Fall seems to have arrived a bit early here in east Tennessee! They are calling for a cold winter with lots of snow this year. We almost never have snow until January but we are getting prepared for an earlier winter. 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 to drive through snow. They say that might be a bit different this year.
With colder weather comes the flu, colds and other fall and winter ailments. 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 my Father 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 my family, as we study herbs, we have found it always directs us back to the feet of the Savior 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 (their banner is on the right). Always use organic so you will receive the medicinal benefit from this herb.
Red clover tea is made by bringing water almost to a boil and then pouring over the buds and allowing to steep (covered!) for at least 5 to 10 minutes. Sweeten with honey or stevia. Don’t use 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 (it calms bronchial spasms!), stubborn dry coughs, wheezing, bronchitis (it loosens phlegm!) 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!
Red clover is packed with nutrients including calcium, chromium, magnesium, niacin, phosphorus, potassium, thiamine, and vitamin C.
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 HerbPharm – the only source I would trust for 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.
You can also purchase red clover if you’d like to prepare for this winter or if you don’t live in an area where you have the ability to pick your own! Just click on the Mountain Rose Banner on the right (or go here)…but be careful! Their new website presents things so beautifully you’ll find you want to purchase ALL of the herbs…well…at least I do!
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 and an important component in several teas that I custom blend.
Currently, red clover is being studied by the medical community for its anti-cancer properties. It appears to be showing great promise.
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 this winter!