Does Red Clover Work?
Many people may wonder, "Does red clover work?" Some small studies have suggested that red clover may help to alleviate symptoms of menopause. However, larger studies have shown that red clover is ineffective for this use. More research is necessary to prove red clover's effectiveness on treating menopausal symptoms or any other possible conditions (such as osteoporosis, PMS, and high cholesterol).
Red clover (Trifolium pratense) is an herbal remedy that is frequently used to treat the symptoms of menopause. In addition to this use, red clover is sometimes claimed to be beneficial for the following uses:
- Preventing cancer
- Treating osteoporosis
- Treating premenstrual syndrome (PMS)
- Treating high cholesterol
- Helping with infertility
- Treating breast pain and tenderness related to the menstrual cycle.
None of the red clover uses are supported with convincing, reliable scientific evidence. For instance, although some small studies have suggested that red clover may be effective for natural menopause relief, larger studies have shown that it is ineffective for this use. Studies have also suggested that red clover is not effective for treating high cholesterol.
There is absolutely no scientific evidence suggesting that red clover is effective for infertility. In fact, a diet high in red clover has been shown to cause infertility in animals.
Early studies suggest that red clover may be useful for treating breast pain and tenderness (related to the menstrual cycle) and osteoporosis. However, larger and more convincing studies are necessary before red clover can be recommended for these uses.
Because red clover contains isoflavones (also known as phytoestrogens), some people wonder if red clover could either prevent cancer or possibly cause cancer. Studies indicate that the dietary intake of isoflavones in middle-age women living in Western cultures (such as the United States) does not seem to affect breast cancer rates either way. However, until more information is available, red clover should not be used in people with a history of cancer, especially estrogen-sensitive cancers.