Possible Red Clover Side Effects, Contraindications and Caution

This article covers some possible red clover side effects, contraindications and precautions.

The red clover herb has been used for hundreds of years for treating various ailments. It is also a part of many famous and popular herbal formulas, including some versions of Essiac Tea, Dr Richard Schulze's Detox Formula, the Hoxey Formula, Dr John Christopher's Red Clover Combination, as well as Jason Winters Tea.

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A note about the Possible Red Clover Side Effects, Contraindications and Caution

Herbs are God and nature's gifts to us. While the use of herbs and herb remedies has brought excellent results for many people, do note that their health benefits may be limited when they are used in isolation. However, when combined with some basic dietary and lifestyle good health habits, such as a full body detox and a proper understanding and application of nutrition, the impact on one's health will be greatly magnified.

In natural health and healing, we believe that the body has the ability to heal itself of any disease, even supposedly incurable diseases. We also believe in holistic health and healing, as we realize that different parts of the human body are highly interlinked, often beyond Man’s understanding. It is thus a good idea to apply these fundamental health steps no matter how remote or unrelated a health condition may seem.

Dr John Christopher and Dr Richard Schulze are two of the best and well-known herbalists and natural healers, while Jason Winters recovered from terminal cancer using herbs. Many people have also used Essiac Tea and the Hoxey Formula to recover from cancer and other serious illnesses.

This tells me that the health benefits of red clover are real, and that red clover is a safe herb to consume. Truth be told, such a long and illustrious history gives me much more confidence than any present-day 'scientific' studies.

Overall Red Clover Side Effects

There have been no serious red clover side effects reported in humans. These include uses of red clover in its various forms and parts. Generally speaking, these include red clover flowers or red clover blossoms, red clover leaf, red clover tea, and red clover tinctures. For concentrated red clover extracts of selected compounds from the herb, made into red clover pills, red clover tablets or red clover capsules, more caution will have to be exercised. This is discussed in more detail below.

Some general red clover side effects from using the herb may include headache, nausea, and rash.

In animal studies, however, infertility has been noted in grazing animals that consume large quantities of red clover. This is not validated by scientific studies in humans. Personally, I think this supposed red clover side effect is probably not a problem as it is highly unlikely that any human being will ingest such a large amount of red clover.

Caution regarding using Red Clover Extract Concentrated Supplements

The extracts of red clover isoflavones are very different from the whole herb, and its effects are also different. Isoflavones are actually only a small portion of the entire herb, in a highly concentrated form.

Hence, even though the substance may be from a natural source, red clover side effects may be more likely to occur while administering such supplements, and more care should thus be exercised.

Pediatric Administration of Red Clover

Although red clover has been traditionally used very effectively as a short-term remedy for cough in the pediatric age group, there are some parties who do not recommend this today. This is something you may want to take note of.

Red Clover for Pregnant and Nursing Women

Red clover is said to be contraindicated during pregnancy and breastfeeding.

Contraindications and Drug Interactions

The use of the herb may cause some undesirable interactions with some prescribed drug medications and lead to certain red clover side effects.

For example, red clover may interfere with the body's ability to process some drugs that are broken down by liver enzymes. Hence, it would be necessary to consult a physician if one is on prescribed drug medications and wishes to use red clover.

Since it is known that red clover mimics the effects of the female hormone estrogen, red clover should not be started by those on hormone replacement therapy, or by women on birth control pills. This is because red clover may alter the effects of drugs that contain hormones, and may well alter the level of hormones in the body itself.

Red clover may also interfere with the effects of cancer-treating drugs like tamoxifen.

In addition, it is likely that red clover may lower blood sugar and alter the effects of drugs taken to control diabetes. Hence, red clover should be avoided if one is on such drugs.

Those on blood thinning drugs should not take red clover as this may increase the effects of those drugs.

Also, red clover should be taken with caution if a person is on other herb supplements like gingko, ginger, garlic, or vitamin-E, as these herbs also possess blood thinning attributes.


All in all, I believe red clover is a safe herb to use on a frequent basis. As with all herbs and supplements, exercise common sense and, as far as possible, follow the dosage instructions given.

Build up dosages gradually and do not suddenly take large doses of an herb. As long as good sense and discretion prevail, I believe there will not be any significant red clover side effects to worry about.

Red Clover Pages | Red Clover Herb - History and Information | Health Benefits of Red Clover | More About Red Clover Benefits - Includes External or Topical Uses of Red Clover | Methods of Red Clover Uses - Ways to Obtain its Benefits, Parts to Use, etc | Possible Red Clover Side Effects, Contraindications and Caution

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