Red Clover & The Menopause | FutureYou (2024)

Red Clover & The Menopause | FutureYou (1)

Author Miriam Ferrer, PhD Last updated 16th May 2023

  • Health Conditions

Here we explore the origins and benefits of red clover, and how it helps with many of the symptoms of the menopause.

  • What is red clover?
  • Are there any side effects to red clover?
  • Can red clover supplements help with the menopause?
  • Red clover and cardiovascular disease
  • Summary

What is red clover?

Red clover (Trifolium pratense) is a flowering plant native to Europe, Western Asia and Northwest Africa. Its flower tops have been used in herbal medicine for many years.

The main chemical compounds found in red clover are isoflavones. These compounds are known as phytoestrogens; plant compounds that have a similar chemical structure to the hormone oestrogen1.

What are the health benefits and can red clover help with the menopause?

Red Clover & The Menopause | FutureYou (2)

The best known and researched benefit for red clover is its effect on alleviating menopausal symptoms such as hot flushes2. There have also been additional studies undertaken on menopause-related issues such as osteoporosis and hypercholesterolemia (high blood cholesterol levels).

Studies in menopausal women using 80mg of red clover isoflavones have reported statistically significant differences in the number of hot flushes per day in comparison with those taking a placebo. Interestingly, the effect seems to be more noticeable in women that suffered at least five hot flushes per day3.

Does red clover help you sleep?

A common side effect of the menopause is difficulty sleeping8. One sleep study compared the effect of red clover against a placebo. After 90 days the red clover group showed improved sleep9.

Is red clover good for hair growth and your skin?

Another common symptom of menopause is hair loss and skin dullness. Due to its oestrogen effect, the isoflavones present in red clover could help improve skin and hair condition. Studies have shown that red clover can help with skin ageing caused by oestrogen deprivation9. In the same study where they looked at the effect of red clover in sleep, women reported an improvement of skin condition, after taking red clover supplementation10.

Are there any side effects to red clover?

Studies show that most people show no side effects from taking red clover. However, in rare cases, mild side effects include headaches, myalgia and nausea6.

Does red clover increase oestrogen levels?

Isoflavones have a similar chemical structure to oestrogen, so they can weakly bind to the same receptors as oestrogen and do some of its work. Because of that, they can affect the endocrine (hormonal) pathway and increase estradiol (one of the forms of oestrogen). Multiple studies have shown that red clover supplementation can increase estradiol levels in menopausal women4.

Does red clover imbalance your hormones?

As isoflavones have an oestrogen-like effect and can increase estradiol levels, they could, in theory, cause hormonal imbalance. However, studies have shown that red clover supplementation does not have a significant effect on other hormones in the body4.

Does red clover cause weight loss?

Since isoflavones can influence estradiol levels, they could cause weight gain. However, a human study of 93 post-menopausal women did not report any weight gain while taking red clover5.

Can red clover supplements help with the menopause?

Red Clover & The Menopause | FutureYou (3)

Yes they can. When looking for an effective red clover supplement you should always look carefully at the amount of isoflavones, as these are the active components in the supplement.

It's important to know that due to its estrogenic activity, red clover should not be taken by pregnant or breastfeeding women, or by children.

Red clover should also not be taken by women who are using contraceptive drugs, such as birth control pills. The isoflavones in the red clover could compete with the oestrogen in the contraceptive, decreasing its effect.

Women who are using HRT (hormone replacement therapy) should not take red clover products, as it could interfere with the effects of the therapy.

Like many herbal products containing flavonoids, red clover can potentially interact with medications. Therefore you should consult with your doctor or pharmacist before taking red clover supplements, particularly if you are taking:

  • Warfarin and similar anticoagulants7
  • Medications metabolised by the liver, such as omeprazole or diazepam

Red clover and cardiovascular disease

A systematic review was undertaken recently, 12 which looked at a number of studies on the link between red clover and the possible effects on cardiovascular disease in menopausal women. The outcome suggested that red clover supplementation may have a favourable impact on cardiovascular health by improving lipid profiles and reducing the risk of atherosclerosis in menopausal women. It highlighted the potential of red clover in managing cardiovascular risk factors, such as elevated cholesterol levels and oxidative stress, which are commonly associated with menopause. These promising results provide insights into the potential role of red clover as a natural remedy to support cardiovascular health during the menopausal transition.

Summary

Red clover has been used in folk medicine for treating several disorders, in particular helping with menopausal symptoms such as hot flushes. Although scientific evidence is not conclusive, it is a popular supplement among women looking for alternative means of dealing with the symptoms of the menopause.

References

1. Andres S, Hansen U, Niemann B, Palavinskas R, Lampen A. Determination of the Isoflavone Composition and Estrogenic Activity of Commercial Dietary Supplements Based on Soy or Red Clover. Food Funct. 2015; 6(6):2017-2025.

2. Chen MN , Lin CC , Liu CF. Efficacy of phytoestrogens for menopausal symptoms: a meta-analysis and systematic review. Climacteric. 2015; 18(2):260–269.

3. Myers SP, Vigar V. Effects of a Standardised Extract of Trifolium Pratense (Promensil) at a Dosage of 80mg in the Treatment of Menopausal Hot Flushes: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis . Phytomedicine. 2017; 24:141-147.

4. Ghazanfarpour M, Sadeghi R, Latifnejad Roudsari R, Mirzaii Najmabadi K, Mousavi Bazaz M, Abdolahian S, Khadivzadeh T. Effects of red clover on hot flash and circulating hormone concentrations in menopausal women: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Avicenna J Phytomed. 2015; 5(6): 498-511.

5. Howes JB, Sullivan D, Lai N, Nestel P, Pomeroy S, West L, Eden JA, Howes L. The effects of dietary supplementation with isoflavones from red clover on the lipoprotein profiles of post menopausal women with mild to moderate hypercholesterolaemia . Atherosclerosis. 2000; 152(1):143-147.

6. .Geller SE, Studee L. Soy and red clover for mid-life and aging. Climacteric. 2006; 9(4):245-263.

7. KGe B, Zhang Z, Zuo Z. Updates on the clinical evidenced herb-warfarin interactions. Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2014; 2014:957362.

8. Santoro N, Epperson CN, Matthews SB. Menopausal symptoms and their management. Endocrinol Metab Clin North Am. 2015; 44(3): 497-515.

9. Circosta C, De Pasquale R, Palumbo DR, Samperi S, Occhiuto F. Effects of isoflavones from red clover (Trifolium pratense) on skin changes induced by ovariectomy in rats. Phytother Res. 2006; 20(1):1096-1099

10. Lipovac M, Chedraui P, Gruenhut C, Gocan A, Kurz C, Neuber B, Imhof M. Effect of red clover isoflavones over skin, appendages, and mucosal status in postmenopausal women. Obstet Gynecol Int. 2011; 2011:949302.

11. Hüser S, Guth S, Joost HG, Soukup ST, Kreienbrock L, Diel P, Lachenmeier DW, Eisenbrand G, Vollmer G, Nöthlings U, Marko D, Mally A, Grune T, Lehmann L, Steinberg P, Kulling SE. Effects of isoflavones on breast tissue and the thyroid hormone system in humans: a comprehensive safety evaluation. Arch Toxicol. 2018; 92(9):2703-2748

12. Blaszczuk A, Baranska A, Kadays W, Malm M, Jack M.E, Religioni U, Wrobel R, Herda J, Polz-Dacewicz M. Role of Phytoestrogen-Rich Bioactive Substances ( Linum usitatissimum L., Glycine max L., Trifolium pratense L.) in Cardiovascular Disease Prevention in Postmenopausal Women: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis.

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Red Clover & The Menopause | FutureYou (2024)

FAQs

Does red clover help with menopause? ›

Modern scientific tests have shown that red clover contains isoflavones, plant-based chemicals that produce estrogen-like effects in the body. Isoflavones have shown potential in the treatment of several conditions associated with menopause, such as hot flashes, cardiovascular health, and osteoporosis.

Is red clover a good estrogen replacement? ›

Red clover might act like estrogen, which could affect hormone balances during pregnancy or breast-feeding. Don't use it. Hormone-sensitive conditions such as breast cancer, uterine cancer, ovarian cancer, endometriosis, or uterine fibroids: Red clover might act like estrogen.

Does red clover help you lose weight? ›

Red Clover Tea Benefits Weight Loss

Red clover tea has also been linked to weight loss. One study found that individuals who drank red clover tea twice a day for 6 weeks lost more body fat than those who did not drink the tea. The researchers believe this effect is due to the presence of polyphenols in red clover.

Can red clover cause weight gain? ›

Does red clover cause weight loss? Since isoflavones can influence estradiol levels, they could cause weight gain. However, a human study of 93 post-menopausal women did not report any weight gain while taking red clover5.

Who should not take red clover? ›

Though generally recognized as safe, red clover has minor estrogenic properties and should be avoided by those who are pregnant or breastfeeding, as well as people with bleeding disorders or who take hormone replacement therapy or other medications.

What is the number one herb for menopause? ›

1. Black Cohosh (Cimicifuga racemosa) Native to North America, black cohosh is often hailed as the go-to herb for menopause relief.

Which is better, black cohosh or red clover? ›

Herbal remedies such as red clover contain plant hormones that can act in a similar way to oestrogen, while black cohosh is believed to balance oestrogen and progestogen levels. These may help with some menopause symptoms but this is not supported by scientific evidence.

How quickly does red clover work? ›

How long does it take for Red Clover to work? This may depend on what you are taking Red Clover for. Some studies have had effective results in as little as 4 weeks, others went on for 12 weeks.

What does red clover do for hair? ›

A scientifically proven hair-friendly extract, it is very effective in maintaining normal hair growth. The regular application of red clover extract ensures growth of hair follicles, reduces hair fall and strengthens its liveliness.

Is red clover hard on the liver? ›

ConclusionRed clover isoflavones has protective effect on liver function and could reduce inflammatory response of liver in rats with non-alcoholic fatty liver.

Does red clover increase collagen? ›

Indeed, red clover is particularly concentrated in plant estrogen, also known as isoflavones, which improves the skin in numerous ways, including by stimulating the skin's natural collagen production system, increasing the skin's thickness, and improving the skin's moisture levels.

Does red clover make you pee? ›

Research suggests red clover acts like a natural diuretic, meaning it increases urine production and balances fluid levels in the body. It's also believed to improve immune function by helping the body get rid of excess waste, mucus (acting like an expectorant) and toxins that can accumulate in the body.

What's the best drink for menopause? ›

10 teas for menopause relief
  • Chasteberry tree. ...
  • Red raspberry leaf. ...
  • Red clover. ...
  • Dong quai. ...
  • Valerian root. ...
  • Licorice. ...
  • Green tea. ...
  • Ginkgo biloba. Ginkgo biloba has been found to contain phytoestrogens (similar to red clover) and can raise estrogen levels, naturally improving hormonal imbalances.
Sep 29, 2022

Is red clover anti aging? ›

While red clover (aka Trifolium pratense) may not be as well-known an ingredient in skin care as say, green tea or grape seed extracts, this plant has amazing antioxidant benefits to help maintain the youthful and plump appearance of the skin.

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