Knowledge of plants with curative properties stretches back thousands of years. The widespread use of synthetic medicines over the past century pushed this knowledge to the sidelines, but interest in natural cures has seen a revival over the last few decades. Red clover is one of those very useful plants where the flowers, stems and leaves all have their medicinal applications. Its growing popularity largely rests on its value to women in the menopause and post-menopause stages of life. Natural health stores sell red clover tablets, or you can get it in tea and liquid form, and even unprocessed.
Changes in the body during menopause trigger unpleasant physical and emotional symptoms. For example, these women may experience hot flashes and sweats at night and suffer from breast tenderness. They also tend to suffer from feelings of depression and anxiety during this period. These low moods can develop independently of the physical symptoms, but changes in the body certainly affect their mood negatively. Red clover extracts contain high amounts of the daidzein and genistein isoflavones. These compounds help to alleviate menopause symptoms including reducing sweats and lowering depression and anxiety.
The cosmetic value of red clover also receives a fair share of attention. Deterioration in skin quality may occur during the menopause. The adverse changes include thickening and drying of the skin. Some link these problems with the failure of the woman's body to produce sufficient amounts of the estrogen hormone. Red clover contains compounds that have similar effects on the body to estrogen so advocates for its use argue that it can reverse the skin damage that a lack of estrogen causes.
Women during their menopause may find that their cholesterol levels go beyond the recommended boundaries. While healthy bodies need certain amounts of cholesterol, it is important to make sure that HDL "good" cholesterol is present in sufficient quantities while triglycerides and other "bad" cholesterol remain at low levels. Too high concentrations of bad cholesterol block arteries and this leads to heart disease. Red clover increases HDL in the bloodstream and hence reduces this serious risk.
When the human body's natural immune system works efficiently, its operations pass unnoticed. Patients often only realize they have an immunity problem when it fails to ward off infections and disease. The immune system guards the body against respiratory infection, colds and coughs and many other minor health issues. Eating the right foods, getting sufficient exercise, and enough sleep helps the immune system do its job, and so does red clover; its curative properties give the immune system a welcome boost.
Men and women share serious concerns over hair loss as they age. While this presents no threat to physical health, it frequently makes them depressed and anxious. The presence of high quantities of isoflavones makes red clover an excellent choice for a hair rinse. Users notice improvements in the condition of their hair, and there are some signs that it stimulates hair growth. A small sample of people experiencing male pattern baldness found that red clover extract helped to reverse this process.
Cases of diabetes seem to be on the increase in western countries. While there remains no alternative to insulin injections, there is significant interest in natural products that could lower glucose levels. Red clover extract is one of the substances tested, and the results suggest it might help to improve the body's sensitivity to insulin and achieve better blood sugar levels. However, since the findings come from laboratory tests on mice the benefits to human remain subject to speculation.
As female bodies produce lower amounts of estrogen in the menopause period, the chance of bone loss problems (called osteoporosis) tends to increase. Some studies suggest that the high content of isoflavones in red clover extract could restrain the actions of cells that damage bone tissue and even improve overall bone health. However, doctors do not consider research done to date sufficiently thorough and extensive to justify drawing any conclusions.
Judging by the increased use of painkillers in developed countries it looks like our tolerance for pain has declined over the generations. Although modern drugs are invaluable pain controllers, a growing awareness of side effects from overuse should dampen the enthusiasm to take them. This explains the search for natural alternatives, including red clover. The isoflavones this plant introduces into the body may lower the individual's sensitivity to pain. Tests on rats showed how red clover extract lowered their pain thresholds.
Anyone who has a serious burn or wound should go to a doctor or hospital for treatment, but it is possible to treat minor injuries with an ointment made from red clover. People find that applying this ointment to the damaged skin quickens the healing process. Those who suffer from eczema and other common skin conditions have also discovered how this ointment helps relieve symptoms. Tests on mice showed how a lotion containing red clover isoflavones reduced skin damage from exposal to ultra-violet light.
Fertility problems are one of the most sensitive personal issues. Advanced in medical techniques make it possible to treat many of these issues, but a significant number of couples continue to have trouble. It is easy to understand why possible natural cures arouse such interest. One of the claims for the powers of red clover concerns the way it improves fertility by boosting female estrogen levels. Other experts fear that its isoflavone content could reduce fertility. Research done on farm animals showed that feeding them red clover negatively affected fertility, but in the absence of laboratory tests on humans the argument over its benefits continues.
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