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Introduction

Red clover is a plant with bright pink flowers. The flowers and stalk have compounds that are like female hormones. Because of this, red clover has been used to ease symptoms of menopause. It can be taken as pill, powder or extract. Red clover can also be made into a tea.

Dosages

40 to 80 milligrams once daily

What Research Shows

Likely Effective

  • Menopause —likely to reduce the number of hot flashes and improve symptoms A1-A13

Editorial process and description of evidence categories can be found at EBSCO NAT Editorial Process.

Safety Notes

It is likely safe to take red clover small doses for a short time. Not enough studies have been done to say whether it is safe to use for a long period. Pregnant or breastfeeding women should limit their use of red clover.B3

Interactions

Talk to your doctor about any supplements or therapy you would like to use. Some can interfere with treatment or make conditions worse such as:

  • People taking blood thinners should talk to their doctor before taking red clover. It may increase the risk of bleeding.B1, B2
  • People taking medicine to increase estrogen or on contraceptives to prevent pregnancy should talk to their doctors before taking red clover. It may interact with these medicines.B4

 

References

A. Menopause

A1. Lipovac M, Chedraui P, et al. Improvement of postmenopausal depressive and anxiety symptoms after treatment with isoflavones derived from red clover extracts. Maturitas. 2010;65(3):258-261.

A2. Lipovac M, Chedraui P, et al. The effect of red clover isoflavone supplementation over vasomotor and menopausal symptoms in postmenopausal women. Gynecol Endocrinol. 2012 Mar;28(3):203-207.

A3. Mainini G, Torella M, et al. Nonhormonal management of postmenopausal women: effects of a red clover based isoflavones supplementation on climacteric syndrome and cardiovascular risk serum profile. Clin Exp Obstet Gynecol. 2013;40(3):337-341.

A4. Lethaby A, Marjoribanks J, et al. Phytoestrogens for menopausal vasomotor symptoms. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2013 Dec 10;(12):CD001395.

A5. Gartoulla P, Han MM. Red clover extracts for alleviating hot flushes in postmenopausal women: a meta-analysis. Maturitas. 2014;79(1):58-64.

A6. Thomas AJ, Ismail R, et al. Effects of isoflavones and amino acid therapies for hot flashes and co-occurring symptoms during the menopausal transition and early postmenopause: a systematic review. Maturitas. 2014 Aug;78(4):263-276.

A7. Clifton-Bligh PB, Nery ML, et al. Red clover isoflavones enriched with formononetin lower serum LDL cholesterol-a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study. Eur J Clin Nutr. 2015 Jan;69(1):134-142.

A8. Chen MN, Lin CC, et al. Efficacy of phytoestrogens for menopausal symptoms: a meta-analysis and systematic review. Climacteric. 2015 Apr;18(2):260-269.

A9. Shakeri F, Taavoni S, et al. Effectiveness of red clover in alleviating menopausal symptoms: a 12-week randomized, controlled trial. Climacteric. 2015;18(4):568-573.

A10. Ghazanfarpour M, Sadeghi R, et al. Red clover for treatment of hot flashes and menopausal symptoms: A systematic review and meta-analysis. J Obstet Gynaecol. 2016;36(3):301-311.

A11. Abdi F, Alimoradi Z, et al. Effects of phytoestrogens on bone mineral density during the menopause transition: a systematic review of randomized, controlled trials. Climacteric. 2016 Dec;19(6):535-545.

A12. Myers SP, Vigar V. Effects of a standardized extract of Trifolium pretense (Promensil) at a dosage of 80mg in the treatment of menopausal hot flushes: A systematic review and meta-analysis. Phytomedicine. 2017;24:141-147.

A13. Lambert MNT, Thorup AC, et al. Combined Red Clover isoflavones and probiotics potently reduce menopausal vasomotor symptoms. PLoS One. 2017 Jun 7;12(6):e0176590.

B. Safety

B1. Heck AM, DeWitt BA, Lukes AL. Potential interactions between alternative therapies and warfarin. Am J Health Syst Pharm. 2000 Jul 1;57(13):1221-7; quiz 1228-30. Review. PubMed PMID: 10902065.

B2. Abebe W. Herbal medication: potential for adverse interactions with analgesic drugs. J Clin Pharm Ther. 2002 Dec;27(6):391-401. Review. PubMed PMID: 12472978.

B3. Nelsen J, Ulbricht C, Barrette EP, Sollars D, Tsourounis C, Rogers A, Basch S, Hashmi S, Bent S, Basch E. Red clover (Trifolium pratense) monograph: a clinical decision support tool. J Herb Pharmacother. 2002;2(3):49-72. PubMed PMID: 15277090.

B4. Huntley A. Drug-herb interactions with herbal medicines for menopause. J Br Menopause Soc. 2004 Dec;10(4):162-5. Review. PubMed PMID: 15667753.

Last reviewed July 2019 by EBSCO NAT Review Board Eric Hurwitz, DC  Last Updated: 3/30/2020