Enter your email to get updates, tips and exercises to help you experience healing and transformation.
Menopause Red clover (botanical name trifolium pratense) grows everywhere here in the Sierra Nevada foothills where I live. Some people may think of it as a weed, but it has many uses. It is a good cover crop for farming, loosening and adding minerals to the soil. Some people use the fresh blossoms in salads. Red clover is known for it's uses in menopause, because it can be used as a substitute for soy, without the drawbacks of soy.
Benefits of Red Clover
Red clover can be found throughout the United States along roadsides, in meadows and pastures. It is rich in minerals, especially calcium, magnesium, chromium and potassium. It is also high in niacin and thiamine. We need more of many of these minerals in menopause.
Calcium is needed to maintain strong bones. It can also help lower blood pressure and calm your nerves. Magnesium is necessary for heart health and strong bones. Many Americans are deficient in magnesium. It also helps decrease stress hormones, balance blood sugar, and help with insulin effectiveness.
Chromium helps lower blood sugar, and is needed for healthy insulin function. Chromium may also help lower cholesterol. Potassium is necessary for healthy blood pressure and a healthy nervous system. Potassium deficiency has been associated with high blood pressure, congestive heart failure, fatigue and depression.
Niacin (B3) may help increase energy and regulate blood sugar. Niacin helps stimulate the production of hydrochloric acid, needed for digesting protein. Many people as they get older don't produce enough hydrochloric acid. Niacin also helps improve your mental outlook and adapt to stress.
Thiamine, (B1) is also needed for hydrochloric acid production. Thiamine helps with carbohydrate digestion and glucose metabolism. Thiamine may help increase energy and mental clarity as well.
Menopause red clover has some of the same properties as soy, because of it's phytoestrogens (hormone-like substances), namely isoflavones. They act a bit like estrogen in your body. Because of this, they may help reduce hot flashes and help prevent breast cancer.
Eating soy can be problematic because unless it is fermented some of it's compounds can interfere with nutrient absorption. Soy can also interfere with thyroid function, which is an especially important factor during menopause (many women begin to have thyroid problems around the time of menopause - see hormone imbalance. Red clover does not have any of these problems, making it a great substitute for soy.
How to take Red Clover
Menopause red clover is best taken as a tea or infusion. This is because all of the plant's nutrients are available, and they work better together than in isolation. Using hot water to make tea is the best way to extract the minerals and phytoestrogens. For information on how to make infusions, see How to Use Herbs for Menopause.
Good quality red clover is hard to find. Because of this I would not buy any ready-made red clover tea. I recommend buying it in bulk form, with the flowers intact, rather than chopped up leaves and stems. The picture at right shows how it should look.
I would definitely NOT recommend any type of isoflavone supplement. If you are going to take phytoestrogens, take them in the form they are found in nature.
Soy should be eaten in its fermented state only. This means miso or teampeh, rather than tofu or soy milk. I would not take red clover in a standardized form, where the measurement of isoflavones is available. I would only recommend red clover as a tea or infusion, or a tincture that is not standardized.