Common Names: red clover, cow clover, meadow clover, wild clover
Latin Names: Trifolium pratense
- Like peas and beans, red clover belongs to the family of plants called legumes. Red clover contains substances called isoflavones. Isoflavones are phytoestrogens—compounds similar to the female hormone estrogen.
- Historically, red clover was used for asthma, whooping cough, cancer, and gout. Today, extracts from red clover are most often promoted for menopause symptoms, high cholesterol levels, or osteoporosis.
How Much Do We Know?
- Red clover has been studied in people, but the research hasn’t shown clear benefits for any health condition.
What Have We Learned?
- Studies on the effects of red clover on menopause symptoms such as hot flashes and on blood levels of cholesterol and other lipids have had inconsistent results.
- Only a small amount of research has been done on the effects of red clover on bone density in menopausal women, and the results have been inconsistent.
What Do We Know About Safety?
- Red clover extracts have been used in clinical studies for as long as 3 years with apparent safety.
- Women should not take red clover supplements during pregnancy or while breastfeeding.
Keep in Mind
- Take charge of your health—talk with your health care providers about any complementary health approaches you use. Together, you can make shared, well-informed decisions.
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- Abdi F, Alimoradi Z, Haqi P, et al. Effects of phytoestrogens on bone mineral density during the menopause transition: a systematic review of randomized, controlled trials. Climacteric. 2016;19(6):535-545.
- Ghazanfarpour M, Sadeghi R, Roudsari RL, et al. Red clover for treatment of hot flashes and menopausal symptoms: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology. 2016;36(3):301-311.
- Kanadys W, Baranska A, Jedrych M, et al. Effects of red clover (Trifolium pratense) isoflavones on the lipid profile of perimenopausal and postmenopausal women—A systematic review and meta-analysis. Maturitas. 2020;132:7-16.
- Red clover. Natural Medicines website. Accessed at naturalmedicines.therapeuticresearch.com on April 1, 2020. [Database subscription].
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