Red Clover Benefits and Side Effects

Red clover (Trifolium pratense) is a perennial herb that grows in meadows throughout Asia, Europe, and North America. The flower is red but can also be shades of purple and pink. The flower head is the part of the plant used in herbal remedies.

Red Clover Benefits

Red clover, it contains compounds known as isoflavones that act as phytoestrogens. These two are precursors of the isoflavones genistein and daidzein, which are found in smaller amounts in red clover and also in soy. On dry matter basis, 100 gr red clover contains tenfold more isoflavones than soy. Also contains natural tocopherol, a form of  vitamin E which some researchers link to reduced risk of heart attack red clover is an ingredient in anti cancer formulas, such as Essiac and Hoxsey.


In a study, isoflavone intake improved arterial compliance, an index of the elasticity of large arteries, which is an important cardiovascular risk factor. Red clover contains the blood-thinning substance coumarin. May also have blood thinning properties, which keeps blood clots from forming. A double-blind controlled trial published in the “Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism”  demonstrated that red clover isoflavones help keep large blood vessels pliable.

Menopausal Symptoms

Some research have shown that red clover contains isoflavones, plant based chemicals that produce estrogen like effects in the body. Clinical trials showed that red clover supplementation decreased menopausal symptoms compared to placebo. Scientists at the “Vrije Universiteit Medical Centre” have proven that red clover can be an effective treatment for women who are in the throes of menopause. In a study published, 2002 issue of  ‘Maturitas‘ confirmed the use of red clover as effective in reducing the hot flash symptoms associated with menopause. One study, published in 2005 in “Gynecological Endocrinology”, found that isoflavone supplementation significantly decreased menopausal symptoms. In a 2007 review of the literature, the authors found evidence that women getting between 40 and 80 mg of red clover isoflavones a day experienced relief from hot flashes.

Anti Tumor

Red clover contains genistein, a compound that prohibits the growth of blood vessels into tumors, preventing the growth of the tumor as well. Red clover contains a form of vitamin E known as tocopherol, which is a powerful anticarcinogenic compound. Tocopherol helps to prevent the growth of cancerous tumors and lowers the risk of developing, particularly breast cancer. Some doctors believe that isoflavones increase the risk for a return of estrogen-dependent cancers, while others site evidence that suggests the isoflavones bind to the receptors that cancer cells require to divide and actually prevent or delay the return of cancer.

Prostate Health

Red clover may  block enzymes thought to contribute to prostate cancer in men. In a 2003 report published in the “Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicines“, Dr. Aaron E. Katz stated that “Isoflavone, particularly red clover extract, supplements are likely to be important therapies for promoting prostate health during the watchful-waiting period in patients with BPH.”

In a lab study published in 2010 in ‘International Journal of Radiation Oncology, Biology, Physics,’ experts found that red clover extracts inhibited the growth rate of normal prostate cells. A total of 20 men, were treated with a daily 60 mg dose of  isoflavone extract for a period of one year. Results indicate that the average PSA level was reduced by 33% after the 12 twelve. The approximately prostate volume showed a decrease from 49.3 cm3 to  44.3 cm3 after the 12 months. In a 2009 study of prostate cancer cells, researchers found that treatment with red clover led to a decrease in prostate-specific antigen.

Recent research, show that selenium with vitamin E, zinc and red clover subdue cancer-cell growth or reduce risk overall. The doctors gave 39 men with prostate cancer 400 IU of vitamin E per day, 200 mcg of selenium per day,  these two substances together or a placebo for about one month before scheduled surgery to remove the prostate gland. Examining prostate tissue samples after surgery from men who took selenium and vitamin E, experts found healthier, more normal activity in the gene that contains the code for a tumor-suppressing protein compared to that gene in the tissue of other men.

How to Use Red Clover?

Red clover extract are available as tablets, capsules, or in liquid extract form. Red clover extract; 40 – 160 mg per day (or 28 – 85 mg of red clover isoflavones). According to studies, 80 mg daily were sufficient to reduce menopausal hot flashes. Liquid Extract; (1:1): 1 ml 3 times per day. It can also be applied topically.

Red Clover Side Effects

Red clover should not be taken with oral contraceptives, progesterone, estrogen, compounds, anticoagulants. Consult with your doctor about potential interactions of red clover with medications.

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