Seasonal Herb Crafting­ - Herbal Allies for Summer (Part 1: Red Clover)

by Meadowlark

Its just past the peak of summer, and the plants have begun to turn their attention from growth to production (and reproduction). Instead of focusing efforts on growing leaves and stems, they are flowering, fruiting and producing seeds. One place in nature where this is imminently evident is in the summer fields and meadows, where lush crops of Red Clover are blooming and buzzing with native pollinators, busily gathering and sipping nectar. An energy of abundance, fertility and manifestation is in the air! Red Clover is a sweet herbal ally that can help us leverage this seasonal energy of abundance and assist us in our own manifestation work.

Red Clover (Trifolium pratense) is a low growing, perennial, flowering plant in the legume (or bean) family, and one of the first plants cultivated by man to improve the soil and as forage for cattle. Red Clover is native to Europe, Western Asia and Northwest Africa, but has been planted and naturalised in many regions of the world, including North America, where it is the state flower of Vermont. The plant is rich in folklore and has been used both magically and medicinally since ancient times.

This childhood rhyme for a four-leaf clover actually originates from the Middle Ages:

One leaf for fame,
One leaf for wealth,
One for a faithful lover,

And one to bring glorious health,
Are all in a four-leaf clover

With all of those magical attributes, what better herbal ally to help us manifest our dreams and desires?

Or, are your goals are a little more physical in nature? Red Clover can help you manifest these goals as well. Full of nutrients such as: calcium, chromium, magnesium, niacin, phosphorus, potassium, thiamine, and vitamin C, and one of the richest sources of isoflavones (water-soluble chemicals that act like estrogens and are found in many plants), Red Clover can help support vibrant health and vitality. Recent studies (and years of use) show the following health benefits:

  • Cancer prevention and resistance: Red Clover contains the compounds: biochanin-A, caffeic acid, chlorogenic acid, coumarin, formononetin, genistein and isorhamnetin, which have all demonstrated some anti-cancer properties in various published studies. The plant has traditionally been used to increase resistance to cancer and other diseases (although, due to its estrogen-like qualities, red clover isn't recommended for use against breast cancer), and is a primary ingredient in traditional herbal formulas, such as Essiac Tea, Jason Winters Tea, and the Hoxsey Therapy.

  • Reproductive Health: The isoflavones and other phytosterols in Red Clover have been shown to limit the development of benign prostate hyperplasia in men (a common non-cancerous enlargement of the prostate gland), and in women, lessen symptoms of PMS or menopause and other conditions associated with low or unbalanced estrogen levels. Red clover has also been a traditional herbal remedy for infertility and chronic miscarriage (both of which can be due to insufficient estrogen).

  • Pre and peri-menopausal Health: Red Clover has been shown to reduce hot flashes/flushes, slow bone loss (and may even boost bone mineral density), raise HDL cholesterol levels (the “good” kind), lower LDL cholesterol levels (the “bad” kind), reduce the risk of forming blood clots and arterial plaques, and increase arterial flexibility and strength, in pre and peri-menopausal women.

  • Respiratory Health: Red clover has been used traditionally to treat whooping cough and other respiratory ailments.

  • Skin Health: Red clover contains several anti-inflammatory compounds, including salicylic acid (the pain relieving compound in aspirin) and is often seen as an herbal ingredient in topical salves and linaments. Red Clover has been shown to treat and relieve the pain of both eczema and psoriasis, as well as sores, burns, and as an aid against skin cancer.

 

SUMMER HERBCRAFTING WITH RED CLOVER

Manifesting Physical Health and Vitality: Are you trying to maintain or build strong bones? A healthy heart and circulatory system? Resistance to cancer? Or maybe trying to conceive and successfully carry a much wanted pregnancy to term? Eating and drinking Red Clover can help support you in these goals.

  • Nourishing Infusion: To make a nourishing infusion, place 1 oz dried red clover blossoms* in 1 quart mason jar (to improve the taste, you can also try including a spoonful or two dried peppermint), fill with boiling water, lid tightly, and allow to steep for 4-10 hours (easiest is overnight). Strain well (composting the spent herbs) and drink warm or chilled, as desired. For best results, drink 2-4 cups a day for at least 30 days. It may take several months to reach the full effect of this herb, and if being used for fertility, pregnancy may take up to a year or two (so keep trying!).

*Note-Since the minerals and other phytochemicals in nourishing herbs are made more accessible by drying, dried herbs are considered best for infusions.

  • Healing Food:The raw young leaves and fresh blossoms have the same vital nutrients as the infusion (albeit in smaller quantities per volume) and can be added to salads and soups or cooked with grains, such as rice or millet, to further support your physical health and vitality. Red clover is also delicious fresh from the meadow (as any young child who has sucked the nectar from these sweet blossoms can attest).

Manifesting Luck, Wealth and Prosperity: Finding a four-leaved clover has always been considered a lucky charm, and clovers have traditionally been believed to provide protection from evil spirits and disease, as well as bring good fortune.

  • Magical Amulet: Traditionally, a clover may be worn over the right breast to bring success in all undertakings, and one may be worn in the hat or placed under the pillow to bring good luck and protection. The five leaf clover is said to be powerful for attracting money and is thus worn for that purpose.

  • Magical Baths: As an external body cleanse, Red Clover is said to attract money and prosperity to the bather. To make a clover bath, infuse dried red clover (as above) and add 1 -2 cups of the strained infusion to the bath (or if conserving water, use a ½ cup as a hair or body rinse in the shower or just a hand rinse prior to spellwork).

Manifesting Love: Want to be more "lucky in love"? Red clover is traditionally used in lust potions, love magic, and spell-work to support marital happiness. Folklore and tradition tell us the following love enhancing properties of clover:

  • If you find a two-leaved clover you will soon find a lover <3

  • If you put a four-leaved clover in your shoe before going out, you will increase your chances of meeting a rich new love.

  • If two people eat a four-leaved clover together, mutual love will develop (except...maybe, if you eat the clover that was in your shoe).

Manifesting “Fairy Sight”: Clover is also believed to be a favorite plant of the Fairies. Some traditions state that holding clover in your hand will gain you the ability to see them...others say to gain "The Sight", one should lay seven grains of wheat on a four-leaved clover. Try one or both methods in your magical garden or a local green space this summer! When you see them, don't forget to make an offering of sweets made with clover honey...maybe they will help you find the love, money or treasures you seek!

Happy Herbcrafting!

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Cautions/Disclaimers

  • This article is for informational and educational purposes only. Please consult a licensed or certified health care practitioner before medical or internal use, especially with children, or when pregnant or breastfeeding.

  • Red Clover is ot recommended for use in those with breast or ovarian cancer, liver problems, or those struggling with estrogen dominance conditions (e.g. fibroids, endometriosis, etc)

  • Due to its blood thinning effects, Red Clover is not recommended for those with bleeding and clotting disorders or anyone 2 weeks prior to surgery

  • Potential Drug Interactions: Not recommended for use with contraceptive pills or blood thinners