Thursday, May 27, 2010

Red Clover

I have always had more than a passing fancy for herbs and their many uses.  As my interest in learning about wildflowers grew, so did my interest in herbs, for I learned that herbs are more than just the plethora of starter plants and seeds that you can purchase from your local nursery, or toss into your grocery cart already harvested from the grocer.  Herbs can also be what most people consider WEEDS!

It didn't take me long to become overwhelmed, so I decided I'd only focus on the 'wildflowers' or 'weeds' growing in my own backyard.  And so I began, filling my notebook with tidbits about this weed and that wildflower. 

One of the most surprising discoveries, aside from the dandelion, was the Red Clover, (Trifolia pratense).

Red Clover has been used in culinary delights and medicinally for many centuries.  Actually a member of the legume family, Red Clover contains the full chain of amino acids, making it a perfect protein that is easily absorbed by the human body.  This fact alone makes Red Clover an easy essential to pack while camping, hiking, etc., or to harvest from the wild when you are there.

As if that isn't impressive enough, Red Clover also contains calcium, vitamin B complex, thiamine, niacin, vitamin C, chromiium, magnesuim, nickel, potassium and phosphorous.

Red Clover is considered to be an alterative herb, meaning it possesses the ability to send its medicine into many areas of the body at once.

Researchers from the National Cancer Institute have found that Red Clover contains four (4) anti-tumor compounds.  It has an affinity for the lymphatic system, which makes it a suitable building herb for dealing with lymph-related cancers, or conditions which require a strengthening of the immune system.  Because Red Clover has a tendency to act as a blood thinner, persons already on a blood thinning medication should use caution when supplementing their diet with Red Clover.  Word is, it keeps the liver healthy, acting as a blood purifier.

Historic accounts of the use of Red Clover indicate it has been used for skin problems, feverish conditions, constipation, and as a gargle for sore throats and mouths.

The two most common ways to use Red Clover is to prepare a tea, and to use the youong leaves and new flowers in salads and soups

Red Clover Tea is easy to make.  Use approximately one ounce of the leaves and/or blossoms to approximately 2 cups of boiling water, and steep for 10 minutes.  Flavor with any of your other favorite
herbs and/or clover honey.

A third recipe that you can try that is pretty simple to make is the Red Clover Remedy for Chapped and Dry Lips, a China Bayles Mysteries recipe!  Simply:  Combine 1 Tablespoon dried Red Clover flowers, 2 teaspoons of honey, and 1/4 cup water.  Bring this to a boil, simmer for 2 minutes, then remove from heat.  Strain, add 1/2 teaspoon of cornstarch, and cool, stirring occasionally.

The great thing is that in most areas, it is available right outside your back door!!  It's also available at your local health food store in a variety of forms.  Please keep in mind that any herb can counteract already prescribed medications, so some research might be required.  And know, too, that not many medical institutions commit to or condone the use of herbs for medicinal purposes.  Draw your own conclusions. 


Pearl Maple said...

Great posts you have going on here about the joys and benefits of herbs. Your flower photography is delightful.

Linda Reeder said...

I enjoyed catching up on your posts about herbs. I don't think I'll go out and grab any red clover to munch on, but I do know it is raised as cattle feed - clover hay, and as a cover crop to put nutrients back into the soil.

swamp4me said...

We planted some red clover in the garden this year. We'll be sure to try it in salad when it blooms.

Crafty Green Poet said...

wow, I didn't know all that! I have always loved clover honey though

christopher said...

Excellent overview of Red Clover. I was not aware of all these potential benefits.

Thanks for the tips.

Just Ramblin' said...

Thanks for sharing about the Red Clover. I didn't know it had so many wonderful benefits. Wonder why we always go for over the counter products when there is so much that is natural and of more benefit to us. Great close up picture. Nola

penny said...

This was fascinating to read, Karen. I am amazed by all the things Red Clover is good for.
It might be smart to start a 'Red Clover farm'...

This Is My Blog - fishing guy said...

Karen: What a neat post with great information.

Unknown said...

Great macro! I think of bunnies and bees when I see clover, didn't really know it could be food for us too. :)