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Red Clover

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What other names is Red Clover known by?

Beebread, Clovone, Cow Clover, Daidzein, Genistein, Isoflavone, Meadow Clover, Miel des Prés, Phytoestrogen, Purple Clover, Trebol Rojo, Trèfle Commun, Trèfle des Prés, Trèfle Pourpre, Trèfle Rouge, Trèfle Rougeâtre, Trèfle Violet, Trefoil, Trifolium, Trifolium pratense, Wild Clover.

What is Red Clover?

Red clover is a plant. The flower tops are used to make medicine.

Red clover is used for many conditions, but so far, there isn't enough scientific evidence to determine whether it is effective for any of them. It doesn't seem to work, though, for lowering cholesterol or controlling hot flashes in women.

Red clover is used for cancer prevention, weak bones (osteoporosis), indigestion, high cholesterol, whooping cough, cough, asthma, bronchitis, and sexually transmitted diseases (STDs).

Some women use red clover for symptoms of menopause such as hot flashes; for breast pain or tenderness (mastalgia); and for premenstrual syndrome (PMS).

Red clover is applied to the skin for skin cancer, skin sores, burns, and chronic skin diseases including eczema and psoriasis.

In foods and beverages, the solid extract of red clover is used as a flavoring ingredient.

Red clover contains hormone-like chemicals called isoflavones that seem to cause reproductive problems in certain animals. Experts think a diet high in isoflavones may have been responsible for reports of reproductive failure and liver disease in cheetahs living in zoos. In large quantities, red clover can cause sterility in livestock.

Possibly Ineffective for...

  • Weak bones (osteoporosis). Some early research suggests that taking red clover daily for 6 months increased bone mineral density and healthy postmenopausal women. However, most evidence suggests that taking red clover does not improve osteoporosis.

Insufficient Evidence to Rate Effectiveness for...

  • Hair loss (alopecia). Early research shows that applying a combination product containing red clover flower extract might increase hair growth in people with hair loss.
  • Enlarged prostate gland (benign prostatic hyperplasia). Some early research suggests that red clover supplements might improve some symptoms of an enlarged prostate. It seems to reduce nighttime urination.
  • Breast cancer. Early evidence shows that taking a specific red clover extract (Promensil) daily for one year does not increase breast tissue density, suggesting that it might not affect breast cancer risk.
  • Cancer of the lining of the uterus (endometrial cancer). Early research suggests that taking red clover supplements does not help prevent endometrial cancer.
  • High cholesterol. Most research shows that taking red clover extracts by mouth for 3 months to a year does not seem reduce low-density lipoprotein (LDL or "bad") cholesterol or increase high-density lipoprotein (HDL or "good") cholesterol in women who have moderately elevated cholesterol levels.
  • Breast pain (mastalgia). There is some early evidence that red clover might help relieve cyclic breast pain and tenderness.
  • Menopause symptoms. There are contradictory research findings about the effects of red clover on symptoms of menopause. Most research shows that taking red clover by mouth for up to a year does not reduce menopause symptoms such as hot flashes, although some research shows that a specific red clover product (Promensil, Novogen) might reduce severity, but not the frequency of hot flashes. Other research shows that a some forms of red clover might improve symptoms of menopause-related anxiety and depression. Overall, there is conflicting evidence with regard to its efficacy in symptoms of menopause, including sleep habits, night sweats, and improving anxiety.
  • Indigestion.
  • Lung problems (cough, bronchitis, asthma).
  • Premenstrual syndrome (PMS).
  • Sexually transmitted diseases (STDs).
  • Skin problems (cancerous growths, burns, eczema, psoriasis).
  • Other conditions.
More evidence is needed to rate red clover for these uses.

Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database rates effectiveness based on scientific evidence according to the following scale: Effective, Likely Effective, Possibly Effective, Possibly Ineffective, Likely Ineffective, and Insufficient Evidence to Rate (detailed description of each of the ratings).

Therapeutic Research Faculty copyright

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