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Red Clover

Botanical name: Trifolium pratense

This plant grows in Europe and North America. The flowering tops are used in botanical medicine. Another plant, white clover, grows in similar areas. Both have white arrow-shaped patterns on their leaves.

Uses

Used for Amount Why
Menopause 80 mg of isoflavones daily Red clover is an herb with weak estrogen-like actions similar to soy. In one study, isoflavones from red clover reduced the frequency of hot flashes in postmenopausal women.
Osteoporosis Take an extract supplying 26 mg of biochanin A, 16 mg of formononetin, 1 mg of genistein, and 0.5 mg of daidzein per day In one study, supplementing with isoflavones from red clover reduced the amount of bone loss from the spine by 45%, compared with a placebo.


How It Works

Red clover is known as an alterative agent—in other words, one that produces gradual beneficial changes in the body, usually by improving nutrition; also known as a “blood cleanser.” It is a traditional remedy for psoriasis and eczema. However, the mechanism of action and constituents responsible for red clover’s purported benefit in skin conditions are unknown.

Modern research has revealed that red clover also contains high amounts of isoflavones, such as biochanin A, formononetin, and genistein, which have weak estrogen-like properties. Modern research has focused on a red clover extract high in isoflavones as a possible treatment for symptoms associated with menopause and cardiovascular health in menopausal women. In a double-blind study, administration of 80 mg of isoflavones per day from red clover reduced the frequency of hot flashes in postmenopausal women. The benefit was noticeable after 4 weeks of treatment and became more pronounced after a total of 12 weeks. Another double-blind trial found that red clover improved cardiovascular function in menopausal women. Various laboratory studies suggest red clover isoflavones may help prevent prostate cancer. In another case study, use of red clover by a man with prostate cancer led to noticeable anticancer effects in his prostate after the cancer was surgically removed. Although the isoflavones in red clover may help prevent certain forms of cancer (for example, breast and prostate), further studies are needed before red clover is recommended for cancer patients.

Side Effects

Nonfermented red clover is relatively safe. However, fermented red clover may cause bleeding and should be avoided. Red clover supplements should be avoided by pregnant or breast-feeding women and their safety has not been established in young children and infants.

Interactions with Supplements, Foods, & Other Compounds

At the time of writing, there were no well-known interactions with this supplement.


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