Red Clover

Other names: cleaver grass, cow grass, marl grass, purple clover, trefoil, wild clover

Scientific name: Trifolium pratense

Common names: Cleaver grass, Cow grass, Marl grass, Purple clover

Ayurvedic names: Vana-methika 

Chinese names: Hong san ye cao,   Hong che zhou cao ,  Hong shu cao (Taiwan),  Hong hua san ye cao, Hong che zhou cao (medicinal name).

Bangladesh names:

Arabic names:    البرسيم الأحمر (al barseem al ahmar)

Rain Forest names:

Family: Papilionaceae

Approximate number of species known:

Common parts used: Flower

Collection: May to september

Annual/Perennial: Perennial

Height: 1-2 feet

Actions:  Alterative, anti-spasmodic, depurative, degertant, expectorant, mild stimulant, nervine, sedative, tonic

Known Constituents:  Coumarins, cyanogenic, flavnaoids, glycosides

ternate picture

Constituents Explained:


Grows with several stems that come out of one root.  The stem is slightly hairy. The leaves are ternate. The leaves are oval, nearly all smooth and come to the end in a long point.  The leaves are usally a lighter colour in th ecentre. The flowers are red to purple with oval heads. It is native to Europe although it is cultivated in the US.  It’s often found in mountain meadows, the banks of streams and along sandy soil.

Traditional Use:

The American Indians used it as a food, although it can be hard to digest.  It has been used for respiratory complains such as whooping coughs and bornichal troubles.  Jethro Kloss called this “one of god’s greatest blessings to man.”1 It was popularised in the formula ESSIAC

Thought of as a blood cleanser, and to clear up skin complaints.  Used to clear the lymph system.

Its phytoestrogenic properties has seen it used in symptoms of menopause.  Its active ingredient is isoflavones, the same as Soy.

Has been used for chest coughs, and night sweats associated with infections.

Considered a general ‘alterative’ that can enhance many functions in the body, and promote an overall sense of wellbeing.?  Don’t like the word sense

It has been used as a vaginal douche.  Recently it has been used as an anticoagulant.

Clinical Studies:

A study evaluated the effect of isoflavones derived from red clover extracts (MF11RCE) over anxiety and depressive symptoms among postmenopausal women.

One hundred and nine postmenopausal women aged 40 or more were randomly assigned to receive two daily capsules of MF11RCE (80mg red clover isoflavones, Group A) or placebo of equal appearance (Group B) for a 90-day period.

After a washout period of 7 days, medication was crossed over and taken for 90 days more. Anxiety and depressive symptoms were measured at baseline, 90 and 187 days with the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale (HADS) and Zung’s Self Rating Depression Scale (SDS).

After receiving the MF11RCE compound the total HADS (anxiety and depression subscale scores also) and the total SDS scores decreased significantly. This effect was equivalent to a 76.9% reduction in the total HADS score (76% for anxiety and 78.3% for depression) and an 80.6% reduction in the total SDS score. 

After placebo, total HADS (anxiety and depression subscale also) and total SDS scores also decreased significantly in comparison to baseline but only equivalent to an average 21.7% decline.

Red clover derived isoflavones (MF11RCE) were effective in reducing depressive and anxiety symptoms among postmenopausal women.


Lipovac M, Chedraui P, Gruenhut C, Gocan A, Stammler M, Imhof M. “Improvement Of Postmenopausal Depressive And Anxiety Symptoms After Treatment With Isoflavones Derived From Red Clover Extracts.” 2010 March


Red Clover

Herb Name: Red Clover

Other names: 

Cow clover, 

Meadow clover, 

Wild clover

Latin name: Trifolium pratense

Family: Fabaceae/Leguminosae

Common part used: 


Red clover is a perennial which belongs to the family of Leguminosae. Other names for red clover are cow clover, purple clover and bee-bread. It’s a perennial with trifoliate leaves and pink to red flowers. Red clover has hairy stemmed to prevent ants from easily climbing the stems.

The plant derives its name in part from its flowers, which are fragrant and can range in color from white to a dark red.

Red clover is a wild and very common plant. Red clover is abundant throughout Europe, Central and Northern Asia from the Mediterranean to the Arctic Circle. Red clover has been naturalized to grow in North America. As the other name, “bee-bread” suggests, red clover produces a honey but far less than white clover.

Red clover also grows well in grazing land where it binds nitrogen into the soil. Planting red clover will improve the soil because the roots have special nodules that house nitrogen-fixing bacteria. These bacteria can grab nitrogen from the air in the soil and make it available to the plant. When the red clover plant decomposes it makes that nitrogen available to the soil. 

Medicinal Uses: Red clover has many medical properties. The flowering heads of red clover improve urine production, circulation of the blood and secretion of bile. They also act as detergent, sedative and tonic. Red clover has the ability to loosen phlegm and calm bronchial spasms. The fluid extract of red clover is used as an antispasmodic and alterative. Red clover is used in the treatment of skin complaints (especially eczema and psoriasis), cancers of the breast, ovaries and lymphatic system, chronic degenerative diseases, gout, whooping cough and dry coughs. Red clover is one of the richest sources of isoflavones. Isoflavones are effective in treating several conditions such as hot flashes, cardivascular health and osteporosis. Red clover also contains minerals such as calcium, magnesium, chromium, potassium, and vitamins such as niacin, thiamine and vitamin C. Red clover ointments are used to treat skin problems such as psoriasis and eczema.

Historically, red clover has been used for cancer and respiratory problems, such as whooping cough, asthma, and bronchitis. Current uses of red clover are for menopausal symptoms, breast pain associated with menstrual cycles, high cholesterol, osteoporosis, and symptoms of prostate enlargement.