Red Clover Supplement Review

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Red Clover
  Evaluated for:
Effectiveness Rating Effectiveness Rating
Menopause symptoms
-1 (Possibly Ineffective)
High cholesterol
-1 (Possibly Ineffective)
-1 (Possibly Ineffective)


  • Red clover is a legume that, like soy, contains phytoestrogens. The flowering tops are the active part of the plant. It has been used as an alternative to hormone therapy for treating menopause symptoms (including hot flashes and short-term memory), high cholesterol, and osteoporosis.
  • Chinese and Russian folk healers use red clover to treat asthma and bronchitis. Native American healers have used it to treat whooping cough and cancer. Red clover has also been applied topically to treat eczema and psoriasis.
  • Red clover is similar to soy, but differs in the particular type of isoflavone it contains. Both types are broken down into estrogen-like compounds. In animal studies, isoflavones stimulated bone formation. It may bind preferentially to estrogen receptors in the vasculature, brain, bone, and heart, as opposed to those in the ovary, breast, uterus, and adrenals.
  • Though red clover is generally regarded as safe, we do not believe the benefits outweigh the risks.


  • Not much evidence exists to demonstrate a benefit for humans.
  • Red clover isoflavones may have estrogen-like properties in the body. They may interfere with the ability to maintain normal blood sugars, insulin levels, and blood clotting. They may also affect estrogen and progesterone hormone therapy.
  • Because of its blood-thinning properties and estrogen-like constituents, red clover should never be used by women who are pregnant or nursing, or by those with a history of breast or uterine cancer.
  • Safety in children or in individuals with severe liver or kidney disease has also not been established.
  • One study showed that large quantities of red clover induced sterility in livestock.
  • No high-quality human studies support the use of red clover for any medical condition.

DOSAGE:If you elect to try red clover, we urge you to do so only under a physician's supervision.

CONCLUSION:We do not recommend the use of red clover in humans, whether for hormone therapy, high cholesterol, or osteoporosis.

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“Red Clover.” Natural Standard –The Authority on Integrative Medicine. Natural Standard, 2013.
“Red Clover.” Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database. Therapeutic Research Faculty, 2013. 8 November 2013.
Red Clover. EBSCO Publishing (2011) 1-8
Hooper, L. et al. Effects of isoflavones on breast density in pre- and post-menopausal women: a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. Human Reproduction Update (2010) 16(6):745-760
Maki, P. et al. Effects of botanicals and combined hormone therapy on cognition in postmenopausal women. Menopause: The Journal of North American Menopause Society (2009) 16(6):1167-1177
Geller, S. et al. Safety and efficacy of black cohosh and red clover for the management of vasomotor symptoms: a randomized controlled trial. Menopause: The Journal of The North American Menopause Society (2009) 16(6):1156-1166
Weaver, C.M. et al. Antiresorptive Effects of Phytoestrogen Supplements Compared with Estradiol or Risedronate in Postmenopausal Women Using 41Ca Methodology. J Clin Endocrinol Metab (2009) 94:3798-3805
Jarred, R. et al. Induction of Apoptosis in Low to Moderate-Grade Human Prostate Carcinoma by Red Clover-derived Dietary Isoflavones. Cancer Epideminology, Biomarkers & Prevention (2002) 11, 1689-1696
Del Giorno, C. et al. Effects of trifolium pretense on climacteric and sexual symptoms in postmenopausal women. Rev Assoc Med Bras (2010) 56(5):558-62
Wang, S. et al. Variable Isoflavone Contents of Red Clover Products Affect Intestinal Disposition of Biochanin A, Formononetin, Genistein, and Daidzein. J Altern Complement Med (2008) 14(3):287-297
Geller, S., Studee, L. et al. Soy and Red Clover for Midlife and Aging. Climacteric (2006) 9(4):245-263

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