Red Clover For Menopause or Your Garden

Red Clover For Menopause

red cloverThe Vermont state flower, red clover has been used historically as a natural alternative to Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT). In an old Doris Day movie, we were admonished, Please, Please, Don’t Eat the Daisies. But eating this ground cover may turn out to be a wonderful natural remedy for many menopausal symptoms including hot flashes, night sweats and mood swings. Red clover also helps with high cholesterol and osteoperosis, two other aging issues. Better yet, perhaps you should plant some red clover in your garden because intense gardening may help all of these symptoms!

The Benefits of Red Clover Tea

  • An historical natural alternative to HRT
  • A natural source of phytoestrogens, an estrogen-like compound
  • A natural remedy for hot flashes, night sweats and mood swings
  • Lowers cholesterol
  • Prevents osteoperosis
  • A source of calcium, chromium, magnesium, niacin, phosphorus, potassium, thiamine, and vitamin C
  • Look great in your garden!

Red Clover Contains Phytoestrogens

clover fieldRed Clover belongs to the legume family (like beans or soy). It contains phytoestrogens, or compounds similar to female estrogen. You can absorb phytoestrogens by eating foods which contain them and they can also be absorbed through your skin. Rolling around in your sweet-smelling garden of red clover can now become your morning ritual!

Red Clover Tea and Extract Made From Blossoms

The red flowers, harvested in the spring (right now!), are brewed into a tea or you can use an extract of red clover blossoms. Afternoon tea party, anyone?  The garden is looking particularly lovely right now, all this red clover in bloom.

Side Effects of Red Clover – Use With Caution

Because red clover has a high phytoestrogen content, use it with caution.  Drink it only for short periods of time. Longer use may possibly lead to cancer of the uterine lining. No long-term research has been done, so there is still a lot of uncertainty about this.

Grazing On Red Clover Causes Infertility in Livestock

An interesting tutorial, e.hormone, found through the website at Tulane University, discusses phytoestrogens. Studies involving laboratory and farm animals, as well as wildlife that eats high amounts of phytoestrogen-rich plants, documented reproductive problems. Obviously red clover is a potent herb. If you are trying to get pregnant or have cancer, red clover is not a good herb to use.

Short-Term Research Says Red Clover Does Not Help Menopause

Several research studies, a 2012 trial from the Isfahan University of Medical Sciences, Iran (PDF) and another out of the College of Medicine, University of Illinois (PDF), have concluded that red clover does not help menopausal or post menopausal symptoms any better than creating a placebo effect. The measurements seem to vary depending on the research study, varying 45 to 60%. Why does the rate vary so much depending on the project. Who’s running this research. Men? One begins to wonder about their processes.  If many women seem to get relief from menopausal symptoms, if too much of this good thing can cause cancer, if animals that eat it have reproductive issues, how can its efficacy only be viewed as coming from the placebo effect?  Can cows experience the placebo effect?

Is Historical Use of Red Clover Tea by Women Proof Enough?

For centuries, the world over, women have been using red clover tea as a natural remedy for menopausal symptoms. I have a hard time believing that so many people over such a long period of time are making this up. The proof is in the pudding, no?  Oh, it’s in the tea.

Good, Unbiased Resources About Red Clover

It has been difficult to find traditional sources for information about alternative or natural remedies for menopause, including red clover. However, many of the alternative health organizations weigh in:

  • The National Center For Complementary and Alternative Medicine (The National Institutes of Health, U.S Department of Health and Human Services) seems to be the only institutionally-backed research being done on herbs and other alternatives in the U.S. Their site appears unbiased, and even open-minded in their viewpoint.
  • The UIC/NIH Center for Botanical Dietary Supplements Research, formed in 1999, is another good place to find interesting information about red clover and other herbs especially relevant to women’s health.

Whether you decide to grow red clover as a garden accent, or to use it to alleviate your menopausal symptoms is your choice.  But taking it in short duration may be just what Doris Day meant – don’t eat the daisies – eat the red clover instead.