What are the Most Common Red Clover Side Effects?

Sara Schmidt
Sara Schmidt

Though many people take red clover dietary supplements for menopause and other conditions, they are known to cause several side effects. Red clover side effects can include mild discomfort, such as headache and nausea. While no serious side effects have been discovered in humans, some animal studies have linked red clover with serious conditions, such as infertility.

Headaches are a potential side effect of red clover.
Headaches are a potential side effect of red clover.

When taken as directed, red clover side effects are usually minimal. Some patients report developing headaches. Nausea can result from taking red clover extract, as can muscle pain. Rashes and other allergic reactions, such as hives or difficulty breathing, can develop while taking the supplement. Some people also experience vaginal spotting.

Abdominal pain after taking red clover can indicate liver damage.
Abdominal pain after taking red clover can indicate liver damage.

Liver damage is one of several serious red clover dangers. When this occurs, the patient typically experiences severe abdominal pain, dark urine, and a yellowing of the skin. If these symptoms develop, the patient should immediately cease taking red clover and seek medical attention.

Interactions with other drugs are known red clover side effects. Red clover can render birth control ineffective. The medicine may also interact negatively with other herbal supplements. People taking prescription medications, hormone replacement therapy medications, or herbal remedies should consult with a physician prior to taking a red clover supplement.

Other medications, such as anticoagulants, may also cease working when taken simultaneously with red clover. Since the remedy is a blood thinner, people with a history of heart disease or blood clotting disorders can suffer red clover side effects, such as heavy bleeding or increased symptoms of their illnesses, if exposed to the medicine.

People with a history of stroke or cancer should avoid red clover. Some studies suggest that concentrated red clover supplement may stimulate the spread of cancer cells already in the body or stroke. Other studies indicate that red clover may increase one's risk of ovarian cancer. It may also cause a negative reaction in people who are allergic to aspirin.

Women who are pregnant or nursing should also avoid the herbal remedy. It is not known whether or not red clover is passed through breast milk. Diabetics should also refrain from using the supplement, as other red clover side effects include lowering blood sugar and the effectiveness of blood sugar medications.

Many red clover benefits do exist for women suffering through menopause. By consulting with a physician, and being aware of the red clover dangers that are possible, people may safely utilize red clover capsules as a way to combat unpleasant symptoms. Red clover tea may also be imbibed for its health benefits.

Red clover may be taken in supplement form.
Red clover may be taken in supplement form.
Sara Schmidt
Sara Schmidt

A graduate of Southeast Missouri State University, Sara has a Master’s Degree in English, which she puts to use writing for wiseGEEK and several magazines, websites, and nonprofit organizations. She has published her own novella, and has other literary projects currently in progress. Sara’s varied interests have also led her to teach children in Spain, tutor college students, run CPR and first aid classes, and organize student retreats.

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Discussion Comments

anon103482

I have taken red clover before but stopped taking it but I could not remember why but I have taken it again for the useful help it gives with hot sweats but I will stop taking it again, with regret because I've developed a dizzy headache and think this was why I stopped taking it last time. I must stress it did help with the hot sweats though. I only have been taking it four days!

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