Materia Medica: Red Clover



Red clover is grown as a nitrogen fixer to heal depleted soil and provide animal fodder.  It is a source of many valuable nutrients including calcium, chromium, magnesium, niacin, phosphorus, potassium, thiamine, and vitamin C. Red clover is also considered to be one of the richest sources of isoflavones (water-soluble chemicals that act like estrogens and are found in many plants). Tea or tincture of red clover is helpful for a number of symptoms such as irregular periods, sore joints, anxiety, energy loss and hot flashes.



Latin Binomial: Trifolium pratence

Common Name(s): Red Clover, trefoil, purple clover

TCM Name: N/A

Ayurvedic Name

Family: Papilionaceae

Physical Description of the Plant:   


Harvest and Collection: 

Parts of the Plant Used:  Flowerheads- Harvest during flowering

Qualities:  Slightly sweet & cool

Chemical Constituents:

  • Phenolic glycosides
  • Flavonoids
  • Coumarins
  • Cyanogenic glycosides
  • Phytoestrogenic isoflavones (genistein, diadzen, formononetin, biochanin)
  • Volatile oil
  • Vitamins
  • Minerals
  • Salicylates
  • Polysaccharide

Taste: Mild, salty, sweet


  • Alterative
  • Anti-inflammatory
  • Anti-spasmodic
  • Antitumour (traditional use)
  • Depurative
  • Expectorant


  • Skin disorders – eczema, psoriasis, and ulcers
  • Respiratory conditions – spasmodic cough, bronchitis
  • Whooping cough


  • None known

Drug Interactions:


  • 1.5-6.0 ml of 1:2 liquid extract daily
  • TINCTURE: 2-6 ml three times a day

Infusion: pour a cup of boiling water onto 1-3 tsp of dried herb and leave to infuse for 10-15mins. Drink 3 times a day

Combinations: For skin problems, it combines well with yellow dock and nettles 

Energetics: Cooling, sweet


Flower Essence:  

Red Clover Flower Essence supports your transition into more expanded states of consciousness by transforming lower frequency emotional states rooted in the emotional subtle body, nervous system and body biochemistry


  • FRESH FLOWERS: Crush flowers and apply to insect bites and skins
  • TINCTURE: Take internally for eczema and psoriasis
  • COMPRESS: Gout and arthritic pins
  • OINTMENT: For lymphatic swellings, cover in fresh flowers with water and simmer in slow cooker for 48 hours. Strain, evaporate the residue to semi-dryness & combine with equal amount of ointment base
  • EYEWASH: 5-10 drops tincture in 20ml water for conjunctivitis
  • DOUCHE: Use the infusion for vaginal itching
  • SYRUP: Take syrup made from infusion for stubborn, dry coughs


Red Clover Wine Recipe

Around Virginia when spring time comes around it’s pretty easy to find red clovers.   They have a sweet tasting flower and has a great base for wine with the nectar.  The clover heads aren’t going to change the color of the wine to much though.  This is a great wine recipe to impress your friends with.  Flower wines are always so easy to make but the biggest thing is that you just need to be on top of the season.

1 Gallon Yield


1 gallon clover head

3 lbs sugar

8 ounces light raisins

1 teaspoon acid blend

1 package wine yeast

1 teaspoon pectic enzyme

1 teaspoon yeast nutrient

1.5 cups orange juice at room temp


  • Remove the stems and the base from the clover heads
  • Place the petals in a stainless steel pot with 1 gallon of water
  • Bring the mixture to a boil
  • Remove the heat and add half the sugar mixture and the raisins
  • Cool down
  • Add yeast with wine yeast, pectic enzyme, yeast nutrient, and orange juice
  • close up the top and add the air lock
  • After 5 days rack
  • After 7 days rack again
  • Then let it sit for 3 months then bottle

Scientific Research

A biochanin-enriched isoflavone from red clover lowers LDL cholesterol in men.

A double-blind randomized study on the effects of red clover isoflavones on the endometrium.

Absorption in humans of isoflavones from soy and red clover is similar.

Effect of red clover-derived isoflavone supplementation on insulin-like growth factor, lipid and antioxidant status in healthy female volunteers: a pilot study.

Effect of Trifolium pratense-derived isoflavones on the lipid profile of postmenopausal women with increased body mass index.

Effects of a red clover extract (MF11RCE) on endometrium and sex hormones in postmenopausal women.

Effects of dietary supplementation with isoflavones from red clover on ambulatory blood pressure and endothelial function in postmenopausal type 2 diabetes.

Effects of supplementation with purified red clover (Trifolium pratense) isoflavones on plasma lipids and insulin resistance in healthy premenopausal women.

Effects of Trifolium pratense on the climacteric and sexual symptoms in postmenopause women.

Improvement of postmenopausal depressive and anxiety symptoms after treatment with isoflavones derived from red clover extracts.

Induction of apoptosis in low to moderate-grade human prostate carcinoma by red clover-derived dietary isoflavones.

Influence of red clover-derived isoflavones on serum lipid profile in postmenopausal women.

Isoflavones from red clover (Promensil) significantly reduce menopausal hot flush symptoms compared with placebo.

Isoflavones from red clover improve systemic arterial compliance but not plasma lipids in menopausal women.

Modest protective effects of isoflavones from a red clover-derived dietary supplement on cardiovascular disease risk factors in perimenopausal women, and evidence of an interaction with ApoE genotype in 49-65 year-old women.

No effect of red clover-derived isoflavone intervention on the insulin-like growth factor system in women at increased risk of colorectal cancer.

Nonhormonal management of postmenopausal women: effects of a red clover based isoflavones supplementation on climacteric syndrome and cardiovascular risk serum profile.

Phytoestrogen supplements for the treatment of hot flashes: the Isoflavone Clover Extract (ICE) Study: a randomized controlled trial.

Red clover (Trifolium pratense) isoflavones and serum homocysteine in premenopausal women: a pilot study.

Red clover extract (MF11RCE) supplementation and postmenopausal vaginal and sexual health.

Red clover isoflavones are safe and well tolerated in women with a family history of breast cancer.

Red-clover-derived isoflavones and mammographic breast density: a double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled trial [ISRCTN42940165].

The effect of isoflavones extracted from red clover (Rimostil) on lipid and bone metabolism.

The effect of red clover isoflavones on menopausal symptoms, lipids and vaginal cytology in menopausal women: a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study.

The effects of dietary supplementation with isoflavones from red clover on cognitive function in postmenopausal women.

The effects of dietary supplementation with isoflavones from red clover on the lipoprotein profiles of post menopausal women with mild to moderate hypercholesterolaemia.


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