Red Clover, Red Clover

I love going on long walks. In Germany I tend to walk everywhere. Everything is so close that a little shopping trip turns into a nice excuse to walk through the orchards, along the lake, or through the nature reserves. Along the way there are many meadows filled with beautiful colors of yellow, white, purple, and green. The lovely red clover is everywhere. Lucky for me I can readily harvest these powerful beauties without bothering anyone or anything.

Red clover is a common perennial plant found most often in wild meadows all over the world. Its beautiful deep purple flowers and characteristic lucky charm leaves, make it easily identifiable. As a little girl I even remember sucking the sweet juice from the petal ends.

However, that is not all they are good for. The flowering heads are harvested at their peak for medicinal use in tinctures and teas. Once dried red clover flowers can quickly lose their potency, and therefore it is good to know the source from which you are purchasing the herb. Better yet, harvest them yourself! Also, might I mention, organic/wild grown, and most definitely NOT picked along the sidewalk or road, is the only way in which to harvest these powerful beauties. If you have the time, then please find yourself a beautiful meadow and pick them yourself. I certainly do!

Popular amongst the Native Americans, and even with European herbalist Hildegard von Bingen, this little herb has won a very strong reputation as a powerful healing alternative. Traditionally it first began as a herbal remedy against muscle spasms and respiratory problems, such as asthma, whooping cough, and pneumonia.

Today, it is more often used to cleanse and purify the blood and the liver, to treat hormonal imbalances in women, and in cancer treatment. Its rich profile of vitamins B3, B1, C and minerals calcium, chromium, magnesium, phosphorous, and potassium, make it nutritionally very valuable. However, the most interesting nutritional compound is its high content of isoflavones, a phyto-chemical very similar to estrogen. Unlike chemically altered phyto-chemicals found in soy, those found in the whole form from the red clover are very much beneficial to the women hormonal system. The isoflavones of red clover help women with cramping, moodiness, breast tenderness, and hot flashes associated with PMS and menopause. It also helps induce periods that are scant or light and reduce the heavy.

With its dense and unique nutritional and healing profile, red clover has been used in Europe, Asia, and the Americas in the treatment of ovarian cysts and cancer. Most commonly red clover is found in an herbal tea blend called Essiac Tea which has been used for many years. A nurse named Rene Caisse, successfully treated many individuals with this blend for various types of cancer and blood disorders.

Although it is an herb, it still must be treated with respect. Please make sure is it of the highest quality and that you speak to your naturopath prior to extensive use. For a simple seasonal detox or to relieve hormonal symptoms, it can be used lightly without prior advice.

It is easy to dry your own flowers. Pick the flowers by the stem, quickly rinse them under lightly running water, shake off excess water, and tie them into a bouquet with hemp string or yarn. Then hang them upside down and in a few days you will have beautifully dried red clover flowers. Store the flowers in an airtight glass jar away from sunlight.

Red Clover Infusion
Makes 1 quart

1 oz dried red clover flowers
1 quart pure filtered water

1.  Bring water to boil and remove from heat.
2.  Add the dried red clover flowers and allow to steep minimum 2 hours. (I sometimes let it steep overnight)
3.  Strain out the flowers and store tea in an airtight glass quart jar. The infusion keeps for a few days when refrigerated.

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