Principal Proposed Uses
Red clover has been cultivated since ancient times, primarily to provide a favorite grazing food for animals. But, like many other herbs, red clover was also a valued medicine. Although it has been used for many purposes worldwide, the one condition most consistently associated with red clover is cancer. Chinese physicians and Russian folk healers also used it to treat respiratory problems.
In the nineteenth century, red clover became popular among herbalists as an "alternative" or "blood purifier." This medical term, long since defunct, refers to an ancient belief that toxins in the blood are the root cause of many illnesses. Cancer, eczema, and the eruptions of venereal disease were all seen as manifestations of toxic buildup.
Red clover was considered one of the best herbs to "purify" the blood. For this reason, it is included in many of the famous treatments for cancer, including Jason Winter's cancer-cure tea.
Recently, special red clover extracts high in substances called isoflavones have arrived on the market. These isoflavones produce effects in the body somewhat similar to those of estrogen, and for this reason they are called phytoestrogens ("phyto" indicates a plant source). The major isoflavones in red clover include genistein and daidzen, also found in soy, as well as formononetin and biochanin.
What Is Red Clover Used for Today?
What is the Scientific Evidence for Red Clover
Menopausal Hot Flashes
A typical dosage of red clover extract provides 40 to 160 mg of isoflavones daily. In the positive study described above, 80 mg daily were sufficient to reduce menopausal hot flashes.
Red clover is on the Food and Drug Administration's Generally Recognized as Safe (GRAS) list and is included in many beverage teas. However, detailed safety studies have not been performed.
Based on their constituents, red clover extracts may conceivably interfere with hormone treatments and anticoagulant drugs (see the next section for specific drugs).
For other potential risks due to the isoflavones in red clover (especially in concentrated isoflavone-rich extracts of red clover), see the full article on Isoflavones .
Interactions You Should Know About
- Reviewer: EBSCO CAM Review Board
- Review Date: 07/2012 -
- Update Date: 07/25/2012 -