Red Clover: Use it to Relieve Menopausal Discomfort
Hot flushes. Night sweats. Mood swings. Over half of women experience these life-disrupting symptoms during menopause’and 70 percent never find relief. Could red clover help?
Source: The Amazing Healing Powers of Nature, Reader’s Digest
Symptoms of menopause can be treated with red clover supplements
Red clover (Trifolium pratense) is a herbal remedy used to treat menopausal hot flushes and night sweats. You may also see red clover referred to as cow clover, meadow clover and/or wild clover’these are all the same thing.
How to take red clover during menopause
Many red clover supplements are available, some with standardized levels of isoflavones, the weak plant oestrogens that are clover’s active ingredients. Aim for 80 milligrams of isoflavones a day, the amount used in many menopause research studies.
Concerned about side effects? Studies lasting up to a year have found red clover to be generally safe to take, but it is not known whether it is safe for women who have had breast cancer or other hormone-sensitive cancers, or whether use for more than a year raises any health risks. If you have any concerns, discuss red clover supplements with your doctor first.
What makes red clover useful in treating menopausal women?
The plant hormones in clover flowers are weak oestrogens called daidzein, genistein, formononetin and biochanin A. They are similar to the phytoestrogens in soy. Intriguingly, women in Asia’where soy is a common food’report less menopausal discomfort than in the West. The oestrogens in red clover were discovered by Australian researchers in the 1930s when sheep grazing on large quantities of red clover developed infertility
Modern research and studies on red clover
When scientists from the Universities of Exeter and Plymouth in the United Kingdom reviewed 5 well-designed red clover studies in 2007, they reported a ‘marginally significant effect’ against hot flushes.
In 2005, scientists from Ecuador’s Foundation for Health and Well Being in the Climacteric gave 60 menopausal women a red clover extract or placebo daily for 3 months; women taking clover saw an 80% reduction in menopausal symptoms.
When 25 menopausal women with severe hot flushes and night sweats took a red clover extract for 12 weeks, symptoms eased by 46 percent, in a 2005 study conducted at the Functional Medicine Research Center in Gig Harbor, Washington State. Given these mixed results, it may be that red clover simply works for some women and not for others.
Other applications of red clover
Red clover may not be a single-use remedy; there’s early evidence from a 2009 lab study at Japan’s Biokenkyusho Research Laboratory that red clover may also maintain bone density.