial infarction or stroke
A 12-week study of 252 menopausal women found that red clover extract (isoflavones) can reduce triglycerides by 9.7% (only for those with high blood lipids), but has no obvious effect on the cholesterol index. Note 3
Improve osteoporosis (no obvious effect)
Osteoporosis is the most common disease in the elderly. As long as they are old enough, they will almost always encounter it. The long-term decrease in bone density results in fractures. It is estimated that one in two women in the United States has experienced osteoporosis. Fractures (the lumbar vertebrae, hip bones, and wrists are the most common), causing patients to stay in bed for a long time, greatly reducing the quality of life
Improve menopausal symptoms
Menopause is a period in which women’s ovarian function gradually declines around the age of 50. The most obvious feature is the transition from a normal menstrual cycle to complete menopause.
As the hormones secreted by the ovaries begin to decline, it often causes autonomic nervous system disorders, causing a series of uncomfortable symptoms (such as palpitations, hot flashes, night sweats, emotional instability, etc.)
An early controlled study of hundreds of menopausal women found that taking Red Clover Extract (brand name Promensil) did not significantly improve hot flushes and other menopausal symptoms. 6
However, a recent controlled study pointed out that taking red clover extract (80 mg daily for 90 days) can reduce the Kupperman Index (menopausal evaluation index) of subjects by 75.4%. In addition, it is aimed at hot flashes and nighttime Night sweats can be improved up to 70% Note 5
Another use of red clover (brand name Promensil) was also found to improve 33% of hot flash symptoms within 3 weeks, and reduce the Greene Climacteric Scale by 12.8%. Note 7
Based on the above research, the conclusions of red clover for improving menopausal discomfort are still inconsistent, and it is impossible to determine whether there is a significant effect
Improve emotional problems during menopause
Due to the significant increase in human life span, about 40% of women’s lives start after menopause, but this period is the time when hormones fluctuate greatly and problems are most likely to occur.
Whether it is physical or psychological, symptoms may occur during menopause. Among them, psychological and emotional problems are the most important, which makes it easy to become depressed, angry, restless, etc. There are also many clinical cases with depression
A study investigating mood disorders in menopause found that red clover extract (80 mg per day for 90 days) can reduce the subjects’ anxiety and depression index by up to 76% (using the Hospital Anxiety Scale (Hospital Anxiety) and Depression Scale) and Chong’s Depression Scale (Zung Self-Rating Depression Scal) Note 8
Another study also pointed out that taking red clover can improve the self-evaluated emotional state of subjects (using the visual analogue scale VAS rating scale, the improvement range can reach 66-68 points, compared with 8-15 points in the placebo group ) Note 9
Improve skin texture, hair and nail condition
As the skin ages, due to the decrease in water content, collagen and lipids, in addition to a few more wrinkles, the appearance and texture of the skin will gradually change, becoming drier, thinner and losing elasticity.
A double-blind controlled study pointed out that oral red clover can improve the overall skin condition (including moisture content and texture) of menopausal women. The overall improvement score is about 18 points, which is only 5 points (out of 100) compared with placebo. , Other parts of the experiment also mentioned that it has a certain degree of improvement for hair and nails. Note 9
Are there any side effects of Red Clover?
According to the US Food and Drug Administration FDA, red clover is generally recognized as a safe food (Generally Recognized as Safe), but the safety of long-term use is still unknown. Possible side effects include headache, nausea, skin rash, etc.
Because the isoflavones in red clover have estrogenic activity effects, it is not recommended for pregnant women, breastfeeding women, patients who have had breast cancer, endometrial cancer, etc., and there may be safety concerns
Matters needing attention (taboo)
Some people who contain coumarin (have an anticoagulant effect), suffer from coagulation disorders, take anticoagulants, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, and those who have taken several weeks before surgery may cause bleeding.
Do not use it in combination with hormone replacement therapy and oral contraceptives, which may interfere with the effects of drugs
Do not use for infants and those with liver and kidney dysfunction (due to unknown safety)