Not much to look at, is it? In fact, it’s rather plain and easy to miss. I’ll bet you walk by it every day and don’t even realize it. I’m talking about red clover, of course, that pinkish/purplish little clover flower dotting the landscape right now. If you make your own medicines and teas, this is the time of year to gather red clover. While it’s tempting to gather it early in the morning when it’s cooler outside, you must wait until noon or later. The fairies leave a lot of dew behind at their nightly parties, and you want to make sure that it’s all burned off by the sun or you could have a problem with mold, especially if you want to make an oil.
And what can you make with red clover (Trifolium pratense)? Well, for starters, you could make a tea from the blossoms. They contain vitamins, micro and macro minerals, and protein. But what many people take red clover for is its phytosterol content. It contains four phytoestrogens as opposed to the much-touted soy, which contains only one. These phytosterols are hormone-like substances that can be found in many plants, with red clover being one of the leaders, and the substances in red clover are anti-cancer in nature (as opposed to soy). To make an herbal infusion (tea), put one ounce of dried blossoms in a quart jar and fill with boiling water. Cover and let steep four to eight hours, then strain and drink. You can keep it refrigerated for a day or two.
|Red clover blossoms|
Red clover is wonderful for many skin ailments, including being helpful with various skin cancers. It is used for sores, burns, eczema, psoriasis, etc. In this case, it is usually used as an infused oil or as an herbal salve. To make an infused oil, fill a jar with freshly picked but dry (pick after noontime) blossoms. Pour a good olive oil over them, using a toothpick to make sure the oil permeates all the blossoms. Fill to the top and cap. Check the next day to make sure it’s completely filled as the fairies like to play games with liquid levels. Then leave this in a cool area for six weeks. Make sure you put it on a towel as the jar will ooze some, and if you don’t have a towel under it, it may ruin the surface it sits on. The jar may smell a bit “cheesy” as it infuses, and that’s perfectly normal. When done, strain, pour into a fresh clean bottle, label, and store.
To make a salve, use one cup of herb-infused oil and two ounces of natural beeswax. Heat together until the wax melts (only takes a minute or two), and then pour into containers. It will thicken up as soon as it cools. Label and store. You can use a combination of oils here, depending on what you want to make, and you can add essential oils for fragrance as well.
(Yes, I have to put a disclaimer in. This article is for informational purposes only and is not meant to diagnose, treat, or cure any ailment. If you need medical advice, seek a physician.)