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Written by Tera on August 22, 2012 – -
By Heather Gardner
If you have been picnicking in the park or wandering in nature this summer chances are that you have seen the pretty in pink blossoms, queen of the meadows, red clover. Maybe it reminds you of happy childhood carefree days trying to suck the ‘honey’ from the clover blossoms whilst pretending to be bees, or it makes you smile to think of all the times that you thought you saw one with four leaves and you had hit the jackpot, only to realize it wasn’t and the leprechauns wouldn’t be giving you any of their gold today. That’s where you have been wrong! I’m here to tell you that next time you stumble upon a field of red clover you have indeed hit the jackpot and won yourself your very own crock of gold, no rainbows or leprechauns required!
You see, red clover is not just a pretty little blossom but actually a powerful healing herb and has been used for countless centuries to promote health and wellness. That’s not all, it’s also a wild edible plant growing prolifically all around us and available for us to use for free, not just as medicine but as free food as well. Red clover truly is a great example of the saying ‘let your food be your medicine’.
It has been found to assist with the following conditions:
• Helps to remove toxins
• Increases the flow of urine
• Expelling mucus from the lungs
• Increases bile and digestion
• Used as a blood cleanser
• Useful for skin conditions
• Is anti inflammatory
• Contains plant phyto-oestrogens
• Helps balance hormone levels during the menopause
• Relieves symptoms such as hot flushes
• Helps prevent abnormal cells forming
• Used in anticancer herbal recipes
Clover can be used over a period of time to see results, it is a very mild herb, contains trace minerals and is suitable for children.
For skin conditions it needs to be taken over several months.
It fixes nitrogen in the soil so is used to improve soil quality and makes great hay!
Bees adore honey and can be seen buzzing about the meadows gathering clover nectar for making tasty clover honey.
Clover leaves and flowers can be gathered and eaten in salads, juices, smoothies and drinks.
You can buy clover seed for sprouting in your indoor garden.
Caution: Don’t use red clover if you are pregnant or on blood thinning medication, always consult a professional.
Here are some tasty ways for you to include red clover in your diet:
If you are intending to use red clover for its beneficial properties then the best way will be to drink a daily tea or infusion. To make a tea, simply add a few fresh blossoms to a teacup or a handful to a teapot, pour on water that hasn’t reached boiling point yet and allow to steep for 5-10 min before enjoying.
To make an infusion, which is a stronger more potent way of using herbs, add several handfuls of blossoms to a teapot. Pour on the hot water and steep over night. You can drink it throughout the following day. A great way to serve herbal infusions to children is to mix it with their favorite juice or smoothie! You can even make it into ice cubes to serve in drinks. To help you remember which herbal infusions the ice cubes are for, you can add a clover blossom to each one before freezing.
Make your own jam with honey! Honey is a preservative and when mixed with any edible flower blossoms or herbs it captures the flavour of the plant. This makes a delicious herbal flower jam that you can spread on your food. You can use mixtures of flowers or just one type. Try to find raw honey as it is higher in minerals and if you are vegan you can try it with agave nectar.
Gather your blossoms early on a warm dry day. The jam works best if the flowers are dry, there should be no need to wash them if you gather them from a clean location. Snip of any stems, leaves or non flower parts with a scissors and mix together with the honey. 1 cup of honey to 2 cups of blossoms works well, or else just fill your jar with blossoms and pour on the honey until they are covered. Allow to stand for 3 days, though give it a stir every 24 hours, and then its ready to eat. If the blossoms are dry the jam should last a long time preserved by the honey.
2-4 cups red clover blossoms
1 litre of water
2-4 tablespoons of clover honey (or try dandelion, heather or wildflower honey)
Juice of 1 -2 lemons
Bring your water to the boil, but before it does boil, pour it over the clover blossoms in a teapot or jar. Allow to cool, but while still warm stir in the honey to dissolve. When cool add in the lemon juice, adjust the taste of honey or lemon to your taste and allow to chill in the fridge.
Keep a few clover blossoms aside and add them into an ice cube tray, fill up with water and freeze. When your drink is chilled and your ice cubes ready serve them together on a hot summer’s day.
You can learn a lot more about herbs and wild edibles through Tera Warner’s Women’s Wellness University. Enrollment is now taking place for next session’s programs on Herbal Medicine for Women’s Health (Where you’ll discover the power of plants & start using herbs to relieve the most common health concerns for women) and Introduction to Wild Edibles (where you discover the skills and experience you need to feed your family for free, live a sustainable lifestyle and eat the healthiest foods on the planet!)
Heather Gardner is the program support coach for the Wild Edible and Herbal Health programs with the Women’s Wellness University. As a lifelong 3rd generation vegetarian Heather began learning about herbs and wild foods at a young age from her herbalist mother while growing up on a remote mountainside in Ireland. Due to numerous health challenges at a young age, she began delving into the world of foraging, potion making, herbs, nutrition, and raw & living foods as a teenager searching for solutions. Now she lives in the west of Ireland, devising raw recipes, making beauty potions, foraging, writing, teaching and running her business www.consciousearthcompany.com as well as running after her feisty little toddler! Connect with Heather on Facebook here.