Are you interested in herbal health? Red clover has some surprising health benefits which include, lowering cholesterol levels, reducing high blood pressure, and alleviating the unpleasant symptoms of the menopause. Here’s what else it can do.
Introducing Red Clover
Belonging to the legume plant family, red clover (Trifolium pratense) is a small perennial herbaceous plant with pink or purple flowers. It grows across Europe, western Asia, and into some parts of Africa. As an herbal treatment, it is easily obtainable– in capsules, as a tea, or in tincture format. If you are worried about making your own herbal concoctions, don’t worry, you don’t have to pick red clover so to make your own teas. The dried herb is available too.
Red Clover Benefits
Acting as a natural diuretic balancing fluid levels in the body, it increases the production of urine. But additional benefits include its potential to eliminate excess mucus– the herb acts as an expectorant too. Red clover is useful for the elimination of toxins and provides a cleansing effect on the liver, the lungs, the blood, and digestive organs too. It is mildly antispasmodic and was originally used to help ease whooping cough. The leaves contain high levels of antioxidants which help combat free radicals and this helps prevent disease or cell mutation. Additionally, it provides a good boost to immune function too, helping to protect and prevent infections.
There’s been a great deal of research into the benefits of red clover and how it can help combat inflammation and infection while clearing the lungs of mucus. It does the same for the nasal passages when a cold or respiratory infection is present. It even helps those who are experiencing the unpleasant symptoms of the menopause. The active chemical components include isoflavones which are plant-based chemicals. These mimic the effects of estrogen and act similarly to natural estrogen. Red clover contains flavonoids, vitamins B, C, calcium, and chromium as well as others. It may also help improve the health of the bones in those of an older age, which is important.
Women often have insufficient levels of estrogen through poor nutrition or through dieting too much. When levels are low, this can increase the potential for osteoporosis but also increase the risk for cardiovascular problems. Research indicates that red clover can help to improve the health of the arteries, thereby reducing the risk of atherosclerosis. This is where the arteries harden or thicken. This herb improves blood circulation as well as preventing coronary disease. It is the isoflavones that increase good cholesterol in the body which may, in turn, lead to flexibility in the arteries and reduce the risk of blood clots forming. It reduces hypertension.
During menopause, estrogen levels naturally fall and so the isoflavones in red clover may have a positive effect in eliminating some of the more unpleasant side-effects. This includes weight gain, inflammation of the joints, hot flashes, or cardiovascular problems. It can even help to improve sleep patterns. Menopausal women or postmenopausal women deal with these side-effects for long periods of time. This affects health and well-being but there are also other side effects, such as poor skin condition and thinning hair, which bring its own set of miseries. Through taking red clover supplements for approximately three months, they can improve or reduce the loss of collagen in the skin and improve the health of the hair too. The isoflavones help those who suffer with menstruation problems and fluctuating hormones and it may reduce breast pain or mood swings experienced at that time.
As we grow older, we naturally develop a greater risk of osteoporosis. There is a definitive link between osteoporosis and ovarian hormone deficiency, which is experienced during menopause. Red clover may help with the healing of bones which is important to those who are also postmenopausal as there is a greater risk of developing fractures or bone loss. Estrogen helps with the mineralization of bone.
If moods fluctuate or are low during the menopause, red clover tea may lift your spirits. It improves emotional wellness and can reduce the negative implications of depression or anxiety.
The isoflavones in red clover slow down the aging process. They help to reduce inflammatory skin conditions, which include psoriasis. Because red clover improves estrogen levels, there is a greater potential for healing wounds and less reduction of collagen. Drink red clover tea and it helps reduce cellulite, which is detectable by dimply skin on the thighs or buttocks.
Red clover is useful for treating and preventing respiratory health conditions. These include bronchitis, colds, and asthma. It helps to loosen phlegm and has a cleansing effect. It can even reduce excess mucus from the bronchial tubes. As soon as the first indicators of respiratory problems are experienced, it is best to start taking this herb. You can do this in tea form if you do not like the idea of taking supplements.
Red clover is not an overnight cure. It can take up to 3-months for the health benefits to be truly experienced and this is when taking on a daily basis. It is available in tincture form and is easy to take, i.e. a teaspoon of this herb up to 3 times a day, but you can also use dried herbs and make red clover tea. Simply add 1 or 2 teaspoons of the dried flowers and steep them in 8 ounces of hot water. Drink this tea up to 3 times a day. If you prefer taking capsules, take two capsules- 20 to 40 mg once or twice a day. Ointment is also available if you wish for a topical treatment of eczema or psoriasis.
Summary of Red Clover
In the main, there are very few side-effects in connection to red clover but if you do start to take it and experience headaches, heavy periods, or muscle aches and pains, then stop taking to see if the symptoms alleviate. It is important to avoid taking this herb if you are on hormone medication or treatment for cancer. Always seek the advice of a professional naturopath or medical herbalist before self-medicating.