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Herbal Spotlight – Red Clover
posted on Wednesday, June 8th 2011 11:11 pm

This month’s Study Group was all about Red Clover. Below is a summary from tonight’s class. For more information on Herbal Study Group, click on the link to the left.

This beautiful pinky purple flower is an attractor for native bumble bees (honey bees are too small to reach the nectar), feed for livestock and medicine for humans.

The delicious blossoms are known for their anti-cancer activity, especially when dealing with breast, ovarian and lymph cancers. She has an affinity for cysts, especially in the upper region of the body and works well when there are single cysts.

Full of vitamins and minerals (calcium, chromium, magnesium, iron, copper and phosphorus and vitamins A, B complex and C), this herb makes a wonderful daily infusion that is mildy sweet and satisfying. Try it iced for a cool summertime refreshment.

Tonight we had a chance to head to my local Red Clover patch and harvest a basketful. It went quickly with 5 extra hands helping! That harvest gave us fresh blossoms to make tea and tinctures for all to take home plus enough left over to fill my drying screens for infusion making later in the year.

Red Clover will continue to bloom through the summer but will taper back for awhile and bloom again in late summer. Because of this, she is often known as the herb that gives second chances though it is said the first blooming is superior to the second blooming.

Back in the house we talked about the differences between herbal infusions and teas and then got to sampling. To demonstrate dried herbs offer a higher mineral content than fresh herbs I had made infusions of each earlier in the day and let them steep for 8 hours. We also made a tea of both the fresh and dried blossoms, letting it steep for about 10 minutes. The results were amazing and varied! The dried infusion was dark in color, slightly sweet and mild tasting. The fresh infusion tasted like water even though it had sat for the same period of time. The coloring was also much lighter.

The teas were delightful, demonstrating that Red Clover makes a wonderful beverage tea. Both the fresh and dried were sweet though the dried was a bit stronger. The kids happily guzzled down our leftovers.

In addition to her anti-cancer properties, Red Clover is wonderful for treating coughs, especially irritable, drippy coughs such as coughs from Pertussis and Measles. She is useful for treating Mumps as well, working on the inflamed glands.

Red Clover has mild laxative, diuretic, alterative, anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer properties. She contains coumarin that can change to dicoumarin if the blossoms ferment during drying. This is because the coumarin can combine with a common mold that is found on Red Clover called Botrytis mold which if dried too slowly will ferment and turn to dicoumarin.

If you were unable to make tonight’s class, you are welcome to download tonight’s handout here. Feel free to share with others but please credit me with my work.

 

Want to learn more about Red Clover? You can purchase this month’s issue of Herbal Roots zine  Crazy for Clover which contains 35 pages of stories, songs, poems, games, puzzles, recipes, crafts and more, all focusing on Red Clover for only $7.99.

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