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Wildcrafted Red Clover for Tea and Infusions

12:44 PM

About a week and a half ago I brought my 2-year-old to the far side of the neighborhood pond.  She threw rocks and sticks in the water and picked a few early Daiseys, and then came home for a nap.  While we were out there, I noted that the Red Clover were high and almost ready to blossom and when I got home, I made note that last year's clover stash was dwindling. 

Lets rewind a bit here.  Whatever prompted me to make red clover flower tea in the first place?  Well, I read up on it a while back and found out these things regarding the effect of  this flower's estrogen and isoflavones on women who were dealing with infertility and other menstrual issues (it took us a year to get pregnant with child #1 due to some of the imbalances I was dealing with).  The medical community finds many of the claims made for the usefulness of Red Clover to be inconclusive, but does note that women use it to control symptoms of PMS etc and to even out estrogen levels (as long as the quantities taken aren't in excess).   Susun Weed, my favorite herbalist, attests "Dozens of women have told me that they had successful pregnancies after drinking a cup or more (up to four cups) a day of red clover infusion"  and notes that "An infusion (not tea, not tincture, not capsules) of red clover blossoms, leaves, and stems is not only very high in protein, macro- and trace-minerals, and vitamins (except B12), it is an excellent source of phytosterols. Phytosterols are hormone-like substances found in many plants that can be bio-converted in the human gut into active anti-cancer estrogens and other helpful anti-stress hormones. Calling phytosterols phytoestrogens is confusing, as it implies harmful, not protective, effects."

Well, I ended up finally getting pregnant with baby #1 during the winter months, and didn't get to try out the Red Clover idea (not safe for pregnant women, btw).  

HOWEVER!  18 months after my first baby was born, I decided that if I wanted to have another child, fairly close in age to my first, I should start getting my body back to healthy/fertility mode sooner than later.  Also, it was June at this point and the Red Clover were out and beautiful.   I picked a bagful and dried it over the next couple of weeks.  I started drinking the tea and THAT MONTH I found myself pregnant with baby #2!   I didn't even get to finish my stash.   Now, whether this was complete coincidence, phytoestrogens, restored trace minerals or what, I don't know...but this is my personal experience with Red Clover.

It also tastes nice as a tea or infusion (think "grassy" or fresh mown hay), looks pretty, is nutritionally beneficial, and it's FREE and abundant!

So, yesterday I took a shopping bag over to the far side of the pond and it was a good thing that I did... here's what I found: 

I picked just the ariel parts ( flowers and top leaves). Brought them home and spread them out on trays lined with paper toweling to dry.

I'm convinced 1 single layer is key to drying.  I've had people tell me they have problems with their flowers molding, but I've never run into this issue.  Just make sure to dry them in a well-ventilated area.

Dry for 2-3 weeks and then store in an airtight container.   My favorite way to prepare these is to take a handful and put it in a teapot and then cover it with boiling water.

Let it steep for a while, then enjoy!

... And don't say I didn't warn you if you find yourself pregnant out of the blue ;-)

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