Red Clover – Trifolium pretense

Red Clover
Red Clover

“To make a prairie it takes a clover & one bee.”

Emily Dickinson
(1830-1886)

This biennial, sometimes perennial herb became naturalized in North America, having come originally from the eastern Mediterranean and Asia. This legume has three leaves and once were believed to represent the Three Essentials of the Hermetic sciences, the triad Goddesses of Mythology and later the Christian Trinity. The ‘V’ (sometimes crescent) markings on the leaves were believed to be a sign that indicated in the Doctrine of Signatures that this plant would be useful in the curing of cataracts.

Traditional Chinese Medicine and Western folk medicine used this plant as a diuretic, a cough expectorant (an agent that promotes discharge of mucus from the respiratory passages), and an alterative. Alterative plants were considered beneficial for chronic conditions, particularly those afflicting the skin.

Dried clover blossoms were put in with soups and stews, where they added vitamins and minerals. Red clover is a source of many valuable nutrients including calcium, chromium, magnesium, niacin, phosphorus, potassium, thiamine, and vitamin C. Native Americans have been known to eat red clover in salads, and dried flowers can be dried and turned into flour that can be used in breads, muffins, or pancakes

A yellow dye is obtained from the flowers.

Clover Tea

Place 2 oz fresh clover blossoms, less if dried, in a warmed glass container.

Bring 2.5 cups of fresh nonchlorinated water to the boiling point and add it to the herbs.

Cover the tea and steep for about 30 minutes, then strain.

Drink cold, a few mouthfuls at a time throughout the day, up to one cup per day.

The prepared tea may be kept for about two days in the refrigerator.

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