Red Clover Identification, Benefits and Uses
I have a red clover patch next to our cabin that is my favorite spot for watching the bees and butterflies gather sweet nectar from the blossoms. Our family has been using red clover for over 25 years with excellent results and I want to share with you the identification benefits and uses. For instance, it is known to be one of the best blood purifiers and drinking a cup of red clover tea each day is a great way to detox the blood while adding nutrition.
Name: Red Clover
Other Names: Purple clover and wild clover
Botanical, Scientific or Latin Name: Trifolium pratense
Plant Family: Fabaceae
The entire plant is edible.
- Alterative – helps to gradually restore body functions and increase health
- Antispasmodic – relaxes stomach muscles
- Depurative – detoxes and purify the blood
- Expectorant – helps soothe coughs
- Mild Stimulant – increases alertness and mood
- Helps purify the blood and increase blood circulation
- Treats skin disorders – acne, eczema, rashes
- Reduces menopausal symptoms – hot flashes, night sweats
- Quiets the nerves and reduces exhaustion
- Improves bone strength – osteoporosis
- Helps lung issues – asthma, whooping cough, bronchitis
- High in calcium, vitamin C, beta-carotene and B vitamins
- High in magnesium, manganese, zinc, copper and selenium
How to Identify
This is a low-growing perennial plant that grows up to 3 feet tall. Its purple blossoms are easy to spot along the roadside or in a field.
- The green leaves have 3 oval leaflets, with a white “V” shaped marking.
- The pink-purple blossom (flower head) is round and about 1″ across. If you look closely you will see that each blossom is made up of tiny tubular-shaped flowers.
- The stem is hairy.
Where To Find In The Wild
This highly nutritional herb is available all year and grows throughout North America.You can find it blooming from May until September in your backyard, local park, walking trails, country roads and fields. You should always check to make sure the area has not been sprayed with chemicals before harvesting and you should never eat a wild plant unless you are 100% positive of the identification.
Where To Find Online
Order wild-harvested organic red clover blossoms from my Etsy shop. The blossoms are hand picked fresh on our land in the Missouri Ozarks.
Order organic dried red clover blossoms at Starwest Botanicals. They have competitive prices and quick ship same-day shipping.
How to Use
All parts of the plant can be used but the blossoms and leaves are the most common. Drying the plant and storing it in your pantry is a great way to add nutrition to your diet during the winter months.
- The blossoms and leaves can be added to a salads, soups, sandwiches and smoothies.
- A great tasting tea can be made from the fresh or dried blossoms and leaves.
How To Make Tea (Infusion)
An infusion is made from fresh or dried blossoms or leaves (whole, cut or powdered). Do not boil the herbs because the blossoms and leaves are delicate. The nutrients are easily extracted.
- 1 tsp dried herbs or 1 tablespoon fresh herbs
- 1 cup gently boiling water
Put herbs in a mug or into a tea strainer, pour hot water over herbs, cover and steep 15 minutes for a light tea or longer for a strong tea. Strain and sweeten with honey, if desired.
How To Make Tincture
A tincture is more concentrated than a tea. Is more convenient to use and has a long shelf life. The alcohol extracts the medicinal qualities from the plant and preserves it. I like to store my tinctures in glass amber bottles (with dropper) but any clean glass jar will be good. Store in a cool dark place and they will keep indefinitely.
- Fresh or dried blossoms
- 80 proof vodka
- Quart jar with lid
Fill a quart glass canning jar halfway with fresh or dried herbs. Pour 80 proof vodka over the herbs filling almost to the top of the jar. Stir well, seal lid tightly and label with herb and date. Keep in a dark place (cabinet) and shake once every day for 2 – 4 weeks. Strain and transfer liquid to glass amber bottles or any clean jar. Sore in a cool dry place.
Wild Red Clover Pesto
You can use just about any wild edible green plant for making pesto such as chickweed, cleavers, dandelion greens, garlic mustard, lamb’s quarters, plantain and wood sorrel. This is a basic recipe that can be made to your taste.
- 2 cups packed fresh red clover leaves
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 2 garlic cloves
- 1/4 cup sunflower seeds or pine nuts
- Dash of sea salt
Process the seeds or nuts in a blender or food processor. Add remaining ingredients and blend smooth. Great on top of pasta, zucchini noodles or veggie sticks.
Blood-thinning. Red clover should not be used by those who are taking heart medication or who have blood thinning problems. Please consult your doctor.