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How to Use Red Clover

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The red clover plant (Trifolium pratense) is one of those weeds that most of us see in our lawns, gardens, and parks. Its purplish flowers stretch up from the ground just begging us to pay attention.

Red clover benefits the body in a number of different ways, making it the perfect wild plant to harvest and use in our homes.

Close up of a red clover blossom and leaves with text overlay stating: how to use red clover.

How to Harvest Red Clover

Before harvesting do make 100% sure of your identification! Don’t ingest until you are certain.

Pick the flowers in the spring and summer for a sweeter flavor. The fall blossoms are still edible and useful, just not usually as sweet.

Like most herbs, harvest red clover blossoms early in the day when the dew has dried.

Cut fully open blossoms that are brightly colored, avoid browned flowers.

Leave a small bit of stem for drying purposes.

Drying Red Clover

Wash the blossoms to get rid of any dirt and bugs.

Spread the blossoms out onto dehydration trays or wire racks. I usually just leave the trays sitting in the dehydrator without turning it on. Keep them out of direct sunlight while they dehydrate.

Stems of red clover spread out on a wire rack with a metal bucket in the background.

When the flowers are completely dry and crispy, cut the flowers from the stems, place them in an airtight container and label the jar.

How to Make Red Clover Tea

Because it does have a natural sweetness, red clover makes a delicious and medicinal tea.

Simply pour 8 ounces of boiling water over 1 Tablespoon dried red clover blossoms (or 3 Tablespoons Fresh). Let steep for 10 minutes. Sweeten if desired, then strain and enjoy.

Make big batches and refrigerate for refreshing and nourishing iced tea all summer long.

Red Clover Blossom Benefits

Internally and most commonly red clover blossoms are used to treat menopausal systems like hot flashes. This can be done by drinking tea or taking a tincture for a more concentrated dose.

Red clover is high in calcium, magnesium, iron, and vitamin C making it good as a bone building tea.

Because it is safe for children, it is also often used to help soothe children’s coughs.

A hand holding a single red clover blossom.

Externally, it has been traditionally used to soothe skin conditions like eczema and psoriasis. It makes an excellent skin softening salve. Simply make an infused red clover oil to take advantage of these benefits.

It also makes a great balm for soothing chapped lips.

Who Should Avoid Red Clover

Women who are pregnant or breastfeeding should not take red clover because of the natural phytoestrogens found in the plant. There are some blood thinning properties to red clover so hemophiliacs and folks on blood thinners should avoid it as well.

As always, talk to your health care practitioner or pharmacist to avoid drug interactions, etc.

Eating Red Clover

The flowers do have a lovely flavor and can easily be incorporated into your spring and summer recipes. Consider tossing some blossoms into your salads or smoothies.

Mix it with couscous for a wild and delicious Tabbouleh.

The blossoms also make for a beautifully colored floral jelly.

Substitute the red clover for the white clover in these cookies and proceed for a delicious, floral dessert.

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Maxine

Monday 25th of July 2022

Can i use dried red clover in bath water, will it give me any benefits

Kristyn

Friday 27th of May 2022

Hi Kathie, thanks for the article. I've heard that fungi grow on clover. I rinsed mine in vinegar water. Will drying help prevent any that might be hidden in there? I'm having trouble understanding how to even identify if there is fungus growth. Thanks

Kristyn

Friday 27th of May 2022

@Kathie Lapcevic, they say it causes a drooling disease in horses. I want to make dried clover tea, but reading that concerned me :)

Kathie Lapcevic

Friday 27th of May 2022

Well fungi can grow on anything to my knowledge. Is there something specific you read about red clover that concerns you? I'm not aware of this but I've never had problem with just rinsing and drying red clover.

Eirin

Tuesday 3rd of August 2021

I made a tincture of red clover because of my menopause. I had used pills from a health shop, it helped but was expencive. So I harvested the clove, dried it and made the tincture with cheap vodka. My period had been messing for almost a year, after one week I got it back. This had much better effect than the expencive pills.

Terry D Martin

Sunday 25th of October 2020

I think your question/answers are wonderful. Very informative,straight to the point and insightful You do a great job! Sincerely Terry Martin

Trish

Wednesday 6th of March 2019

Hello, I just came across this article on Red Clover on Pinterest. I have some questions, if you don't mind. First, I thought red clover was, well, red. The photo in this article appears to be lavender. I have clover in my yard with red flowers and some with white flowers. If the lavender colored clover is call "red clover," then what is the red colored clover called and what about consuming it? Same question for the clover in my yard with white flowers. I'm being sincere with these questions, not trying to be a smartass. Hope to hear back from you. Thanks!

Kathie Lapcevic

Wednesday 6th of March 2019

The flowers are more purple than red. There is however a 'crimson clover' depending on your location in the world that is more of deep red color. There is also white clover - usually smaller than red clover. The white clover is edible and has some medicinal uses. I don't know as much about the crimson clover other than a lot of folks use it for a cover crop in gardens but maybe knowing that there is a crimson variety can help you find what you need to know.