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Red Clover
What is it? Overview Usage Side Effects and Warnings

Red Clover Usage

Written by FoundHealth.


Effect of Red Clover on Infertility

Red Clover is believed to have compounds that are help promote hormonal balancing, thereby increasing the chance for fertility. Much of red clover's effect on the female reproductive system is...

Read more about Infertility and Red Clover.

What Is Red Clover Used for Today?

Evidence is inconsistent on whether red clover isoflavones are helpful for menopausal hot flashes , 1 with the largest trial failing to find benefits. 2 A small and poorly reported double-blind, placebo-controlled study provides weak evidence that red clover isoflavones might be helpful for cyclic mastalgia . 3 Although soy and, possibly, soy isoflavones 4 have been found to reduce cholesterol levels, two trials enrolling a total of more than 100 women failed to find red clover isoflavones helpful for this purpose. 5 However, in a double-blind, placebo-controlled comparative study of 80 people (both men and women), a red clover extract modified to be rich in biochanin did reduce LDL (“bad”) cholesterol, while one enriched in formononetin did not. 6 One very small double-blind study found hints that red clover isoflavones might slightly improve blood pressure in post-menopausal women with diabetes. 7 Preliminary evidence suggests that red clover isoflavones may help prevent or treat osteoporosis . 8 In a 6-month, double-blind study, use of red clover isoflavones failed to enhance or harm mental function . 9 There is no evidence that red clover can help treat cancer. However, its usage in many parts of the world as a traditional cancer remedy has prompted scientists to take a close look at the herb. It turns out that the isoflavones in red clover may possess anti-tumor activity in the test tube. 10 However, such preliminary research does not prove that red clover can treat cancer.

Red clover is sometimes recommended for the treatment of acne , eczema , psoriasis , and other skin diseases.


  1. Baber RJ, Templeman C, Morton T, Kelly GE, West L. Randomized placebo-controlled trial of an isoflavone supplement and menopausal symptoms in women. Climacteric. 2(2):85-92.
  2. Tice JA, Ettinger B, Ensrud K, Wallace R, Blackwell T, Cummings SR. Phytoestrogen supplements for the treatment of hot flashes: the Isoflavone Clover Extract (ICE) Study: a randomized controlled trial. JAMA. 290(2):207-14.
  3. Ingram DM, Hickling C , West L, et al. A double-blind randomized controlled trial of isoflavones in the treatment of cyclical mastalgia. The Breast 2002;11:170-174.
  4. Messina M, Gardner C, Barnes S. Gaining insight into the health effects of soy but a long way still to go: commentary on the fourth International Symposium on the Role of Soy in Preventing and Treating Chronic Disease. J Nutr. 132(3):547S-551S.
  5. Howes JB, Sullivan D, Lai N, Nestel P, Pomeroy S, West L, Eden JA, Howes LG. The effects of dietary supplementation with isoflavones from red clover on the lipoprotein profiles of post menopausal women with mild to moderate hypercholesterolaemia. Atherosclerosis. 152(1):143-7.
  6. Nestel P, Cehun M, Chronopoulos A, DaSilva L, Teede H, McGrath B. A biochanin-enriched isoflavone from red clover lowers LDL cholesterol in men. Eur J Clin Nutr. 58(3):403-8.
  7. Howes JB, Tran D, Brillante D, Howes LG. Effects of dietary supplementation with isoflavones from red clover on ambulatory blood pressure and endothelial function in postmenopausal type 2 diabetes. Diabetes Obes Metab. 5(5):325-32.
  8. Atkinson C, Compston JE, Day NE, Dowsett M, Bingham SA. The effects of phytoestrogen isoflavones on bone density in women: a double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled trial. Am J Clin Nutr. 79(2):326-33.
  9. Howes JB, Bray K, Lorenz L, Smerdely P, Howes LG. The effects of dietary supplementation with isoflavones from red clover on cognitive function in postmenopausal women. Climacteric. 7(1):70-7.
  10. Cassady JM, Zennie TM, Chae YH, et al. Use of a mammalian cell culture benzo(a)pyrene metabolism assay for the detection of potential anticarcinogens from natural products: inhibition of metabolism by biochanin A, an isoflavone from Trifolium pratense L.Cancer Res. 1988;48:6257-6261.


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