Red Clover-Trifolium pratense

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Red Clover Quick Facts
Name: Red Clover
Scientific Name: Trifolium pratense
Origin Europe, Western Asia and Northwest Africa but now have naturalized and introduced in various parts of the world.
Colors Pink, purple or red (Flower)
Shapes Globose or ovoid; Diameter: 2 ½ to 4 cm (Flower)
Taste Slightly sweet
Health benefits Reduce hypertension, Enhance immunity, Menstruation, Prevents cancer, Lowers cholesterol
More facts about Red Clover
Trifolium pretense, commonly known as Red clover, is a perennial herbaceous flowering plant in the family Fabaceae. It grows satisfactorily in the cool climates and well drained soils. It is native to Europe, Western Asia and Northwest Africa but now have been naturalized and introduced in various parts of the world. Medium (double cut) and Mammoth (single cut) are the two varieties of Red clover. Other common names for this species are: Beebread, Chilean Clover, Mammoth Clover, Meadow Clover, Meadow Trefoil, Purple Clover, Red Clover and Sweet Kitty Clover. It could be found in dry or wet grasslands, meadows, field borders, forest margins, paths, pastures and roadsides. The flowers of Red clover are pollinated by the bumblebees than honey bees.

The animals such as cattle feed on the Red clover. Medicinally, it is used to treat the health ailments such as whooping cough, cancer, skin inflammation and respiratory problems. Red clover is believed to possess diuretic and expectorant properties. Red clover helps to reduce cholesterol, balance estrogen, enhance circulation, urination, promotes immunity, bone health, lowers hypertension and supports cardiovascular health.


In 3rd and 4th centuries, Red clover was cultivated in Europe. It got introduced to USA in late 1600’s by European colonists. Red clover is considered as the oldest crops in the world which was grown since prehistoric times as forage. The flowers were used as the herbal healing. Ancient Romans, Greeks and Celts of prechristian worship it. Early Christians consider Red clover as the miniature for the Ireland’s symbol, shamrock and clubs in playing cards. Red clover was believed as a charm adjacent to witchcraft. Red clover represents industry in the Victorian times.

In early days, clover cordial was considered as the popular drink in San Francisco. The clover was consumed by the native Americans in various ways. It was consumed fresh before the flowering or cooked by making moisten layers of plant in a stone oven. It was boiled with grass, dandelions or pigweed by Apaches. There is a belief that Red clover has an ability to treat bites of insects and poisonous snakes. The plant was boiled in the water and the bitten areas were washed with it and crushed leaves were laid on the affected area. Ozarks people used the Red clover tea made with blossoms to cure the whooping, dry or irritable coughs.


Trifolium pretense is an herbaceous, pubescent-glabrescent and perennial plant which grows up to 91 cm high. Leaves are alternate, trifoliate, green, ovate-elliptic or obovate, 15-30 mm long and 8-15 mm broad. The stems are erect to ascending and 6-24 inches in height. Flowers are globose or ovoid, pink, purple or red in color and 2 ½ to 4 cm in diameter. The flowers turn to the pod which is ovoid or egg shaped. The seeds are one or two seeds which are ovoid, kidney shaped and yellowish-brown. The plant flowers April to November.

Health Benefits of Red Clover

The research shows that the isoflavones found in Red clover helps to treat the health ailments such as menopause, hot flashes, osteoporosis and cardiovascular health.The anti-inflammatory properties found in the flowers and leaves helps to prepare the powerful extract from red clover. The consumption in medicinal amounts is safe but the excessive consumption is considered as toxic. The greens are loaded with various nutrition. The detail description of Red clover is as follows:

  1. Reduce hypertension

The red clover include some properties has the ability to lower inflammation in the body especially in cardiovascular system. The study shows that the tea made from red clover helps to reduce the tension of blood vessels and arteries by reducing the blood pressure. It helps to prevent the cardiovascular ailments and coronary heart disease. (1)

  1. Enhance immunity

The intake of greens of red clover provides more vitamins C. Vitamin C helps to enhance immune system which promotes the white blood cells production. The intake of leaves as tea provides healthful amount of antioxidants which eradicates free radicals that can causes cell mutation and degenerative diseases. The red clover prevents both bacterial and viral infections. (2)

  1. Mensuration

Red clover possesses isoflavones which helps to maintain the level of estrogen and balance the hormonal shifts and also prevents the mood swings. It also helps to reduce the breast pain. It is helpful for the women with PMS and menopause which can cause the unpredictable and harmful change in the hormone level. The study shows that the Red clover extract reduced the hot flashes in the menopausal women. (3)

  1. Prevents cancer

Red clover is also essential for men to prevent the prostate cancer. The compounds in Red clover interrupt some enzyme which eliminates the development of prostate cancer. Decline in the size of prostate is good for the long term health though benign is some forms of the prostate enlargement.

The research is been made on the isoflavones found in Red clover to prevent and treat cancer. The evidence shows that the isoflavones prevents the development of cancer cells in the test tubes. The research shows that Red clover helps to prevent endometrial and prostate cancer. Further research is still going on, until that it is not recommended to use Red clover as cancer treatment. (4)

  1. Lowers cholesterol

The cholesterol levels increases the risk of strokes, heart attacks and atherosclerosis. The research shows that Red clover could reduce the LDL cholesterol in the body. Additionally, Red clover possess coumarins which helps the smooth flow of blood and promotes circulation by preventing cardiovascular distress and high blood pressure. (5)

  1. Detoxification

Red clover acts as a diuretic which helps to detoxify the body and eliminates the excess salts and toxins. Red clover increases urination and releases toxins, excess water and fat from the body.  (6)

  1. Cardiovascular conditions

The research shows that Red clover prevents the heart disease but does not have any strong evidence. The isoflavones found in Red clover helps to raise the HDL cholesterol level in the post and premenopausal women. The study shows that the intake of red clover by the menopausal women had flexible and strong arteries which help to prevent the heart disease. It might possess a blood thinning properties which assist in the formation of blood clots. It promotes the flow of blood.

  1. Prevent osteoporosis

During menopause, the levels of estrogen drop which increases the chances of osteoporosis development. The studies show that the Red clover extract has isoflavones which prevents bone loss and enhance the mineral density of bones. But more research is required regarding this subject.

Traditional uses

  • Red clover is used to treat skin ailments such as psoriasis and eczema.
  • It is used as a folk remedy for menopausal complaints, breast cancer, gout, chronic degenerative diseases, sore throats, mouth ulcers, dry coughs and whooping cough.
  • Flowering heads are believed as alterative, antispasmodic, antiscrofulous, aperient, diuretic, detergent, sedative, expectorant and tonic.
  • Red clover is used in Turkish folk medicine as expectorant, antiseptic, analgesic properties and as a treatment for rheumatic aches.
  • Red clover is effectively treats menopausal symptoms and irregular menses.
  • Red clover is used to treat cancer as well as respiratory problems such as asthma, whooping cough and bronchitis.
  • Red clover is used to purify blood by enhancing urine, production of mucous, enhancing circulation and stimulating bile secretion.
  • The folk healers of Russia used Red clover to treat asthma.
  • It is used externally for skin sores, eye problems and internally for water retention, cough and treatment for cancer.
  • Red clover was the vital ingredient in the late 19th and early 20th century.
  • It is used to treat eczema, breast cancers, ovaries cancer, gout, whooping cough and chronic diseases.
  • It is used as a holistic treatment for fibroids and breast tumors.
  • Red clover was used in traditional medicine of India as expectorant, deobstruent, sedative, antidermatosis, antispasmodic, anti-inflammatory properties.
  • Red clover is used to treat human maladies such as coughs, lymphatic system disorders and various cancers.
  • Red clover is used to treat breast cancer, ovarian cancer, endometriosis, uterine fibroids, uterine cancer or oestrogen sensitive conditions.
  • Red clover is used to treat PMS, high cholesterol, hot flashes, respiratory problems or skin inflammations such as eczema.
  • In Russia, Red clover was used to treat bronchial asthma.
  • Its topical application helps to speed up the healing process of wound.


  • Red clover possesses estrogen increases the chances of developing cancer on women of lining the uterus.
  • It is still unclear that red clover is safe for pregnant or breastfeeding women who are pregnant or breastfeeding.
  • One could experience rash, muscle ache, nausea, headache and vaginal bleeding with the use of Red clover.
  • As Red clover acts as estrogen, it may imbalance hormone during breast-feeding or pregnancy.
  • Red clover could increase the chances of bleeding.
  • The excessive consumption of red clover should be avoided.
  • One should not use Red clover having estrogen worsening condition.
  • The one with protein S deficiency should avoid the use of red clover.
  • One should stop taking red clover two weeks before surgery because it could increase the bleeding.
  • The one having blood thinning medications should not use Red clover because it increase the chances of bleeding.
  • One should consult a doctor or physician before using Red clover.
  • It is not recommended for those having ovarian or breast cancer.
  • The people with liver problems should also avoid the use Red clover.
  • Red clover should not be used with contraceptive pills.
  • The people with breast cancer or hormone sensitive cancer should also avoid red clover to be on the safer side.

How to Eat

  • The flowers are added to the salads or vegetable dishes.
  • It could be added to egg, cheese, vegetable, rice, soups and stews.
  • It is cooked like spinach.
  • The seeds are sprouted.
  • Red clover is used to make tea and sweetened with the Clover honey.
  • Young flower heads and leaves and are consumed raw or cooked.
  • Young leaves are added to salads, soups or cooked as spinach.
  • The powdered leaves can be sprinkled on the boiled rice.
  • The dried leaves provides vanilla flavor to the cakes.
  • The Clover flowers are added to lentil, clover risotto, cauliflower or clover cheese.
  • The dried or fresh flowers used to make herbal tea.
  • The seed pods and flowers can be dried and grounded into a powder form which is used as flour.
  • The sprouted seeds can be spouted are added to salads.
  • Roots can be consumed by cooking.

Other Facts        

  • Red clover is an excellent source of isoflavones.
  • Red clover is extensively cultivated as a pasture or fodder crop.
  • It is used as a manure crop which promotes the fertility of soil.
  • It helps to control the soil erosion.
  • Bumblebees and honey bees are attracted to the Red Clover.
  • Red Clover was introduced as a hay or pasture crop from Europe.
  • It is a food source for bees, squirrels, birds and small mammals.
  • The caterpillars of the butterfly: Eastern Tailed and Common Sulphur Blue eat Red Clover.
  • The adult butterflies such as Eastern Black Swallowtail, Monarch, Cabbage White, Painted Lady, Pearl Crescent, Red Admiral, Great Spangled Fritillary and Spicebush Swallowtail visit flowers of Red Clover.

Red clover recipe

Red clover Lemonade


  • 2-4 cups of Red clover blossoms
  • 1 liter of water
  • 2-4 tablespoons of clover honey
  • Juice of 1 to 2 lemons


  1. Boil water and before it boils, pour it on the clover blossoms kept in a jar or teapot. Allow it to cool down. Stir honey while it is still warm stir. When it cools, add lemon juice and let it chill in fridge.
  2. The few Red clover blossoms should be added to ice cube tray which should be filled with water and then freeze. When the drink is chilled, ice cubes are ready to serve.








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