Monday, September 26, 2016

Wildcrafting - Red Clover - Uses and Recipes

Hello there! Welcome! I want to introduce you to one of my favorite naturally gathered flowers. Red clover, an abundant plant found in many meadow or field-type areas, is a great wildcrafted goodie! This plant is native to Europe, Western Asia and northwest Africa but has been introduced to many other areas of the world. Here in the U.S. it is readily seen during the spring/summer months.

This pretty flower has a lovely pinkish-purple bud that comes up from the clover on stalks. The plant usually has several blooms, and with responsible harvesting can be picked several times during the season from the same plant. Remember, only pick about a third of the buds you see, leave the rest for the critters!
Harvesting this plant is really easy, you probably don't need anything more than a container to hold your bounty. Of course, watch for bees and other bugs as they love this flower. Pick vibrant buds, with little to no browning on them. I like to pick off as much of the green leaves as I can, because really the flower is the most useful portion. Give the clover a nice rinse in cool water to remove any detritus, you can even let them soak a minute or two if you want. I like to put my flowers in a colander and fill my sink so I can easy drain the water when I'm done.
Place a clean towel down and spread out your freshly washed clover. Let them sit overnight to dry. You can use fresh clover right away, maybe for a nice bath soak, but I like to dry my clover all the way for storage. To dry, place the buds in a container where you will get good airflow and let it stay in the air for 1-2 weeks. I like to gently toss herb with my freshly-washed hands each day. The bids will turn a little brown, but should keep some of its color once completely dry. Store in a air-tight container, preferably out of direct sunlight. If you are using for edible reasons, should be fine for a year. If using for bath products or crafts, stable for much longer. 
  Flower buds I dried for a week.
Here are a few red clover medicinally properties. Now remember, use any herb with caution. Seek the advice of a qualified medical professional if you are on medications or have certain health issues, and never use in place of treating actual medical treatments and medications.  
Red clover: ingested it supports treatments for headaches, migraines, indigestion, high cholesterol, hormone imbalances and treat hot flashes. Topically, it helps soothe sun burns, skin sores, and chronic skin diseases including eczema and psoriasis. 
Now to the fun part...what can you use the dried buds for? Here are a few ideas!
You can make a fragrant and light tasting tea with red clover.  Place 1-2 teaspoons of the dried buds into a steeper and let them ruminate in the 8-10 oz. boiling water and let steep for about 10-20 minutes (or until you get a nice color). Add some honey or agave (or sugar) to sweeten and enjoy! You can make a big pot, cool it down and sip on it all day if you want!
As red clover has healing properties, it is very suitable to make a healing ointment or salve. Here is a link on how to make an simple ointment base. You can change it around however you want to fit your needs. 
For the red clover ointment, you will need about at least a cup or so of dried buds. 

Make a delicious herbal bath tea with dried flower buds. Include dried clover for a nice seasonal touch, or to to bring some summer sunshine into a winter soak. Bath teas are simple, just throw in some dried herbs (or freshly picked) and let them steep while you lounge. This can be a bit messy, but oh so luxurious. You can also add these to homemade bath salts for added decadence. Follow this link for a simple bath salt recipe you can change how you see fit! 
Red clover can be used in spellwork for many things. Its a versatile and pretty! They are used for luck work, love (new and continuing), prosperous marriages, fidelity. Use as offerings on Litha or Beltane, to the goddess and god in celebrating their union. Use to attract money, bless domestic animals and remove negativity.
Add to your floor wash, ground up and put in your incense, add to mojo bags or amulets, gosh so many uses!
Red clover is such a pretty, elegant little herb that often gets overlooked. Its readily available and easy to dry. I recommend you try it out! 
Until next time,

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