Red Clover

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Red clover is considered one of the richest sources of isoflavones, water-soluble substances that act like estrogens (known generically as phytoestrogens). This is why red clover is used as a remedy for hot flushes, PMS, breast enlargement and health, as well as in reducing cholesterol, improving urine production and blood circulation, preventing osteoporosis, reducing the risk of blood clots, arterial plaque and the development of benign prostatic hyperplasia.


Estrogenic effect

There have been studies that have looked at an isoflavone extract from red clover and the results suggested that it can significantly reduce hot flushes in women during menopause. Also, given that menopause can increase women's risk of osteoporosis (significant bone loss), some studies show that isoflavone extract from red clover may slow bone loss and even boost mineral density in premenopausal or perimenopausal women.

The reason could be the oestrogenic effect of the isoflavones in red clover, and red clover may also have a direct effect by preventing damage to existing bone mass. This bone-strengthening effect, however, has not been observed in men or post-menopausal women.

Because it contains isoflavones, which are part of a larger group of plant substances called phytoestrogens (plant-derived oestrogens), red clover is often used to relieve PMS symptoms.

Isoflavones are similar in form to the female hormone, oestrogen. They therefore bind to the estrogen receptors in the body, especially those in the bladder, blood vessels, bones and heart. This property also helps reduce the risk of developing endometrial (uterine) cancer, which is dependent on oestrogen. In addition, results from a review of nearly 1000 women show that red clover can affect an enzyme known to promote the progression of endometrial cancer.

Benign prostatic hyperplasia

Red clover may block enzymes thought to promote prostate cancer in men. It has been shown to have a definite effect in limiting the development of benign prostatic hyperplasia, a non-cancerous tumour of the prostate gland. An enlarged prostate can influence the flow of urine in men, making it weaker or interrupted, favouring urine leakage or creating the sensation of urination even after emptying the bladder. For most men, enlargement of the prostate is a phenomenon that naturally occurs with advancing age.

Cardiovascular benefits

Red clover is believed to prevent heart disease in several ways. Although the results of human studies are not yet definitive, some show that taking red clover can lower levels of 'bad' cholesterol (LDL) and raise levels of 'good' cholesterol (HDL) in the body. In addition, red clover may encourage bile acid secretion. As cholesterol is a major component of bile acid, more bile acid production means more cholesterol used and less released into the body.

In addition, clover also contains small amounts of substances called coumarins, which prevent thickening and clotting of the blood. Thus, the possibility of blood clots and arterial plaque can be reduced. Plaque is an accumulation of blood cells, fats and other substances that build up in the blood vessels, reducing or blocking blood circulation. Red clover helps arteries stay strong and flexible (a quality called 'arterial elasticity'), and can prevent some plaque deposits that can lead to heart attack or stroke.

It has also been found to help stop smoking.



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