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Fermented Red Clover for Rebuilding Bone Mass - Cover

Fermented Red Clover For Rebuilding Bone Mass

Even though red clover has been a popular stock feed for over a century, its popularity for human consumption has recently skyrocketed due to some very interesting research in this field; primarily with respect to increasing bone mass, something which was previously thought to be almost impossible in adults.

How does red clover rebuild bone mass?

The isoflavones in red clover are structurally similar to estrogen, which is why most red clover bone mass or osteoporosis studies are based on menopausal women. The main difference between red clover isoflavones and estrogen is that estrogen attaches to alpha-receptors which are primarily found in the breasts and ovaries, whereas red clover isoflavones attach to beta-receptors which are found in the kidneys, lungs, intestines, and most importantly, around the bones.

Both Trifolium medium and Trifolium pratense increased the amount of calcium and phosphorus content in the femur and tibia of rats, but only T. pratense strengthened both the shaft of the bone (the diaphysis) as well as the growth plate (the metaphysis). Both species contain four aglycones: formononetin (60%), biochanin A (30%), genistein (<10%), and daidzein (<10%).

Why should you ferment your red clover?

Research shows that the isoflavones found in red clover become more bioavailable when fermented. The four main isoflavones begin as glycosides, which still have numerous health benefits (especially concerning treating various menopausal symptoms), but when fermented, they turn into aglycones which bind to beta-receptors and therefore can increase bone mass.

Yeast versus bacteria fermentation

This remedy is sugar-based in order to encourage the naturally occurring yeast present in the plant to produce weak alcohol for the extraction process.

If there isn’t enough sugar, then the lactic acid-producing bacteria will dominate instead. This isn’t a bad thing, in fact, this is how many other fermentation foods are made, but for this remedy, we are trying to catch the isoflavones in their aglycone state, which requires sugar-based fermentation.

TIP: Soybeans for extra potency.

If you have some available, ferment your red clover with soybeans to boost the amount of daidzein. Daidzein stimulates the gut flora to make the other isoflavones more bioavailable for your body to utilize. For most home remedy makers, daidzein is best extracted from soybeans in the alcohol which is produced during the fermentation process anyway.


Ideally, freshly picked, unwashed red clover leaves and flowers should be used, but at this time of year, I will have to make do with dried clover and extra water.

  • Red clover
  • Clean water
  • Raw or brown sugar

Fresh Clover Method

  1. Harvest 2 cups of fresh red clover leaves and flowers and weigh them.
  2. Weigh out an equal amount of brown or raw sugar and thoroughly massage it into the clover.Fermented Red Clover for Rebuilding Bone Mass
  3. Thoroughly pound and pack the mix into a sterilized jar until it is almost full.
  4. Add filtered water so that all the plant matter is submerged and continue to pack the clover so that all the air bubbles rise to the top. It is important that the plant matter stays submerged throughout the whole process to avoid mold, so you may need to weigh down the plant matter with something food-safe, such as a small ceramic dish or glass jar that has been sterilized.Fermented Red Clover for Rebuilding Bone Mass -fresh clover
  5. Cover the top of the jar with a piece of material secured with a rubber band (the mix needs to be able to breathe). Otherwise, if you are using a regular lid, you will need to open it twice a day to ‘burp’ the mix.
  6. Leave the jar at room temperature for 24 hours.
  7. Red-Clover-19After 24 hours, the mix will have settled and bubbles will start to appear on the surface. If you are using a regular lid, make sure the jar is about 2/3 full to allow for enough oxygen. If you are using a cloth cover the jar can pretty much be full.
  8. The fermentation process will take between 3 – and 7 days, depending on room temperature. If you are using a cloth cover, you may need to add more water and sugar to the jar.
  9. The fermentation process is complete when;
    1. the bubbles on the surface start to decrease.
    2. the mix will have a very light alcohol smell (and fresh silage smell).
    3. it will taste sweet.
    4. If you are using a regular lid, then the ‘burping’ will subside.
  10. Fermented Red Clover for Rebuilding Bone Mass -freshFermented Red Clover for Rebuilding Bone Mass -freshOnce you are satisfied with the mix, straining and storing it in the fridge will stop the fermentation process.

Dried Clover Method

  1. Dissolve 5 tablespoons of brown or raw sugar into half a cup of warm water.
  2. Add about 0.9 oz (25 g) of dried clover and mix thoroughly (at least 3 minutes).Fermented Red Clover for Rebuilding Bone Mass - 1
  3. Follow steps 3 – 9 from the fresh clover method above. I tried several methods to keep the dried clover submerged and found that a small jar with a tea strainer pressing it down was the best method.Fermented Red Clover for Rebuilding Bone Mass - 2NOTE: the fermentation process will take an extra week when using dried produce, but it can be sped up by adding a sprinkle of instant yeast.


On average, an effective dosage is about 3.5 oz (100 ml) per day.Fermented Red Clover for Rebuilding Bone Mass - 9

Most users take 2 tablespoons, three times a day.

Do not use it in combination with blood thinners.


As long as strict hygiene is followed, the fermented red clover should last for one year when stored in the fridge.

This remedy may take a bit of patience, but it is incredibly easy to prepare, although figuring out the best method for keeping the dried red clover submerged was a bit of a sticky DIY challenge!

But despite this, the benefits of fermented red clover on rebuilding bone mass are unmistakable thanks to some very strong research in this field.

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Ball makes a fermenting lid system that includes a large spring that keeps the plant matter easily submerged! I use nothing else now.

That sounds great, where do you get that?

I got mine on Amazon but walmart may have them too.

Does Crimson Clover have the same benefits?

Hi Wanda,

Unfortunately, it seems like crimson clover (Trifolium incarnatum) is loaded with flavonoids instead of isoflavones, so it wouldn’t produce the same effect. Crimson clover doesn’t contain any daidzin and genistin. The same goes for strawberry clover (Trifolium fragiferum) so these two species are apparently better as anti-bacterial or anti-tumor remedies when fermented.

But it seems like other species are still relatively high in isoflavones.

Many blessings and good health!

How do you tell the difference between red clover and crimson clover?

FYI, when a person prints your documents for reference, many time the pictures don’t print. I would think that to be sure of what is picked is the right thing, many pictures would be an asset.

Another question: is there a difference between strawberry clover and red clover

Has white clover been studied?

Hi Pam,

White clover (Trifolium repens) still contains a decent level of isoflavones, but unlike red clover, white clover seems to be dominated by genistein and only has a small amount of formononetin. It is unclear exactly what proportions of isoflavones are ideal for increasing bone mass but for increasing bone strength, formononetin seems to be the most important.

Many blessings and good health!

Dumb question … I’m taking the liquid medicinally but not the plant matter?

Hi KM,

No such thing as a dumb question! 🙂

Yes. You strain the mix, drink the liquid, and throw the plant matter on the compost. I guess you could also throw the plant matter in a smoothie but it will be slightly alcoholic…

Many blessings and good health!

Could a Coffee press be used to help keep the plant matter submerged until fermented?

Yes, but Ball makes a fermenting lid system with a big spring that keeps it submerged.

Hi there – this was a great article. I just wanted to ask about the straining of the flowers. Is this the same for vegetables, since when I have fermented something I have placed it in the fridge with the water. Can you place the flowers in the fridge with the water or do you definitely need to strain the water off?

Hi John,

Thank you for your comment.

The reason to strain out the plant matter is that if you don’t, it will continue fermenting and digesting all of the sugars. Once all of the sugars have been digested, it turns into a lactic acid fermentation process, which is one step too far for the isoflavones to stay in their aglycone states – which are the ones we want for increasing bone mass. Strain the mix once it is ready, drink the liquid, and throw the plant matter on the compost.

Many blessings and good health!

I have estrogen dominance so I don’t think this fermented red clover would be helpful to me. I already take progesterone to offset the estrogen dominance. I have no issues with bone loss or decreased bone density. Any thoughts?

Hi Cheryl,

If you don’t have any issues with bone density then it probably isn’t necessary. I’m not sure how it would interact with progesterone. You can also seek out the services of a trained and licensed herbalist or naturopathic doctor who has extensive training in your area.

Many blessings and good health!

Similar question I think. I had breast cancer that was estrogen positive and could not take any estrogen during menopause. Now I am faced with osteoporosis and would love to try this but wonder if I should. I have been cancer free for 10 years.

How much soybean should be added to the mix?

Hi Linda,

The key is to make sure the weight in plant matter is the same as the sugar.
I would try adding half a cup of dried or fresh soy beans to the 2 cups of red clover and weight them, then weight out the SAME amount of sugar and simply follow the same process. Be sure to submerge everything with enough water and good luck!

Would you get some benefit without the soybeans

If the red clover is highly estrogenic i think i would need to do that as well. I have Hashimoto’s probably caused by Lyme and it wreaks havoc with my endocrine system which includes my adrenals i grow red clover for my honey bees!!

No. I think the red clover is highly estrogenic

I tried to reply but it keeps saying i am submitting a duplicate comment

If the red clover is highly estrogenic i think i would need to do that as well. I have Hashimoto’s probably caused by Lyme and it wreaks havoc with my endocrine system which includes my adrenals i grow red clover for my honey bees!!

I couldn’t reply bc it kept saying that i already said that. Thanks! The high estrogen content would be a no- go for me

Hi. Would this remedy be safe for dogs? I’ve got an 8 month puppy who broke her femur. Had surgery and pin and plate inserted but she’s not using her leg and therefore the bone is not calcifying and not generating the necessary callus. I thought this would be great to try on her! Not sure about the sugar though, dogs can’t process sugar the way humans do.

Hi Marianelle,

We are sorry to hear about your puppy’s surgery.

The healing effects of red clover can be as powerful for dogs as they are for humans. The use of red clover topically can reduce inflammation and promote healing. While orally, provides the body with lots of nutrients to speed healing.
Other ingredients good to include in your dog’s pain-relief supplement are:
Cat’s Claw Root Extract: to help fight infections and reduce inflammation, easing symptoms of arthritis.
Fish Oil: To deliver omega-3 and omega-6 to ease digestion, moisturize skin and lubricate sore joints.
Willow Bark Extract: To alleviate pain and reduce inflammation.

But you should always check with your vet before administering a herbal remedy, particularly if your pet is already on medication.

Many blessings and good health!

Thank you very much, this is powerful information!

Would this also help with Degenerative Disk Disease?

Would this work for bone loss in the jaw? Is there harm to taking this if I am pre menopausal?

I am trying the dried clover method. It packed into a pint size jar with the sugar/water mixture, and I only added a very small amount of water till it was full. It seems that this will not produce very much. Should I be using a larger jar, maybe a quart size and add more water?

I gathered red clover and deydrated them without rinsing them off. After deydrating the flowers over night I notice small white mites in the jar. Concerns?

Why do you say not to rinse the clover off before fermenting? Aside from dirt, there would be bugs and maybe even animal excrement on it.

What is the actual name of the ball used to submerge the herbs under the liquid. I am trying to locate it on Amazon but can’t seem to find it.

I believe she means that the brand name of the glass jar is “Ball” like you would use when doing home canning. Correct me if I am wrong.

How do I know which is red clover? I have a pasture full of red colored clover, but how do I know it isn’t crimson or another type?

Red clover has a round bloom like white clover does, that is pinkish. Crimson clover has an elongated dark red bloom, kind of brick or wine colored. But then she mentions strawberry clover, and I’ve never heard of it. Google will probably help with the Id.

Nice post. However, one thing seriously missing from ALL your posts are sources for your information so we can check and do further research.
Please post the sources of where you get your information in future. Thank you

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