Red clover may help to relieve the symptoms of menopause. This herbal supplement contains phytoestrogens, which are chemically similar to estrogen. Although some small studies have shown that red clover may be effective at relieving menopause symptoms, there is not enough evidence to confirm this. The substance is a "natural" product, but side effects are still possible and may include nausea, headaches, and rashes.
Red clover contains phytoestrogens, plant-based compounds that are similar to estrogen. Phytoestrogens (also known as isoflavones) are chemically similar to estrogen, which is probably why they have estrogen-like effects. In women with low estrogen levels (such as postmenopausal women), phytoestrogens act like weak estrogens. This is why, theoretically, red clover may work to relieve the symptoms of menopause or to treat osteoporosis (as estrogen helps maintain bone density).
In women with normal estrogen levels (most premenopausal women), phytoestrogens may have anti-estrogenic effects (as they can bind to estrogen receptors, but are weaker than regular estrogens).
Is It Effective?
There is not enough evidence to recommend red clover for treating menopause symptoms or any other use. Although some small studies have suggested that it may be effective for menopause treatment, other larger studies have shown it to be ineffective.
Written by/reviewed by: Kristi Monson, PharmD;Arthur Schoenstadt, MD
Last reviewed by: KristiMonson, PharmD;
List of references (click here):
Jellin JM, editor. Pharmacist's Letter/Prescriber's Letter Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database Web site. Available at: http://naturaldatabase.com/. Accessed January 9, 2008.
National Center for Complimentary and Alternative Medicine. National Institutes of Health. Herbs at a glance: red clover (June 2006). NCCAM Web site. http://nccam.nih.gov/health/redclover/. Accessed January 9, 2008.
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