Red Clover

Supplements

18/Description

About

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.

How it works

Red clover contains "isoflavones" which are changed in the body to "phytoestrogens" that are similar to the hormone estrogen.

Effectiveness

Possibly Ineffective
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.

Concerns

Likely safe

Red clover is LIKELY SAFE for most people when used in the amounts found in food

Possibly safe

It is POSSIBLY SAFE when used in medicinal amounts by mouth or applied to the skin.Red clover can cause rash-like reactions, muscle ache, headache, nausea, and vaginal bleeding (spotting) in some women.

18/Warnings

Warnings

Pregnancy and breast-feeding: Red clover isLIKELY SAFEwhen taken by mouth in amounts commonly found in food. However, it isLIKELY UNSAFEwhen taken by mouth in medicinal amounts. Red clover acts like estrogen and might disturb important hormone balances duringpregnancyor breast-feeding. Don't use it.

Not enough is known about the safety of red clover when applied to the skin during pregnancy or breast-feeding. Stay on the safe side and don't use it.

Bleeding disorders: Red clover might increase the chance of bleeding. Avoid large amounts and use with caution.

Hormone-sensitive conditions such as breast cancer, uterine cancer, ovarian cancer, endometriosis, or uterine fibroids: Red clover might act like estrogen. If you have any condition that might be made worse by exposure to estrogen, don't use red clover.

Protein S deficiency: People with protein S deficiency have an increased risk of forming blood clots. There is some concern that red clover might increase the risk of clot formation in these people because it has some of the effects of estrogen. Don't use red clover if you have protein S deficiency.

Surgery: Red clover might slow blood clotting. It might increase the chance of extra bleeding during and after surgery. Stop taking red clover at least 2 weeks before a scheduled surgery.

There isn't enough information to rate the safety of red clover when applied to the skin.

Interactions

Always consult with your doctor.
Moderate
Tamoxifen (Nolvadex)

Some birth control pills contain estrogen. Red clover might have some of the same effects as estrogen. However, red clover isn't as strong as the estrogen in birth control pills. Taking red clover along with birth control pills might decrease the effectiveness of birth control pills. If you take birth control pills along with red clover, use an additional form of birth control such as a condom.Some birth control pills include ethinyl estradiol and levonorgestrel (Triphasil), ethinyl estradiol and norethindrone (Ortho-Novum 1/35, Ortho-Novum 7/7/7), and others.Large amounts of red clover might have some of the same effects as estrogen. However, red clover isn't as strong as estrogen pills. Taking red clover along with estrogen pills might decrease the effects of estrogen pills.Some estrogen pills include conjugated equine estrogens (Premarin), ethinyl estradiol, estradiol, and others.Some medications are changed and broken down by the liver. Red clover might decrease how quickly the liver breaks down some medications. Taking red clover along with some medications that are broken down by the liver can increase the effects and side effects of these medications. Before taking red clover, talk to your healthcare provider if you take any medications that are changed by the liver.Some medications that are changed by the liver include amitriptyline (Elavil), haloperidol (Haldol), ondansetron (Zofran), propranolol (Inderal), theophylline (Theo-Dur, others), verapamil (Calan, Isoptin, others), and others.Some medications are changed and broken down by the liver. Red clover might decrease how quickly the liver breaks down some medications. Taking red clover along with some medications that are broken down by the liver can increase the effects and side effects of these medications. Before taking red clover, talk to your healthcare provider if you take any medications that are changed by the liver.Some medications that are changed by the liver include omeprazole (Prilosec), lansoprazole (Prevacid), and pantoprazole (Protonix); diazepam (Valium); carisoprodol (Soma); nelfinavir (Viracept); and others.Some medications are changed and broken down by the liver. Red clover might decrease how quickly the liver breaks down some medications. Taking red clover along with some medications that are broken down by the liver can increase the effects and side effects of these medications. Before taking red clover, talk to your healthcare provider if you take any medications that are changed by the liver.Some medications that are changed by the liver include diclofenac (Cataflam, Voltaren), ibuprofen (Motrin), meloxicam (Mobic), and piroxicam (Feldene); celecoxib (Celebrex); amitriptyline (Elavil); warfarin (Coumadin); glipizide (Glucotrol); losartan (Cozaar); and others.Some medications are changed and broken down by the liver. Red clover might decrease how quickly the liver breaks down some medications. Taking red clover along with some medications that are broken down by the liver can increase the effects and side effects of these medications. Before taking red clover, talk to your healthcare provider if you are taking any medications that are changed by the liver.Some medications changed by the liver include lovastatin (Mevacor), ketoconazole (Nizoral), itraconazole (Sporanox), fexofenadine (Allegra), triazolam (Halcion), and many others.Large amounts of red clover might slow blood clotting. Taking red clover along with medications that also slow clotting might increase the chances of bruising and bleeding.Some medications that slow blood clotting include aspirin, clopidogrel (Plavix), diclofenac (Voltaren, Cataflam, others), ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin, others), naproxen (Anaprox, Naprosyn, others), dalteparin (Fragmin), enoxaparin (Lovenox), heparin, warfarin (Coumadin), and others.Some types of cancer are affected by hormones in the body. Estrogen-sensitive cancers are cancers that are affected by estrogen levels in the body. Tamoxifen (Nolvadex) is used to help treat and prevent these types of cancer. Red clover seems to also affect estrogen levels in the body. By affecting estrogen in the body, red clover might decrease the effectiveness of tamoxifen (Nolvadex). Do not take red clover if you are taking tamoxifen (Nolvadex).

The information provided on this page is for reference purposes and is not meant to be used as a medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always consult with a medical professional.