encyclopedia

Red Clover

Scientific Names:

Forms:
Red Clover Herbal Teas; Red Clover Phytoestrogen Standardized Extracts

Traditional Usage:

– Acne

– Addiction (alleviates cravings)

– Allergies

– Anti-inflammatory

– Antioxidant

– Bone and Joint Health

– Breathing Disorders

– Canker Sores

– Celiac’s Disease

– Cellular Regeneration

– Cleansing

– Crohn’s Disease

– Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

– Colitis

– Detoxifying

– Digestive Disorders

– Diuretic

– Diverticulitis

– Eczema

– Endometriosis

– Endotoxic Shock (infection-related toxemia)

– Fibroids

– Fibromyalgia

– Gastrointestinal Disorders

– Headaches

– Hepatitis

– Hormone Imbalances

– Irritable Bowel Syndrome

– Joint Pain

– Menopausal Problems

– Migraines

– Osteoporosis

– Poultice

– PMS

– Psoriasis

– Senility/Aging Conditions

– Skin Disorders

– Vascular Disorders

Overview:

Red clover is a legume rich in isoflavonoid phytoestrogens including: genistein, daidzein, formononetin and biochanin-A, compounds that are now recognized for supporting critical hormone levels within the body in both men and women, without having any negative side effects. Controlled clinical trials show that phytoestrogens from red clover help to maintain proper bone density in menopausal women, as well as relieving hot flushes and night sweats. Red clover has been a valued medicine since ancient times and was particularly valued for treating respiratory problems, colds, flues and infections in the 19th century. Red clover is recognized as a detoxification herb or “blood cleanser”. The tea, like that of licorice root, is also said to be effective for treating gastrointestinal problems and can be used externally as a hydrocortisone cream replacement for alleviating skin inflammations and psoriasis. Historically, the blossom tea was also used as an antispasmodic and mild sedative. Research is showing that phytoestrogens, including and especially those from red clover, are beneficial for preventing and treating many of the major degenerative diseases plaguing our society today. Phytoestrogens support good health in many ways such as: 1) they bind at estrogen receptors and prevent the body from over-producing estradiol; 2) they dilute xenoestrogen-type toxins by binding at receptor sites and function as anti-estrogens; 3) they boost progesterone expression and help to normalize the body’s important estrogen to progesterone ratio; 4) they reduce cholesterol and support the liver in its critical role of detoxifying the blood and converting excess estradiol into the more benign form of estriol; 6) they are powerful antioxidants; 7) they prevent the formation of new blood vessels that feed abnormal cells; 8) they inhibit abnormal cell growth, and 9) they boost several beneficial enzymes within the body that prevent DNA adducts and reduce cellular damage and aging.

Active Ingredients:

Red clover herb and blossoms contain: Phytoestrogens including genistein, daidzein, formononetin and biochanin-A. The phytoestrogen content varies from 1.0% to 2.5% of dry matter. Red clover also contains many other flavonoid-type antioxidants and is rich in protein.

Suggested Amount:

Red clover can be taken as a tea with the recommended dosage of one to three cups per day, using one teaspoonful of dried herb and blossom per cup of boiling water. A typical dosage of red clover extract provides 40 to 160 mg of isoflavones daily.

Drug Interactions:

Phytoestrogens and other flavonoids have mild blood-thinning properties that are natural and beneficial (blood platelet anti-stickiness effects) and so a reduced dosage of blood-thinning drugs (such as Coumadin [warfarin], heparin, Trental [pentoxifylline], or even aspirin) may be required with the use of red clover products. These drugs should only be used in combination with red clover extracts under a physician’s supervision.

Based on studies with soy, red clover extracts at dosages of up to 160mg/day of phytoestrogens, should not interfere with prescription hormone replacement drugs such as ERT or HRT products (i.e. Premarin) (Scambia et al. 2000). However, until further research is done, it is best to consult your health care practitioner in this case. It is thought that concentrated phytoestrogen products may also interfere with the effectiveness of birth control pills; however, one study with 40 women suggests that this worry is unfounded (Martini et al. 1999). Until further research is done, it is best to consult your health care practitioner in this case.

Potential Positive Interaction:

Phytoestrogens counteract the potential negative effects of Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT) drugs and other sources of synthetic estrogens, and based on controlled studies with soy phytoestrogen extracts, this will not reduce the therapeutic effects of these drugs. Alternatively, Natural Hormone Replacement (NRT) drugs (based on estriol instead of the more problematic estrogens, estradiol and estrone), available from selected pharmacies in North America such as from Kripps Pharmacy in Vancouver, B.C., are often combined with red clover extracts and are complimented by phytoestrogens.

Contraindications:
None known.

Side Effects:
None known.

References:

Liu J, Burdette JE, Xu H, Gu C, van Breemen RB, Bhat KP, Booth N, Constantinou AI, Pezzuto JM, Fong HH, Farnsworth NR, Bolton JL. 2001. Evaluation of Estrogenic Activity of Plant Extracts for the Potential Treatment of Menopausal Symptoms. J Agric Food Chem 2001 May 21; 49(5): 2472-2479.

Scambia G, Mango D, Signorile PG, et al. Clinical effects of a standardized soy extract in postmenopausal women: a pilot study. Menopause. 2000; 7: 105-111.

Stephens FO. 1997b. Phytoestrogens and prostate cancer: possible preventive role. Med J Aust 167 (3): 138-140.

Wahlquist ML, and Dalais FS. 1997. Phytoestrogens: emerging multifaceted plant compounds. Med J Aust 167 (3): 199-120.

Zava DT, Dollbaum CM, and Blen M. 1998. Estrogen and progestin bioactivity of foods, herbs and spices. Proc Soc Exp Biol Med 217 (3): 369-378.

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