We are pleased to present a legume (such as beans, peas, soy, etc.) with medicinal power. It is the red clover, known scientifically as trifolium pratense.
A herbaceous that in itself can be used as an ornamental for garden decoration. It has a morphological appearance relatively similar to that of a rose, but with a different flowering.
However, what interests us is all the potential that we can take advantage of as a medicinal plant, since they have been identified. different compounds with medical action. We will break it down each of them and tell you how to use them according to what ailments.
Characteristics of red clover
Red clover, as a legume, belongs to the family Fabaceae and gender Trifolium. Within this family we find a lot of plants that will be known to us. For example:
However, the medicinal power of trifolium pratense It stands out above all these plants mentioned, which are used worldwide as a nutritional contribution for animals and humans.
One of the most present and interesting chemicals in red clover is phytoestrogens. This compound is very similar to estrogen (female sex hormone), so it can increase or block the effects of this hormone.
In addition, the presence of isoflavones, a compound derived from plants that can also act on the production of enzymes and hormones in humans, is also detected.
The origin and cultivation of red clover is widespread practically all over the world, thanks to its great capacity for adaptation.
Is native to continents such as Asian, European and African (focused more on the northern part of it).
It is considered a low-sized herbaceous plant (between 10 and 50 cm in height), with an attractive flowering, pinkish or violet in color. It has a pivoting root not very developed compared to other plants of the legume family.
Red clover is a grass plant with forage interest. Productions around 15,000-20,000 kg/ha with a sowing dose of 10 kg/ha in seeds.
Exist different varieties that differ in the flowering season, although medicinally it has not been detailed which varieties are more functional with respect to medicinal interest.
Varieties of red clover
Early flowering varieties: flowering in April-May (Kedland, Essex or Midland)
Flowering varieties in season: flowering at the end of May (Rotra, Tetri or Barfiola)
Late flowering varieties: flowering from late May to June (Marcom, Gollum or Viola)
How is red clover grown?
The red clover adapts to a high range of temperatures, typical of continental and Mediterranean climate.
It is located up to a height of 2000 meters, and blooms without problems between 10 and 35 degrees.
It adapts well to cold weather conditions, offering better results in the production of active substances and compounds against warmer climates.
It can be grown in full sun, where it grows spontaneously, or in the shadows of trees, hedges, fences and walls.
It usually grows in areas where there is a greater conservation of moisture, typical of more clay than sandy soils.
However, it is not very tolerant, due to the low root development compared to other plants, to conditions of water stagnation or poor drainage.
In summer, with high temperatures (above 35 ºC), it needs a supply of water above what natural rainfall can give.
It grows in all types of soils, even in those stony ones. It prefers the deep ones, with good drainage capacity.
As for the pH, it prefers those slightly acidic (between 5.5 and 7) compared to the calcareous ones.
Normal levels of organic matter are effective for greater plant development and greater conservation of its principles assets.
Nutritionally, it responds very well to the contributions of nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium, like the rest of Fabaceae.
Medicinal properties of Trifolium pratense
- Minerals (calcium, magnesium, phosphorus and potassium)
- Vitamins (vitamin C, niacin and thiamine)
Benign hyperplasia of the prostate
There is an important study developed to evaluate the effect on benign prostatic hypertrophy with the use of different concentrations of red clover. No conclusions have been reached to give a medical advance of its active ingredients but it is still being studied because it has offered interesting results.
The presence of these isoflavones in different ways they exert control over estrogen levels in the body, and preventive or conservative therapy for prostate cancer may be managed.
These isoflavones are very interesting from the point of view of managing different types of cancer. Research is still needed to draw conclusive results.
There is an improvement in blood flow and circulatory system thanks to the medium-term consumption of extracts from trifolium pratense. Such studies are still limited and short-range, but they offer good feelings to be able to extract these compounds and use them in the creation of new drugs.
The isoflavones, a compound of very high importance in red clover, offer a short-term effect in postmenopausal women. They increase cognitive function in elderly people or people with onset of senile dementia.
Several important studies have been done to evaluate the response of red clover to type 2 diabetes, obtaining potential results against side effects related to alterial hypertension or circulatory problems in general, which causes excess sugar in the bloodstream.
Hormone management and therapy
We mentioned before the phytoestrogen content of trifolium pratense. Studies are being carried out to use these isoflavones together with drugs to more efficiently regulate the estrogen content, so that it intervenes in reducing side effects derived from a hormonal alteration.
For example, reduced bone density in adult women.
Regulation of menopause
One of the main recommendations that is usually offered is the use of red clover to reduce the effects of menopause.
This is due to the ratio of isoflavones contained between dried flowers, active compounds that collaborate with estrogen to reduce the common symptoms of menopause.
Main symptoms of menopause:
- Insomnia and hot flashes
- Irregular cycles
- Changes in body weight
- Vaginal dryness
- Mood changes
Many capsule-based food supplements recommend red clover for menopause, recommending taking 2 capsules a day.
Those isoflavones that can regulate sugar levels in diabetic patients, also have a cholesterol-lowering effect considered “bad” and triglycerides, as well as cilantro.
There are still conflicting results in different trials, so testing new doses and concentrations is required to focus research efforts.
Closely related to the hormonal ratio of estrogens, you can achieve benefits in the medium term with the consumption of red clover in the diet, so that the loss of bone density in people is limited once they have entered the stage of menopause.
Collection and conservation of Trifolium pratense
The red clover flowers they can be collected from 1 or 2 weeks after the first flowering. To do this, it will be enough to carefully cut the base of the peduncle of the flower, leaving the stem of Trifolium pratense intact.
It is interesting for this flower, and the opposite is true for other plants.As medicinal, collect it in the early hours of the morning, when there is still dew in the environment, since that minimum concentration of moisture is positive for its conservation.
From here, the flowers will gradually dry over a period of 1 to 2 weeks, at which time they will be ready for the preparation of clover infusion.
How to prepare red clover as medicinal use
Infusion of red clover
- 1 liter of water
- 3 to 4 grams of dried red clover flowers
- Mint or peppermint leaves (for flavor)
Boil the water and bring to a boil, add the dried clover flowers and let cool. Just before taking, add the mint leaves, which will give a pleasant taste to the infusion.
You can add sugar or honey to sweeten the flavor.
Dosage per cup: 1 gram (1 tablespoon of coffee).
Other forms of consumption of trifolium pratense
- Capsules. Consume red clover in capsules at the rate of 2 units per day
- Pure liquid extract: 50 to 80 drops, in three doses 3 times a day
- Pure extract: depends on the concentration (see package leaflet or product information)
- Topical use: apply to parts of the skin with scars or irritations
Red clover capsules usually contain the extract at 40% and total isoflavone content of 60 mg.
To prepare a tincture of trifolium pratense we need the following ingredients:
- Dried red clover flowers
- Alcohol (at least 80 test)
- Clean glass jar with unused lid
- Place 8 or 10 red clover flowers in a glass jar and gradually add the alcohol to cover the entire container and flowers.
- Tightly close the bottle and store in a dark environment (the pantry, for example).
- Wait 6 weeks, shaking 1 or 2 times a week to release all the essential oils from the clover.
- From here, strain the flowers with a strainer or mesh and store only the tincture.
Contraindications and safety control
People with allergies
Currently there are no contraindications to the consumption of red clover, because it is a legume widely used in food (in this case animal). Only those with allergies to high contents in isoflavones may suffer mild allergic reactions.