Foraging Red Clover for Medicine and Food


| 6/5/2014 10:02:00 AM


Tags: food foraging, wild edibles, bread baking, New York, Leda Meredith,

red cloverIt’s a flower. It’s a legume. It’s several kinds of medicine. It’s flour to bake with, an infusion to sip, something to kick up the nitrogen in your soil, it’s … (drumroll, please) … Red Clover!

Red Clover: Nitrogen Fixer

Red Clover (Trifolium pratense) is a perennial plant that is in peak bloom right now through early July. It’s leaflets come in groupings of 3 (no 4-leafed clovers here), and often sport a whitish, chevron-shaped mark. The flowers look like pink or pinkish-purple pompoms made up of many tiny individual florets. The whole flower heads are 1/2 to 1 1/4 inches in diameter. The plants usually get to be about 16 inches tall.

Trifolium pratense is in the Fabaceae, also known as the legume family. It is often planted by farmers as a cover crop because it has the super power of being able to fix atmospheric nitrogen in the soil and make that biologically available to nourish other plants.

Medicinal Properties of Red Clover

That’s not the only super power red clover has. Medicinally, it is used for respiratory complaints, and for chronic skin ailments such as eczema. Isoflavone compounds in red clover act as phytoestrogens and are used to relieve menopausal symptoms. There are a few studies out there (and hopefully more will be done) that indicate red clover may be useful in preventing and treating breast cancer.


cyndes
6/16/2014 8:11:57 AM

I have used red clover for years in my tea. It is an alterative herb in that it helps the most where you need it. Love the herb and how easy it is to dry. :)




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