I’m blessed to have a pasture full of red clover. We have an apiary and red clover provides nourishing food for the honeybees and other wild pollinators that buzz about on our five acres. But its also nourishing for our bodies as well and I include red clover in most of my tea blends.
Trifolium pratense grows prolifically throughout the US, Europe, and Asia. It’s perennial, fixes nitrogen into the soil, and like comfrey works well as a green compost side-dressing (also known as green manure) for plants in the garden. Its flowers are the portion used in teas and tinctures and its properties that include volatile oils, flavonoids, resins, vitamins, and minerals, among others, help soothe skin disorders and reduce fever.
Red Clover is alterative, so it assists the liver in purifying the blood and processing nutrients. Also an expectorant, red clover relieves cold symptoms as well as cough. Its anti-tumor properties make red clover infusions an essential portion of cancer treatment and can be viewed as well from a prevention standpoint. Combined with other medicinal plants such as chickweed, cleavers, nettle, and yellow dock, red clover flushes impurities and toxins and is quite effective in calming skin conditions.
Although red clover supports the female reproductive system at any time of life, both before and during the Crone phase, life can be made easier with red clover infusions. With its phytoestrogen content, red clover is a better option than soy in my opinion to control both peri-menopause and menopause symptoms.
Attributed to Elemental Air and the planet Mercury (although some correspond clover to Jupiter), red clover may also be utilized in magickal workings involving love and fertility. Additional workings using red clover may surround prosperity, justice, and understanding.
Gather this lovely flower just as it’s opening and before it begins to turn ragged and brown. I prefer to gather the reddest of the clover that I see but sometimes the pink colors are so beautiful that I take those as well. Dry it away from the sunshine so that the color remains as true as possible.
Infusion is another way of saying soaking a bunch of plant material in something wet. Herbs can be infused in water (hot or cold) for tea, alcohol or glycerin for tincture, witch hazel or isopropyl alcohol for a nice liniment, or various carrier oils for a healing herbal oil. But the premise behind an herbal infusion that we’re going to drink is that we’re using a larger amount of herb than the amount typically contained in a tea bag.
When I create a red clover infusion, I fill a quart mason jar or my French press two-thirds full of fresh red clover blossoms, or halfway with dried if that’s all I have. I pour boiling water over it to reach the lip of the jar or the top level of the French Press and leave it to steep (infuse) for 20 to 30 minutes. Wrap a towel around the jar if you like to keep things warm or crochet a cozy as I did for my French press. At the end of the time, strain the infusion and then drink it throughout the day, particularly if you’re treating or recovering from a serious or chronic illness.
Fresh clover can be tinctured using grain alcohol or tinctured with dried herb using 80 proof vodka. If using grain alcohol, however, be sure to dilute the finished tincture using a 25% tincture to 75% water or glycerine ratio. Grain alcohol is nearly 100% alcohol and is far too toxic to ingest. So, dilute your grain alcohol tinctures before use. Typical adult dosage is 10–30 drops in some water or tea. When ill, tinctures are usually taken three times per day. I recommend beginning with 10 drops and reducing from there as symptoms subside to 3–5 drops three times a day, reducing further to maybe 3 drops per day until all symptoms are gone. I prefer a micro-dosing routine or homeopathic approach if using red clover as a tonic.
But honestly, I believe infusions really are your best bet. There’s nothing like a nourishing herbal infusion to soothe, protect, and to keep nutrients moving through our bodies in a way that preserves balance and reduces toxicity. Of course, it also means you either grow or wildcraft what you need otherwise you’ll be making regular stops at your local herb store. And that can get pricey. I try to buy only what I don’t grow or wildcraft unless it’s for a special tincture I’m doing and I need more than I have on hand.
So, take a walk outside. Look at the life growing around you and see if any of it might become an ingredient in a cup of herbal tea or a rich and nourishing medicinal herbal infusion. Choose to grow chamomile, mints, lemon balm, and lavender, and perhaps some sage for better breathing, and let your dandelions and red clover grow wild! Because if you didn’t have anything else, the sunny dandelion has everything a body needs: the root to cleanse the liver and blood from impurities and the leaves to keep the urinary system functioning properly. Everything else that isn’t from some external source develops from that point forward.
My husband referred to our home the other day as a food forest. He’s right. That’s exactly what it is. It took thirty-eight years to create, and it’s still a work in progress. And there’s no time like the present to begin creating your own!
Until next time…
Herbal Blessings to All!
The information above is for educational purposes only and is not intended to diagnose any condition or prescribe any treatment. Please consult your medical/herbal professional for further advice regarding the use of herbs, particularly if you’re taking prescribed medications to avoid any unnecessary harmful interactions. Please seek treatment from a medical professional should symptoms occur that do not quickly resolve on their own. If you’re pregnant, please consult your medical/herbal professional before using any herbs.
Originally published at https://www.imsteppingaside.com on July 21, 2019.