phytochemicals Phytochemicals

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Red clover

Red clover

Trifolium pratense

What is red clover?

Red clover is a perennial plant belonging to the Leguminosae family. The leaves consists of three leaflets (trifoliate), which have a V-shaped marking. The first true leaf is unifoliate with succeeding leaves being trifoliate. The plant derives part of its name from the pink to red flowers. The flower heads, located at the tip of stems, contain about 100 small individual flowers. The adult red cover plant can reach a height of up to 1 meter. The red clover seeds are 2 to 3 mm long.

Parts used

For medicinal purposes, mainly the flowers but also the leaves are used. The sprouted seeds of red clover are edible and have a crisp texture and nice flavor.


These are typical phytochemicals found in red clover: isoflavones, salicylates, flavonoids.

Benefits of red clover

Red clover has many medical properties. It is mainly used for the treatment of skin disorders and menopausal symptoms. The flowering heads of red clover increases the production of urine and bile and improves the blood circulation. Red clover is used in the treatment of skin disorders, such as eczema and psoriasis, breast cancers, gout and coughs. Red clover ointments are used to treat skin problems such as psoriasis and eczema.
Red clover contains high levels of isoflavones, which are effective for the treatment of menopausal symptoms, such as hot flashes, cardivascular problems and osteoporosis. The following isoflavones are present in red clover: biochanin A, formononetine, genistein and daidzein.

Other facts

Red clover is a wild plant, which originated from Asia but has spread throughout the world. Red clover is abundant throughout Europe, Central and Northern Asia and has also been introduced in North America. As the name bee-bread suggests, red clover produce a honey. The roots of red clover have special nodules that house nitrogen-fixing bacteria. These bacteria can grab nitrogen from the air and make it available to the plant.
Red clover is widely used as a grazing food for cattle, horses and sheep.

Other names

Trefoil, Wild clover, cow clover, purple clover, meadow honeysuckle, meadow trefoil, cleaver grass, marl grass, cow grass and bee-bread.

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