Anxiety (Panic)/DepressionElderlyMenopausePhytoestrogens

Red clover extract to treat depressive symptoms

Last year, a review of herbals to treat menopausal symptoms concluded that red clover provided no benefit.

A year later and researchers from the General Teaching Hospital Korneuburg, in Austria report more positive findings in postmenopausal women using red clover extracts (MF11RCE).

First, the details.

  • 109 postmenopausal women were randomly assigned to take each treatment for 90 days.
    • 2 daily capsules of MF11RCE (80 mg red clover isoflavones)
    • Placebo
  • Anxiety and depressive symptoms were measured at the start of treatment, and 90 and 187 days later using the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale (HADS) and Zung’s Self Rating Depression Scale (SDS).

And, the results.

  • After receiving the MF11RCE compound, anxiety and depression decreased significantly.
    • This effect was equivalent to a 77% reduction in the total HADS score (76% for anxiety and 78% for depression) and an 81% reduction in the total SDS score.
  • After placebo, there was also significant improvement that averaged 22%.

The bottom line?

The authors don’t tell us in the abstract that these differences between treatments are statistically significant, but they’re obviously big.

The authors concluded, “Red clover derived isoflavones (MF11RCE) were effective in reducing depressive and anxiety symptoms among postmenopausal women.”

They believe that isoflavones protect against neuron damage by their antioxidant and estrogen actions.

3/14/10 21:40 JR

Hi, I’m JR

John Russo, Jr., PharmD, is president of The MedCom Resource, Inc. Previously, he was senior vice president of medical communications at, a complementary and alternative medicine website.