Only my hubby-to-be would ever agree to rolling out of bed (on his holiday) at the crack of dawn, to wander down to my secret spot, mason jar in hand, to forage and collect herbs for a medicine-making project of mine. Aww.
We must have looked such a site. Me lying in the grass taking pictures of red clover with the sun rising behind it, and him crouching down amongst the weeds carefully choosing the bestest clover heads for my infusion.
So whilst this is perhaps the simplest of remedies I’m sharing with you today – it’s actually a pretty special one.
Red Clover (Trifolium pratense) Infusion for Psoriasis and Skin Conditions
This pretty little flower is a common weed you may have seen growing in un mown grass and in the green patches on sidewalks around the city. It’s actually a very special herbal remedy for women and for skin.
One of its actions is as a depurative (also referred to as an alterative). This is actually a very old, traditional Herbal Medicine term, and refers to the plant's ability to detoxify and assist in elimination – reducing the accumulation of metabolic wastes.
By getting the blood flowing and aiding elimination, you are able to clear skin conditions by moving the waste that builds up underneath the skin’s surface. This is what makes it such a beautiful remedy for chronic skin disorders such as psoriasis.
Red clover flowers differ from the regular, pale brown clover, though both are a favourite with the bees and make beautiful honey. When you forage for them, it is best to choose an area that hasn’t been sprayed. A tradition I like to follow, is to give a small offering to the plant and ask permission before harvesting, only taking what you need and no more. In the Native American Indian tradition, they would give a little tobacco – which is a sharing plant – such a sweet offering. The late spring and summer months are the perfect time to pick them.
In addition to purifying the blood, red clover was traditionally used to clear the respiratory system of mucous (due to its lymphatic and expectorant actions). It is also traditionally used for the treatment of menopause and hot flushes, and as an anti-cancer medicine (again, for its ability to detoxify and aid elimination),.
Red clover is a great source of vitamins and minerals, an extremely nourishing plant.
The recipes below use fresh red clover flowers - but you should be able to find the dried flowers at a natural foods store, or from a herbal supplier such as Astral Herbs (Australia).
Red Clover Tea
- Freshly harvested red clover flower heads
- To make a tea, pour boiling water over a couple of teaspoons of red clover flowers and steep for 10-15 minutes.
- Drink the tea three times a day.
- If you have any flowers leftover after making your tea, add them to a salad.
Red Clover Infusion
This recipe has a much longer steeping time than a regular tea (which many herbalists would actually refer to as an infusion) – as taught to me by my Herbal teacher on my Shamanic Herbal Apprenticeship.
- 1 litre glass jar with a lid
- Enough red clover heads to fill the jar
- Fill a glass jar with red clover heads, right to the very top.
- Cover it entirely with boiling water and screw the lid on.
- Let steep for eight hours, or overnight.
- Strain out the plant material, give it back to the earth for compost and drink the tea.
- The benefit of preparing a long infusion this way is that it enables all the precious minerals to be extracted.
1. Kerry, B and Mills, S. Principles and Practice of Phytotherapy. Second Edition. 2013.
2. University of Maryland Medical Center, Red Clover. Ehrlich, S. 2013. Retrieved 30 January 2015 from: http://umm.edu/health/medical/altmed/herb/red-clover