Supplements and Herbs (XXVIII)

Red Clover Flowers (trifolium pratense)

An Effective Anticancer Herb?

Compiled from several sources and annotated by Healing Cancer Naturally © 2008

Red clover is one of the indispensable ingredients in both the Hoxsey and (eight-herb-formula) Essiac herbal “anticancer” teas. According to "In Concert Against Cancer" by Willow Older, October, 1998, “[r]ed clover is one of the world's oldest and most common natural cancer remedies. In fact, one study found that 33 cultures use the herb against the disease.”

Among the numerous herbs for cancer in existence, Jerry Lee Hoover N.D. of cancernaturalcure.com highly recommends red clover (the bulk red clover flowers, not the stem, roots [nor red clover capsules]). Dr. Hoover writes that red clover has been used in the US for over 100 years in cancer treatment and prevention and that he himself has used it for many years at his clinic where he has seen many individuals recover from cancer. It "is good for cancer on any part of the body".

Red clover apparently contains the following chemicals, vitamins and minerals: biotin, choline, copper, zinc, coumarins, glycosides, inositol, magnesium, manganese, selenium, vitamin A, B1, B3, B5, B6, B9, B12, B17, C, P. Red clover has also been "studied for anti-aids and anti-diabetic activity" (Foster, S.& Duke, J.A., “ Medicinal Plants” Houghton-Mufflin Company, Boston pg. 158, 1990).

Red clover (Trifolium pratense) also contains genistein, a compound that prevents new blood vessels from forming in a tumor. Compare angiogenesis.

Here are the instructions for using red clover flowers as an (adjunct) cancer treatment according to Jerry Lee Hoover N.D.:

Make a tea by bringing the water to a boil, removing from the heat and adding the herb. Let it steep for 20 minutes or longer. Use one to two teaspoons of herb per cup of tea. The best time to take the tea is at night before bed on an empty stomach. If you take it twice a day, then also first thing in the morning when you first get up on an empty stomach.

You can order the herb Red Clover from Frontier Herbs Phone 1-800-669-3275 or online at frontierherbs.com [as well as probably other places. Make very sure to get organic or wild-crafted quality].

The above-quoted Willow Older adds a warning that red clover “may create problems for certain cancer patients. For example, says Labriola, women being treated for breast cancer with the drug tamoxifen should avoid red clover because tamoxifen prevents estrogen from reaching a tumor, and phytoestrogenic compounds in red clover could undermine that action. In this case, it's possible red clover could feed, not starve, an estrogen-dependent breast tumor, Labriola warns.

Note by Healing Cancer Naturally: The substance that truly appears to deserve a warning, however, seems to be Tamoxifen. In case you should come across a general warning against using red clover in cases of breast cancer, according to the 2013 study "Soy, red clover, and isoflavones and breast cancer: a systematic review", "existing studies suggest that [red clover] may not possess breast cancer-promoting effects". As mentioned above, red clover is also an essential ingredient of the Essiac formula.

The scientific study of red clover is still new. Although its anticancer compounds make it an effective cancer-fighting food for some people, only further research will clarify red clover's future cancer treatment role (Cancer Research, vol. 48, no. 22).”

And according to healthgate.partners.org (excerpted):

“Although [red clover] has been used for many purposes worldwide, the one condition most consistently associated with red clover is cancer.

In the nineteenth century, red clover became popular among herbalists as an 'alterative' or 'blood purifier'. This medical term, long since defunct, refers to an ancient belief that toxins in the blood are the root cause of many illnesses. Cancer, eczema, and the eruptions of venereal disease were all seen as manifestations of toxic buildup.

Red clover was considered one of the best herbs to 'purify' the blood. For this reason, it is included in many of the famous treatments for cancer, including Jason Winter's cancer-cure tea.

Recently, special red clover extracts high in substances called isoflavones have arrived on the market.

These isoflavones produce effects in the body somewhat similar to those of estrogen, and for this reason they are called phytoestrogens (“phyto” indicates a plant source). The major isoflavones in red clover include genistein and daidzen, also found in soy, as well as formononetin and biochanin.

There is no evidence that red clover can help treat cancer. However, its usage in many parts of the world as a traditional cancer remedy has prompted scientists to take a close look at the herb. It turns out that the isoflavones in red clover may possess antitumor activity in the test tube.1,2 However, such preliminary research does not prove that red clover can treat cancer.

1. Cassady JM, Zennie TM, Chae YH, et al. Use of a mammalian cell culture benzo(a)pyrene metabolism assay for the detection of potential anticarcinogens from natural products: inhibition of metabolism by biochanin A, an isoflavone from Trifolium pratense L. Cancer Res. 1988;48:6257–6261.

2. Yanagihara K, Ito A, Toge T, et al. Antiproliferative effects of isoflavones on human cancer cell lines established from the gastrointestinal tract. Cancer Res. 1993;53:5815–5821.

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