Advanced nations in the west are looking more and more to eastern practices for natural therapies as an alternative to modern medicines. One such practice involves the use of red clover for treating common illnesses.
Red clover is a flowering plant that has been used in traditional Chinese medicine as a natural treatment for a number of ailments and for promoting female health.
Benefits of red clover
Red clover has been proven to be useful in the following:
- As a natural hormone replacement therapy. Red clover is rich in isoflavone compounds, plant-based chemicals that mimic the effects of the female hormone, oestrogen. It is often used as a natural form of hormone replacement for the treatment of menopausal symptoms such as hot flashes, osteoporosis and vaginal dryness. In some adult women who are not yet experiencing menopause, red clover is also used to correct hormonal imbalance and regulate menstruation.
- As a blood purifier. Red clover has been touted as a blood cleanser that improves blood circulation and cleanses the liver. As such, it is an effective treatment for acne, bladder infections, boils, bronchitis, psoriasis, skin ailments and even skin tumours.
- As a diuretic. Red clover is also useful for eliminating excess fluids. This makes it a natural antidote to bloating and water retention.
- As an expectorant. Red clover provides natural relief from coughs and chest infections because it helps clear the lungs of viscous mucous.
- As protection against heart disease. Another constituent found in red clover is coumarin, a natural blood thinner. This makes red clover very useful for improving blood circulation and preventing blood clot formation.
- As anti-viral and anti-bacterial agent. Red clover can also be used as a topical treatment for ailments caused by viral and bacterial infections. It can be used as a mouth wash to heal mouth ulcers, as an eye wash to treat conjunctivitis and as an ointment to get rid of eczema, psoriasis and skin irritations.
Drawbacks of red clover
- Red clover should not be taken together with another blood thinning agent because it may cause excessive bleeding. Other supplements which should not be used together with red clover because of their blood thinning properties include gingko biloba, garlic, Vitamin E and grapeseed extract.
- Because of its oestrogen-like effects, red clover should not be taken in large doses, as it may stimulate the production of cancer cells in the breast and uterus. The same precaution is being observed in drug-induced Hormone Replacement Therapy.
- Studies involving male sheep that fed on red clover plants indicate low sperm count among them, a possible effect of oestrogen on males. Men are, therefore, not encouraged to use red clover as a natural supplement. Similarly, female sheep that were included in the study appeared to develop uterine fibroids after consuming large quantities of red clover. While it is not clear whether too much oestrogen may have contributed to the condition, or whether the same condition may occur in humans, it is best for patients with hormonally-induced cancers or uterine fibroids to avoid red clover.
- Other than the combined effect of oestrogen with other substances having similar properties, red clover is relatively safe and has no known serious side effects.
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