How can red clover help relieve symptoms of menopause? Isoflavones can have positive effects in reducing symptoms related to estrogen loss — such as hot flashes, night sweats, trouble sleeping, weight gain, bone loss, bone fractures or osteoporosis, cardiovascular problems, and inflammation of the joints.
Study results examining the effects of red clover in in treating menopause symptoms have been somewhat mixed, but many have shown improvements in symptoms within months, without many unwanted side effects.
A report printed in the International Journal of the Society of Gynecological Endocrinology explained that an unexpected result of the Women’s Health Initiative study was that researchers realized most conventional hormone therapy treatments (HT) given to menopausal women come with unwanted side effects and complications, so as a result there’s been an increase in interest in alternative, natural options for providing menopause relief.
One of the most popular uses of red clover is treating hot flashes. A 2016 meta-analysis concluded that “red clover consumption may decrease frequency of hot flashes, especially in women with severe hot flashes (≥ 5 per day).”
A random, double-blind study evaluated the effects of phytoestrogens, including red clover isoflavones (80 milligrams a day), on menopausal women compared to a placebo for 90 days. After the initial groups completed its treatment, the women were switched to receive the opposite treatment for a further 90 days to compare results.
The results showed that red clover supplementation significantly decreased the rate of many menopause symptoms such as hot flashes and night sweats, and had a positive effect on vaginal cytology, mean total cholesterol, low-density lipoprotein-cholesterol and triglyceride levels. Cholesterol and triglycerides were only slightly lower compared to placebo, but symptoms were lowered enough to impact the women’s quality of life.
Researchers have found that on average, adult women using red clover extract experience significant improvements in the health of their scalps, hair and skin within 90 days of use, including lowering signs of aging, collagen loss and hair thinning.
Another study published in Obstetrics and Gynecology International found that Trifolium pratens could help reduce symptoms like low libido, mood, sleep and tiredness.
It’s one of the most recommended menopause supplements. Other herbs used for menopause relief include dong quai, black cohosh and chasteberry.
Research demonstrates that the most common type of osteoporosis is the type associated with ovarian hormone deficiency during menopause. Thus, red clover makes a great addition to any osteoporosis diet.
A woman’s risk for developing osteoporosis goes up during menopause because estrogen is important for bone mineralization. Pre-menopausal women with low estrogen levels or low bone density may also benefit from red clover supplementation.
Studies using rats discovered that supplementation with isoflavones help significantly improve bone mineral content, bone turnover, mechanical strength of the tibia, femoral weight, femoral density, and prevents the rise of serum alkaline phosphatase levels that can contribute to bone weakness.
Abnormally low estrogen levels not only increase the likelihood of developing osteoporosis, but also raise cardiovascular risk, especially among postmenopausal women.
Studies have shown that red clover benefits arterial health, reduces the risk for atherosclerosis (hardening or thickening of the arteries), boost circulation, can help manage high cholesterol and may even help prevent coronary heart disease.
While most studies examining RC’s effects on heart health have been conducted using animals and not humans, research suggests that red clover may help protect against heart disease thanks to its isoflavones, which can increase HDL “good” cholesterol, keep blood clots from forming, and produce more flexibility in arteries.
Two of the oldest uses for red clover in traditional systems of medicine, including traditional Chinese medicine, include helping to prevent cancer and to “purify the blood.”
Researchers have found that isoflavones in Trifolium pratens seem to help stop cancer cells from multiplying or growing and also might be able to induce apoptosis (self-destruction of cancer cells). The types of cancer most likely impacted by red clover use include those related to hormonal changes, such as prostate, breast and endometrial cancer.
On the other hand, there’s still more to learn about how red clover and isoflavones are connected to natural cancer prevention. At this time, experts indicate there’s still some unknowns when it comes to understanding all of estrogen’s effects on breast cancer, so people with a history or high risk for breast cancer are advised not to use red clover until more research is conducted.
There’s some evidence that isoflavones may be helpful for slowing down signs of aging on the skin, as well as lowering inflammatory skin conditions like psoriasis, eczema and various rashes.
Studies over the past several decades show that red clover’s effects on estrogen levels give it most of its anti-inflammatory, UV protective, collagen-boosting and wound-healing potentials. In older adults, red clover reduces the effects of skin aging induced by estrogen deprivation and can help boost collagen production.
Other reports have shown that red clover benefits for skin include clinically treating wounds or burns and improving skin elasticity, thickness and hydration — plus possibly reducing the appearance of pore size and signs of aging.
Is red clover good for hair growth? According to some research, it’s been shown to boost the health of not only skin follicles, but also the scalp and nails, too. While studies are limited, some findings suggest that applying products containing red clover extract to the scalp might increase hair growth in people with hair loss (alopecia), especially postmenopausal women.
Trifolium pratens extract and tea is used for prevention and treatment of respiratory conditions like whooping cough, colds, asthma and bronchitis. It may help to reduce discomfort during illness, and has the ability to loosen phlegm.
Because it can potentially calm bronchial spasms, improve sleep quality, and help flush extra mucus and fluids from the respiratory system, it’s beneficial to try as soon as you feel an illness coming on.