Tuesday, November 22, 2005

God's gift of Red Clover....

Finally, winter seems to have arrived! We hit a new low of 17 the other night...and they are calling for snow flurries today...we almost never have snow until January. The wonderful thing about our area is that it snows frequently but rarely sticks. So, we get to enjoy the beauty of it drifting down but don't usually have it affect the roads. Although our family does long for at least one good snow a year so we can use our sledding hill!

But with weather like this it is time to bring out the red clover tea and tincture! When I speak of red clover I am speaking about Trifolium pratense. The flowers on this plant are really a pale pinkish purple. It grows wild all over our farm. As I study herbs, I am continually seeing the hand of God in placing all of these plants here for our use and our healing. It makes me very thankful for a wise and loving God who cared so much for us that He created plants for every ailment. It is so sad that most of this knowledge has fallen by the wayside. In our family, as we study herbs, we have found it always directs us back to the feet of the Saviour in amazement and thanksgiving for His providence.

It is the flower bud that you want to pick and gather during the summer. Lay them on a cookie sheet, cover with a cheese cloth and let them dry...then store in an airtight jar in a cool dark place (as you should store all of your herbal teas and medicines!) But, you can also order them from Mountain Rose Herbs or other places on the web. Just make sure you buy organic so you will receive the medicinal benefit from this herb.

When you are out working in the field and get stung by an insect, crush one of the flower buds and rub over the bite! And don't forget about plantain leaves for the same thing...

Red clover tea is made by bringing water almost to a boil and then pouring over the buds and allowing to steep (covered!) for a few minutes. Sweeten with honey or stevia - NEVER white sugar if you are using this tea for a medicinal purpose. It is relaxing to the nerves, and is wonderful for colds, spasmodic coughing, stubborn dry coughs, wheezing, bronchitis and in the past was a preferred herb for treating whooping cough. Gargling with the tea helps to relieve sore throats. Red clover is also an expectorant and helps to relieve congestion. If drinking the tea for sore throat relief, add some slippery elm bark to the tea!

You can take your tea and turn it into a syrup as I instructed in my post on Horehound. It is always one of the herbs I use in making our cough syrup. That in turn can be turned into a cough drop, as I instructed in the same post.

Red clover tincture is one of the most important tinctures in our herbal medicine chest. As soon as I get that feeling that I am coming down with a cold, I begin to use Red Clover tincture and Colloidal Silver. Tinctures are easy to make but can also be purchased from Herb Pharm - the only online source I would trust for my herbal medicine if I couldn't make it myself.

Red clover is extremely effective and works quickly. One afternoon, I was teaching a class on herbal medicine and the herb that I chose to use for demonstrating tincture making was Red Clover. I knew that I had a cold coming on, sniffles, scratchy throat, etc. I began taking this tincture at the beginning of the class, explaining to the people present that I would be using this throughout the class and why. Within 2 hours, there was a VERY noticeable improvement. Sinuses cleared, sniffles and nose blowing ceased....this was one excited class because they were able to see the results first hand! I had a large bowl of fresh picked red clover in the center of one of the tables. Students appeared ready to fight over this clover at the end of the class. Everyone wanted to go home and make a tincture that night!

Next spring, I highly recommend that you begin gathering blossoms and drying and storing them for winter. I use them fresh during the season but always keep about a gallon of them dried for winter use. I make about 2 quarts of tincture during the summer....and am thinking about increasing that amount. My boys are more than willing to pick them because they have experienced the healing relief from their colds....

Red clover is also healing for the skin. It is cleansing to wounds and promotes healing. It is an important part of the healing salve that I make. Currently, red clover is being studied by the medical community for its anti-cancer properties.

Red clover has many other healing benefits. I encourage you to study this herb thoroughly and make it a part of your herbal medicine chest.


  1. Thanks for the timely post on Red Clover, that's one plant we have a lot of on the farm here. Amazing to find out that a person is walking through medicinal plants all around us. Another post to file away for reference.


  2. Through the years I have studied herbal medicine and what herbs can do for us. I guess I thought finding someone who also was doing that would never happen. This is an amazing thing. God Bless You.


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