Trifolium pratense


Image I


Image II

Botanical Name: Trifolium pratense
Common name: Red clover, cow clover, meadow clover (Braun & Cohen, 2010, p. 785).
Family: Fabacae (Braun & Cohen, 2010, p. 785).
Parts used: Flower head and leaf (Braun & Cohen, 2010, p. 785).



  • Flavonoids: Formononetin
  • Flavonols: Isorhametin and Quercetin glucosides
  • Phenolic acids: Salicylic and P-coumaric acids
  • Volatile oils


  • Isoflavenoids: Biochanin A, Daidzein, Formonetin and Genistein
  • Caffeic acid derivities
  • Coumestrol

(Braun & Cohen, 2010, p. 785).



  • Oestrogenic
  • Antioxidant
  • Analgesic
  • Anti-cancer

(Braun & Cohen, 2010, pp. 786-785).


Traditional Use

Traditionally used as an alterative, seen to have a “blood cleansing” action and indicated in a number of skin conditions and as a treatment for cancer (Braun & Cohen, 2010, p. 788).


Indications (Contemporary)

  • Dysmenorrhoea
  • High blood pressure
  • High cholesterol
  • Reducing cancer risk: studies focus particularly on prostate cancer
  • Osteoporosis prevention: has been studied as an alternative to hormone replacement therapy, however results are inconclusive.

(Braun & Cohen, 2010, p. 786-788).


Preparation & Dosage

  • Infusion: 4g
  • Liquid Extract: (1:1 in 25% alcohol): 1.5-3.0mL/day

(Braun & Cohen, 2010, p. 788).


Cautions & Contradictions

  • Oestrogenic activity of isoflavenoids has been studied, with fertility compromising results seen in animal trials (Braun & Cohen, 2010, p. 789).
  • “Clover disease” has been seen in animal studies. Characterised by permanent loss of fertility, reduction in uterine response to oestrogen and luteinising hormone. This has not been seen in humans (Braun & Cohen, 2010, p. 789).
  • Theoretically phytoestrogens may compete with synthestic estrogens (Braun & Cohen, 2010, p. 789).
  • Use in pregnancy is not recommended
  • No known contraindications of flower (Braun & Cohen, 2010, p. 785).
  • Due to presence of phytoestrogens, the herb should be used cautiously in diseases characterised by high estrogen levels, such as endometriosis or uterine fibroids (Braun & Cohen, 2010, p. 789).



For skin problems, combines well with Yellow Dock and Nettles (Hoffmann, 1990, p. 227)


Braun, L., & Cohen, M. (2010). Herbs & Natural Supplements: An Evidence based Guide (3rd ed.). Chatswood NSW: Churchill Livingstone/Elsevier.

Hoffmann, D. (1990). Holistic Herbal. London: Thorsons

Image I: Sturm, J. (1796). Deutschlands Flora in Abbildungen. Retrieved from:

Image II: Everyday Nature Trails. (n.d.). Conwy Mountains. Retrieved from:

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