Review on March 11, 2009
Night sweats are thought to affect around 70% of women during menopause and perimenopause. Although treatments such as Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT) reduce the likelihood of night sweats, new evidence linking that treatment to breast cancer and heart disease has put many women off using it. Some women have started to turn to alternative remedies instead to counteract night sweats and supplements containing Red Clover plant is one of the better known treatments.
A 2003 study conducted by staff at the University of California found that Red Clover has a limited effect on a women seeking relief from night sweats during menopause. The two specific extracts that were tested in this controlled trail were Promensil and Rimostil.
The supplements were tested by two different groups of women, along with another group taking a placebo pill. They were tested not only for their effectiveness in tackling night sweats, but also to establish how safe this alternative medicine is when uses as a medical treatment.
252 female volunteers from three U.S. medical centers were recruited to take part in this study. All were between the ages of 45 and 50 and suffering from over 35 hot flushes or night sweats a week. Each woman was asked to keep a journal to track the number of night sweats she experienced during the trail.
The researchers explain that after a period of twelve weeks neither Promensil nor Rimostil were showing any more of a reduction in night sweats than the placebo. It has been noted however that the group taking Promensil found a decrease in the number of night sweats at a slightly escalated rate to those within the other groups. "The reduction of night sweats was modest (41% over 12 weeks), but similar in size to that found in other studies of phytoestrogen supplements."
As to the safety of these supplements the researchers found that "The red clover extracts were well tolerated by the participants. We did not find any trend toward an association of these dietary supplements with adverse outcomes".
It seems that even though many menopausal women are crying out for a alternative to HRT and the often uncomfortable and inconvenient symptoms of menopause, red clover extracts are not suitable at successfully banishing the dreaded hot flushes and night sweats experienced by so many.
- Phytoestrogen Supplements for the Treatment of Hot Flashes: The Isoflavone Clover Extract (ICE) Study, Jeffrey A. Tice, MD; Bruce Ettinger, MD; Kris Ensrud, MD, MPH; Robert Wallace, MD; Terri Blackwell, PhD; Steven R. Cummings, MD, MPH, JAMA. 2003;290:207-214.