LATIN NAME: Trifolium pretense
ORIGIN: native to Europe, Western Asia and northwest Africa
COMMON NAMES: beebread, cow clover, meadow clover, purple clover, trefoil, wild clover
DISTRIBUTION AREA: widely cultivated as a forage plant across the world
HABITAT: It grows on medium-moist meadows, forest glades, along fields and roads
BOTANICAL INFORMATION: Red clover is a biennial, but more often a perennial herbaceous plant. Its stems are branched. It is easy to be distinguished, if you pay attention to the herb of 15-55 cm tall, blooming with irregularly shaped flowers, similar to small purple-red balls. Clovers have three-syllable bright green leaves that close at night, and in the morning unfold again. This bee-plant attracts bees, bumblebees and other insects thanks to a large amount of nectar and a delicious floral smell.
The medicinal properties of the plant are determined by its chemical composition. Since red clover is used in medicine in many countries, today it is well studied. According to the results of the studies the following useful components were found in its composition:
- essential oil: oil removes inflammation and pain, eliminates nervous overexertion, eliminates parasites, viruses and bacteria;
- flavonoids: produce bactericidal, cardiotonic, anti-radiation, antispasmodic and antitumour effects;
- glycosides: positively affect the functioning of the cardiovascular system;
- fatty oils: ensure the full absorption of vitamins in the body;
- organic acids: provide anti-inflammatory, regulating metabolism and toxin-removing action;
- tannins: produce astringent, hemostatic, regenerative and anti-inflammatory actions on the human body;
- resin: a viscous substance with a powerful bactericidal and antiviral effect;
- alkaloids: effect the nervous, cardiovascular and respiratory systems;
- amino acids: participate in all metabolic processes in the human body and support the normal operation of all internal organs and systems;
- cellulose: fibers that are not digested in the intestine and have a positive effect on its functioning;
- retinol: vitamin A, which is necessary for normal renewal of cells in the body tissues;
- thiamin: vitamin B1, which is necessary for the normal functioning of the nervous system;
- riboflavin: vitamin B2, which is responsible for the full functioning of the reproductive system, as well as normal visual acuity and a good condition of the skin, nails and hair;
- ascorbic acid: helps to strengthen blood vessels and restore normal clotting of blood;
- tocopherol: maintains the normal state of the body, helps to bear the strain easily;
- phylloquinone: a substance responsible for the correct composition of blood and maintenance of its normal functions.
Due to this variety of composition, red clover can be used for the treatment for many ailments. Preparations based on plants are used in many areas of medicine.
PHARMACOLOGICAL ACTIONS, HEALTH BENEFITS AND INDICATIONS FOR USE
The plant has the following actions:
astringent, anti-inflammatory, diuretic, vitamin, hemostatic, emollient, diaphoretic, regenerating, analgesic, antiseptic, expectorant, blood-cleansing, tonic, antibiotic, antiviral, antifungal, antimicrobial, antitumor, laxative, nutritious, sedative
Red clover has the beneficial impact on the body:
Diseases of the reproductive system: Red clover balances hormones and lowers menopause symptoms (hot flashes, trouble sleeping, weight gain, bone loss, bone fractures or osteoporosis, cardiovascular problems, joint inflammation) and provides treatment for syphilis, irregular menstruation, inflammation of the appendages and sexually transmitted diseases (STDs).
Diseases of the respiratory system: The plant of red clover stops mucus accumulation on the oral, nasal and ocular passages, calms bronchial spasms and prevents such diseases as influenza, colds, ARI and ARVI, pulmonary hemorrhage, pneumonia, tuberculosis, asthma, whooping cough, bronchitis and others.
Diseases of the Central Nervous System: The herb reduces anxiety and discomfort during illness, improves sleep quality, and strengthens the nervous system. It copes with headache, dizziness, intracranial pressure, nervous exhaustion, cramps, nervousness and others.
Skin diseases: Red clover slows down the signs of aging of the skin, lowers inflammatory skin conditions, and helps early restoration of tissues with minimal scarring and scars. It provides treatment for psoriasis, eczema, various rashes, burns, long-healing wounds, trophic ulcers, acne, fungal foot diseases, boils and others.
Diseases of the joints and muscles: The plant improves bone mineral density and helps the human body to get rid of uric acid (the main cause of gout and arthritis). It positively affects such diseases as joint inflammation, arthritis, arthrosis, traumatic injuries, bone loss, osteoporosis, rheumatism, gout and others.
Hormonal changes: The herb of red clover lowers the risk of prostate cancer, breast cancer, endometrial cancer and ovarian hormone deficiency.
Diseases of the cardiovascular system: Red clover lowers the cholesterol level and high blood pressure symptoms, prevents the formation of the atherosclerotic plaques in the vessels, maintains sufficient patency of blood vessels, prevents a heart attack and a stroke, normalizes the circulation of the cerebral fluid and prevents excessive squeezing of the brain, improves arterial health, boosts circulation, improves the flow of blood from the heart to the rest of the body and dilutes blood. It helps to cope with atherosclerosis (hardening or thickening of the arteries), high cholesterol, coronary heart disease, angina pectoris, thrombosis and others.
Diseases of the digestive system: The plant of red clover has natural cleansing effects within body, supports internal organs and activates all metabolic processes; thereby it helps with digestive disorders, gall bladder disease and constipation.
Diseases of the immune system: Red clover prevents such diseases as HIV/AIDS, cancer, scarlet fever, allergy and leukemia.
Kidney diseases: The herb washes the kidneys from sand and small stones.
In addition, this plant has a beneficial effect on the overall condition of our health. It positively effects the health of the scalp, hair, skin, libido, mood, sleep and energy; accelerates the recovery of the body after serious illness; destroys pathogens in the presence of purulent-necrotic masses; effects the estrogen level; and treats conditions related to inflammation and low immunity.
CONTRAINDICATIONS AND SIDE EFFECTS
Red clover does not seem to be dangerous for most people both in case of internal and external application.
But there are some special precautions and warnings:
- Pregnancy and breast-feeding. Clover acts like estrogens, so it can disrupt the hormonal balance in the body
- Blood diseases. The use of this medicinal plant can cause bleeding. Since the clover dilutes blood, it is forbidden to take it 2 weeks before and after surgery
- Stomach disorders
- Hypertension and stroke
- Hormone-sensitive conditions such as breast cancer, uterine cancer, ovarian cancer, endometriosis, or uterine fibroids
- Thrombophlebitis. This plant increases the risk of blood clots in people with a deficiency of protein S
Possible side effects:
- skin rash
- muscle pain
- vaginal bleeding
Moderate Interaction with Birth control pills (Contraceptive drugs):
Some Contraceptive drugs include estrogen. Red clover can have the same impact as estrogen. However, red clover’s effectiveness is not as strong as the estrogen’s one. Parallel taking of red clover and Contraceptive drugs such as ethinyl estradiol and levonorgestrel (Triphasil), ethinyl estradiol and norethindrone (Ortho-Novum 1/35, Ortho-Novum 7/7/7), and others can lessen the power of birth control pills.
Moderate Interaction with Estrogens:
Huge doses of red clover can have the effects of estrogen. However, red clover’s effectiveness isn't as intensive as estrogen pills. Concurrent using of red clover and estrogen pills such as conjugated equine estrogens (Premarin), ethinyl estradiol, estradiol, and others can decline the power of estrogen pills.
Moderate Interaction with Medications changed by the liver (Cytochrome P450 1A2 (CYP1A2) substrates):
Such medications as amitriptyline (Elavil), haloperidol (Haldol), ondansetron (Zofran), propranolol (Inderal), theophylline (Theo-Dur, others), verapamil (Calan, Isoptin, others), and others are altered and destroyed by the liver. Red clover can lessen the process of breaking some medications down by the liver. Concurrent consumption of red clover and listed medications can intensify the effectiveness as well as side effects of these medications. Before taking red clover be sure to consult a doctor if you take any medications which are changed by the liver.
Moderate Interaction with Medications changed by the liver (Cytochrome P450 2C19 (CYP2C19) substrates):
Such medications as omeprazole (Prilosec), lansoprazole (Prevacid), and pantoprazole (Protonix); diazepam (Valium); carisoprodol (Soma); nelfinavir (Viracept); and others are altered and destroyed by the liver. Red clover can lessen the process of breaking some medications down by the liver. Concurrent consumption of red clover and listed medications can intensify the effectiveness as well as side effects of these medications. Before taking red clover be sure to consult a doctor if you take any medications which are changed by the liver.
Moderate Interaction with Medications changed by the liver (Cytochrome P450 2C9 (CYP2C9) substrates):
Such medications as diclofenac (Cataflam, Voltaren), ibuprofen (Motrin), meloxicam (Mobic), and piroxicam (Feldene); celecoxib (Celebrex); amitriptyline (Elavil); warfarin (Coumadin); glipizide (Glucotrol); losartan (Cozaar); and others are altered and destroyed by the liver. Red clover can lessen the process of breaking some medications down by the liver. Concurrent consumption of red clover and listed medications can intensify the effectiveness as well as side effects of these medications. Before taking red clover be sure to consult a doctor if you take any medications which are changed by the liver.
Moderate Interaction with Medications changed by the liver (Cytochrome P450 3A4 (CYP3A4) substrates):
Such medications as lovastatin (Mevacor), ketoconazole (Nizoral), itraconazole (Sporanox), fexofenadine (Allegra), triazolam (Halcion), and many others are altered and destroyed by the liver. Red clover can lessen the process of breaking some medications down by the liver. Concurrent consumption of red clover and listed medications can intensify the effectiveness as well as side effects of these medications. Before taking red clover be sure to consult a doctor if you take any medications which are changed by the liver.
Moderate Interaction with Medications that slow blood clotting (Anticoagulant / Antiplatelet drugs):
Red clover can decelerate blood clotting. Simultaneous taking of red clover and antiplatelet medications such as aspirin, clopidogrel (Plavix), diclofenac (Voltaren, Cataflam, others), ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin, others), naproxen (Anaprox, Naprosyn, others), dalteparin (Fragmin), enoxaparin (Lovenox), heparin, warfarin (Coumadin), and others can strengthen the risks of bruising and bleeding. Before using, consult a doctor.
Moderate Interaction with Tamoxifen (Nolvadex):
Body hormones influence some types of cancer. Tamoxifen (Nolvadex) is used to cure and hinder the estrogen-sensitive cancer. Red clover can also have impact on estrogen levels in the organism. Contemporaneous taking of red clover and Tamoxifen (Nolvadex) can lower the efficacy of tamoxifen (Nolvadex). Do not take them together.
RED CLOVER TINCTURE
In ancient China tincture of red clover was used to heal wounds, and also as a diuretic. With its help, folk healers restored their strength and energy. In addition, tincture of red clover shows a diaphoretic and expectorant effect, which makes it possible to use it in the period of exacerbation of colds. This remedy helps to withdraw phlegm from the bronchi, and also to lower the temperature of the body. This remedy becomes irreplaceable when having diseases of the respiratory system. With its help, you can purify the body of toxins, cure dysfunction of the gallbladder and normalize the function of the gastrointestinal tract. This healing tincture helps to restore metabolic processes in the body, strengthen the immune system and lower the level of cholesterol. Tincture of red clover is not only a remedy, but also an excellent preventive agent for such diseases as ischemic heart disease and atherosclerosis. It is also widely used in the dermatology industry.
“To make a prairie it takes a clover and a bee”
*This article is for informational purposes only. We suggest consulting with a physician before using these or any other herbal supplements.