Red Clover Extract (Promensil or Menoflavon) are isoflavones including the soy isoflavones in low amounts and some similar structures such as Biochanin A; used as a therapy for menopause, red clover appears to have minor yet unreliable benefits in improving health and reducing hot flashes.
Red Clover Extract (RCE) refers to any extract that is taken from the red clover plant, known botanically as trifolium pratense which is a good natural source of isoflavone molecules. There are a few brand name products of RCE (Promensil, Menoflavon, etc.) which isolate the isoflavones that are thought to be bioactive, and this mainly refers to two of the soy isoflavones which are also found in this plant (genistein and daidzein) and two structurally similar methylated isoflavones known as biochanin A and formononetin. Specifically, biochanin A is just methylated genistein (and can produce genistein in the body when it is ingested) whereas formononetin is methylated daidzein (can also produce daidzein in the body after ingestion). RCE, and its brand name products, are recommended for the treatment of menopause or asthmatic symptoms.
Despite limited scientific evidence, red clover is used to treat a variety of conditions.
Osteoporosis is a condition in which your bones exhibit low bone mineral density (BMD) and have become weak (3Trusted Source).
As a woman reaches menopause, a decline in reproductive hormones — namely estrogen — can lead to increased bone turnover and a decrease in BMD (4Trusted Source, 5Trusted Source).
Red clover contains isoflavones, which are a type of phytoestrogen — a plant compound that can weakly mimic estrogen in the body. Some research has shown a connection between isoflavone intake and a decrease in osteoporosis risk (6Trusted Source, 7Trusted Source, 8Trusted Source).
A 2015 study in 60 premenopausal women found that taking 5 ounces (150 mL) of red clover extract containing 37 mg of isoflavones daily for 12 weeks led to less BMD loss in the lumbar spine and neck, compared with the placebo group (9Trusted Source).
Older studies have also shown improvements in BMD after taking red clover extract (10Trusted Source, 11Trusted Source).
However, a 2015 study in 147 postmenopausal women found that taking 50 mg of red clover daily for 1 year resulted in no improvements in BMD, compared with the placebo group (12Trusted Source).
Likewise, other studies have failed to find that red clover can help treat BMD (13Trusted Source, 14Trusted Source).
Due to the large number of conflicting studies, more research is needed.
Red clover’s high isoflavone content is believed to help lower menopause symptoms, such as hot flashes and night sweats.
Two review studies found that 40–80 mg of red clover (Promensil) per day may help alleviate hot flashes in women with severe symptoms (5 or more per day) by 30–50%. Still, many studies were funded by supplement companies, which may lead to bias (14Trusted Source, 15Trusted Source).
Another study observed a 73% decrease in hot flashes within 3 months after taking a supplement containing numerous herbs, including red clover. Yet, due to the large number of ingredients, it’s unknown whether red clover played a role in these improvements (16Trusted Source).
Red clover has also shown mild improvements in other menopausal symptoms, such as anxiety, depression, and vaginal dryness (14Trusted Source, 17Trusted Source, 18Trusted Source).
Yet, numerous studies have shown no improvements in menopausal symptoms after taking red clover, compared with a placebo.
Currently, there’s no clear evidence that supplementing with red clover will improve menopause symptoms. Higher quality, third-party research is needed.
Skin and hair health
Red clover extract has been used in traditional medicine to promote skin and hair health.
In a randomized study in 109 postmenopausal women, participants reported significant improvements in hair and skin texture, appearance, and overall quality after taking 80 mg of red clover extract for 90 days.
Another study in 30 men showed a 13% increase in the hair growth cycle (anagen) and a 29% decrease in the hair loss cycle (telogen) when a 5% red clover extract was applied to the scalp for 4 months, compared with the placebo group.
Though promising, more research is needed.
Some preliminary research has shown red clover may improve heart health in postmenopausal women.
One 2015 study in 147 postmenopausal women indicated a 12% decrease in LDL (bad) cholesterol after taking 50 mg of red clover (Rimostil) daily for 1 year.
One review of studies in postmenopausal women taking red clover for 4–12 months showed a significant increase in HDL (good) cholesterol and a decrease in total and LDL (bad) cholesterol.
However, a 2020 review found red clover did not reduce LDL (bad) cholesterol or increase HDL (good) cholesterol.
Despite some promising results, the authors argued that many studies were small in sample size and lacked proper blinding. Therefore, higher quality research is needed.
Moreover, these studies were performed in older, menopausal women. Thus, it’s unknown whether these effects apply to the general population.
Many proponents of red clover claim it can help with weight loss, cancer, asthma, whooping cough, arthritis, and other conditions.
However, limited evidence shows that red clover helps with any of these illnesses.
Uses and dosage
Red clover is usually found as a supplement or tea using dried flower tops. They’re also available in tinctures and extracts. You can buy them in most health food stores or online.
Most red clover supplements are found in 40–80-mg doses based on clinical research and safety data. Therefore, be sure to follow the recommended dose on the package.
To make red clover tea, add 4 grams of dried flower tops (or red clover tea bags) to 1 cup (250 mL) of boiling water and steep for 5–10 minutes. Due to reports of side effects with 5 cups (1.2 liters) per day, it’s best to limit your daily intake to 1–3 cups (240–720 mL) .
Though many people enjoy red clover tea, no data shows it has the same potential health effects as concentrated forms of red clover, such as supplements and extracts.