Herbs with estrogen-like effects: Red Clover

Excerpt from Dr. Susan Lark's Healing Herbs for Women

Red clover can be beneficial for easing hot flashes and improving cardiovascular health. Red clover contains four phytoestrogens (estrogen-like plant compounds thought to have an effect on menopause-related symptoms such as hot flashes) called genistein, daidzein, biochanin, and formononetin, and has become increasingly popular among menopausal women here in the United States.

While some studies have questioned the efficacy of red clover, comparing it to that of a placebo, it does appear to help reduce hot flashes. According to a review of five studies published in The American Journal of Medicine, red clover helps to significantly reduce the frequency of hot flashes. 

Other research has shown that the herb is also beneficial for cardiovascular health. Both the aging process and menopause itself reduce the elasticity of major arteries (called arterial compliance). This tends to make blood vessels more rigid and less flexible. Over time, these changes can lead to high blood pressure, or hypertension, and increase the workload on the heart. In one placebo-controlled study reported in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism, red clover improved arterial compliance. Other known potential cardiovascular benefits of red clover isoflavones include the inhibition of platelet clumping or aggregation, which can clog arteries, and the herb’s action as a potent antioxidant, which also helps reduce buildup of “bad” LDL cholesterol in arteries.

Suggested Dosage: If you would like to try Red Clover, I recommend taking a standardized extract that contains 40 mg of total isoflavones. 

For more information about red clover or other herbs with estrogen-like effects, see my book Dr. Susan Lark’s Healing Herbs for Women available on AmazonAmazon-Kindle and Womens Wellness Publishing.

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