Why red clover works so well for many conditions related with hormones? The reason: Isoflavones. Yes, the very same natural compound that makes soy so helpful for women during menopause is also found in this plant – but in much greater abundance.
Indeed, the leaves of the plant are brimming with not just two isoflavones as found in soy – genistein and daidzein – but also two others known as biochanin A and formononetin. And it is these two additional isoflavones that many believe give red clover its outstanding estrogenic effects. In addition, it also works as an “adaptogen”.
So, when estrogen levels are low, it works like estrogen’s “understudy” – taking on not only its characteristics, but also some of its duties in our body. This includes attaching to estrogen receptors in a way that “tricks” the body into believing all is right in hormone-land! The end result: Fewer symptoms such as hot flashes and night sweats.
But if you remember, earlier in this book you learned that it’s not just low estrogen levels that can cause menopause symptoms. It’s actually the waxing and waning of our hormones that creates the most troubling symptoms. And this is where this clover can really shine.
Why? It’s the ability of this herb to adapt to what your body needs. So, when estrogen levels are too high, it becomes what doctors call a “down regulating” treatment. This means that by landing on and taking up a good portion of the estrogen receptors in your body, it keeps you from receiving too much of your own estrogen stimulation the way you might if those receptor sites were not blocked. In this way the clover may help keep your body from and estrogen overload. This is important for two reasons. First, it results in better hormone balance, which in the end is also what helps to alleviate many menopause symptoms, but particularly hot flashes and night sweats.
But even more importantly, it also means the clover may have some anti-cancer effects. By keeping receptors in the tissue of the breast and uterus from being over-stimulated by the presence of too much estrogen, it may help prevent or at least reduce the risk of breast and uterine cancer.
Although the clover is a legume, you don’t eat it the way would a soybean. That said, if you’ve spent any time at all in health food store, then you know there is no shortage of ways to ingest this plant. From teas, to infusions, to various dried red clover leaf products, there appears to be a wide variety of choice.
Unfortunately, choosing a red clover product is not quite as easy as it looks. A variety of factors including varying levels of the key isoflavone constituents, as well as the conditions under which the plants are grown, when in their life cycle they are harvested, and the portion of the plant that is used in the preparation (the leaves vs. the flowers vs. a combination of both) can impact effectiveness to an important degree. For this reason many believe the most reliable and the most effective form of the clover comes not as a food but as a supplement. And among those available, the one on which most studies have been done is “Promensil”.
By Colette Bouchez
More information you can visit the book The Hot Flash Solution.