Habitat & Cultivation : Originating from Europe and Asia, red clover has become naturalized in North America and Australia. It is extensively grown for hay production and serves as a nitrogen-fixing crop. The flowerheads are typically harvested during the summer when they are newly opened.
Parts Used : Flowerheads.
Constituents : Within red clover, one can find volatile oil that includes benzyl alcohol and methyl salicylate, along with isoflavones, coumarins, and cyanogenic glycosides. Notably, the isoflavones are present in relatively high concentrations and exhibit phytoestrogenic properties. These isolated isoflavones are currently marketed as a remedy for issues associated with menopause.
History & Folklore : Traditionally, this herb has been employed for the treatment of breast cancer. A concentrated decoction was applied directly to the tumor site with the aim of promoting outward growth and clearance from the body.
Medicinal Actions & Uses : Red clover is employed in the treatment of skin conditions, often in conjunction with other purifying herbs like burdock and yellow dock. Additionally, it exhibits expectorant properties and may be utilized for addressing spasmodic coughs. The notable phytoestrogenic activity of red clover has contributed to its growing popularity in alleviating menopausal symptoms. In many instances, using extracts of red clover flowers is preferred over using the isoflavones in isolation.
Research : The isoflavones in red clover exhibit established phytoestrogenic activity. These isoflavones have demonstrated therapeutic benefits during menopause, assisting in mitigating the effects of declining estrogen levels. Additionally, they have shown a protective impact on the heart and circulation in menopausal women with low estrogen levels. Early-stage research suggests that the isoflavones may counteract bone loss, indicating potential use in osteoporosis. Given the isoflavones’ ability to “compete” with the body’s own estrogen, there is now consideration that red clover might be beneficial in both preventing and treating breast cancer.