"Rolling in Clover"
Bring Balance to Your Hormones and Eliminate Hot Flashes and Night Sweats Now!
In the past, I told you about my cousin Emily who is coping with menopause, and in particular with hot flashes which she sometimes jokes about. And while she's able to face her situation with a sense of humor, Emily will be the first to tell you that hot flashes are anything but funny. For many women, including my cousin, a hot flash can be so severe that the effects resemble heart attack symptoms; with dizziness, sweating, rapid heartbeat, weakness and nausea all arriving on a wave of anxiety.
This week I came across a new study that shows how a red clover extract can reduce the frequency of hot flashes. And while this is not news (red clover has been used to treat symptoms of menopause for many years in traditional Chinese Medicine), it's a welcome confirmation of previous studies, particularly with all the bad news we've gotten about prescription hormone replacement therapy (HRT).
Flashing less frequently
Red clover contains large amounts of a group of compounds called isoflavones, a type of phytoestrogen found in a various plants that we've talked about for years. Phytoestrogens have mild estrogenic properties that block estrogen receptors. This is believed to be the key to red clover's ability to modify symptoms of menopause. (Isoflavones have also been shown to play a part in lowering the risk of heart disease and may also help prevent osteoporosis.)
Women who received red clover enjoyed a 44% reduction in their hot flash frequency. Furthermore, once the maximum decrease was fully established (after about 8 weeks of use), the reduction of frequency was maintained for the remaining 4 weeks of the study.
With this new study, a team of researchers in Amsterdam, The Netherlands, wanted to determine if the frequency of hot flashes could be reduced, using a standardized extract of red clover. A group of 30 menopausal women, 49 to 65 years old, were divided into two groups. One group received a placebo for three months, while the other group received 80 mg per day of the red clover extract. The subjects agreed to eliminate any items from their diets that contained isoflavones (such as soy products, grains and cabbage). And every four weeks the women were interviewed for details about their menopause symptoms.
When the results were analyzed, the researchers found that the women in the placebo group experienced no change in the frequency of their hot flashes. The women who received red clover, however, enjoyed a 44% reduction in their hot flash frequency. Furthermore, once the maximum decrease was fully established (after about 8 weeks of use), the reduction of frequency was maintained for the remaining 4 weeks of the study.
Off to the herbalist
As mentioned above, in addition to red clover, soy products also contain isoflavones that have the ability to reduce hot flash frequency and other menopausal symptoms. But red clover has twice the amount of phytoestrogen isoflavones that soy has, but without any of the possible negatives of soy. The daily 80 mg dosage of red clover extract was well tolerated by the subjects in this study, but it should be noted that earlier studies have shown that red clover may thin the blood, so it should not be used by patients who are also taking an anticoagulant medication.
In addition to menopause symptoms, red clover has traditionally been used to remove toxins from the body and to treat a variety of health problems, including chest congestion, chronic degenerative diseases, gout, psoriasis and eczema.
Last summer, when I told you about Emily and her struggles with menopause ("Little Big Horn" 7/1/02), I also mentioned a number of other natural treatments that have been used to address the symptoms of menopause, including herbal remedies such as dong quai, black cohosh, licorice and chasteberry. Nutritional supplements of vitamins A, C and B complex, plus minerals like boron may also be effective. In addition, some women find relief in yoga, acupuncture or special exercise regimens.
To Your Good Health,
Health Sciences Institute
Article reprinted with permission from the Health Sciences Institute
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