Menopause. 2006 Mar-Apr;13(2):251-64. PMID: 16645539
Clinical studies of red clover (Trifolium pratense) dietary supplements in menopause: a literature review.
Red clover (Trifolium pratense L., Fabaceae) botanical dietary supplements have received much attention recently for their potential use in the treatment of menopause symptoms, maintenance/improvement of bone and cardiovascular health, and reported benign effects on the breast and endometrium. Literature searches of four computerized databases were run to identify clinical studies of red clover botanical dietary supplements. The manufacturer of the red clover products used in the majority of the studies was contacted for unpublished information and/or clarification regarding the chemical content of their products. Red clover studies were reviewed that pertained to women's health or menopause. Clinical evidence is presently lacking to support the efficacy of semipurified red clover isoflavone extracts for alleviation of climacteric vasomotor symptoms or reduction of low-density lipoprotein levels in the blood. Furthermore, the safety of use of red clover isoflavone supplements in patients with breast or endometrial cancer has not been established. Limited evidence suggests possible efficacy in maintenance of bone health and improvement of arterial compliance, a risk factor for atherosclerosis. This literature review covers red clover botanical dietary supplement clinical studies having a possible impact on the health care of mature and menopausal women, and provides historical perspective regarding the traditional uses of red clover.