Although it is not native to this country, red clover can be found in abundance along roadsides and in fields almost anywhere. I found a wealth of it growing in the mountains of Colorado. The beautiful purple flowers have a sweet scent as well as taste.
A tea made from the blossoms has been used for generations in treating whooping cough, bronchitis, and many other respiratory ailments. According to master herbalist Dr. John Christopher, it has also been used medicinally to treat a number of other conditions including cancer, chronic rheumatism, skin diseases, and syphilis. He recommends drinking four strong cups of tea a day for internal cancers, or make into a paste or salve for external use. Red clover, like most herbs, is very versatile. Salves made from this powerful herb may also be used for eczema and psoriasis, compresses for arthritis pains and gout, and try an ointment for lymphatic swellings.
Research has found that taking red clover daily for 12 weeks can relieve and reduce hot flashes that commonly occur during menopause.
The Mayo Clinic has announced that it contains an effective anticoagulant that may be helpful in treating coronary thrombosis. In addition, it is well known as a gentle blood purifier which gradually removes wastes from the body.
Current research on red clover has shown that treating prostate cancer cells with red clover isoflavones substantially decreases the production of PSA (prostate-specific antigens), which occur at higher levels in patients with prostate cancer.
Collect the purple flowers in late morning when the dew is gone. The color is an indicator of the vibrancy of the flowers, so only select the most beautiful.
Dump your harvest into a basket or tub to get rid of the largest of the hitch-hiking bugs; then put the flowers into a mesh bag or plastic container with holes, such as the kind strawberries or blueberries may have come in, and shake to get rid of the rest of the critters.
Drying and Storing:
Lay the blossoms in a single layer on paper or drying racks until completely dry; then place in tightly sealed glass jars, label, and store in a cool dark place. The flowers should retain their bright colors.
People on anticoagulant drugs such as Coumadin should be cautious of using red clover, as the blood may become too thin. Because the isoflavones in red clover mimic estrogen effects in the body, it is not recommended for pregnant women or those who have had breast cancer.