Clover is a natural phytoestrogen, useful for lowering cholesterol levels in the blood, to prevent osteoporosis and to counteract free radicals. Let’s find out better.
Properties of clover
Clover is the most potent natural phytoestrogen. In fact, plant hormones (phytohormones) are extracted from clover, in particular estrogens, which are valid for slowing the aging of skin and mucous membranes. Clover has the following properties:
- It is a rich source of many valuable nutrients including: calcium, chromium, magnesium, niacin, phosphorus, potassium, silicon, thiamine and vitamins A, B-12, E, K and C.
- It contains the minerals necessary for the glands in our body, therefore it can help in maintaining hormonal balance.
- Relieves PMS symptoms (such as breast pain)
- It increases bone mineralization and therefore helps treat and prevent osteoporosis.
- Its regular intake is able to lower the levels of bad cholesterol, favoring the good one: for this reason it can help to prevent heart disease.
- Containing small amounts of coumarins, chemicals useful to keep the blood clean and fluid, clover improves blood circulation, reduces the possibility of clots and the formation of arterial plaques, also limiting the development of benign prostatic hyperplasia.
- It can help you quit smoking.
- Fights free radicals thanks to its powerful antioxidant effect.
- It has positive effects on fertility as it has similar activities to estrogen, an essential hormone in the female reproductive process.
- Thanks to the rich presence of isoflavones it is an excellent remedy for menopausal disorders. Isoflavones are water soluble and act like estrogen, so they are used in treatments related to menopause and related disorders such as hot flashes, nervousness and even post-menopausal depression.
How to use
Clover can be taken with or without a prescription. To relieve menopausal ailments, standardized clover is recommended at 40-80 mg of isoflavones.
There is insufficient information to recommend a safe and effective dose of clover for any other condition (other than for treating menopausal symptoms). Recommended dosage in powder form is usually 1000-3000 mg per day. The aerial parts of this medicinal plant are used.
Contraindications of clover
Various pharmacological and clinical studies indicate clover as a safe plant: no toxicity and significant side effects are reported, even for long-term treatments. However, clover is not recommended for women who are pregnant and with conditions such as endometriosis, uterine fibroids, and cancers of the breast, ovaries, or uterus. They should not take clover due to possible estrogenic effects.
It is also not recommended to take clover for men in case of prostate cancer, unless the doctor himself advises to use it. There is little information available on how clover could affect a newborn or small child, therefore its use is not recommended during breastfeeding or early childhood.
Description of the plant
Clover (Trifolium) is a genus of herbaceous plant belonging to the Fabaceae (or legume) family and including about 300 species. It is widespread in the temperate regions of the northern hemisphere and in the mountainous regions of the tropics.
It owes its name to the characteristic shape of the leaf, divided into 3 leaflets (some species, however, have 5 or 7 leaflets). The plant is mostly annual or biennial and in some cases perennial; its height is normally around 30 cm. The two most common types of clover are:
- Red clover (Trifolium pratense);
- White or Ladin clover (Trifolium repens).
Habitat of the clover
Clover is a perennial herb that displays brilliant deep pink and purple red flowers when flowering. Trifolium does not resist the cold very well and prefers clayey soils; however it adapts to almost any type of soil, as long as it is not excessively waterlogged.
The clover, once planted, grows rapidly (2-15 days). After about 48 hours the plant begins to germinate, presenting two small lobes, to which a third is added in about 5-6 days.
In addition to being a very common plant, widespread in many meadows and on the edges of woods and forests, it is known both for being a good fodder for livestock (it is also called the “milk bread”), and because it is used in agricultural rotation for soil enrichment.
Historically, the clover was revered by the Druids. Known by the Greeks and Romans for its healing properties. Sometimes (about 1 in 10,000) clovers can have four leaves, these are commonly called shamrocks and are considered to be lucky charms.