Herb Profiles

Red Clover (Trifolium pratense)

Red clover (Trifolium pratense) is a lovely little plant that grows abundantly in meadows and along roadsides here in Southwest Michigan and in temperate regions across the world. It is a favorite among farmers, foragers, and herbalists.  In his book, Back to Eden, herbalist, Jethro Kloss, called red clover “one of God’s greatest blessings to man.” And for good reason! This wonderful legume is edible, medicinal, and extremely useful in the garden.

We planted red clover heavily this year at the Augusta Creek Permaculture site to aid in the transition from lawn to forest garden as it helps to force out unwanted weeds and grass. It also loosens poor, rocky, or clay soil and fixes nitrogen. We chop and drop it throughout the season to prepare areas for planting and feed other plants. It is a low-maintence, easy to grow perennial and is a favorite cover crop among farmers because it easily adapts to a variety of climates, grows quickly, and has few issues with diseases and pests.

Red clover has many medicinal uses. It is blood purifying and improves liver function. It also has antispasmodic and expectorant properties, making it helpful for coughs and other bronchial issues.

It is helpful in aiding the healing of skin problems, such as skin eruptions, eczema, psoriasis, skin growths, and fresh wounds. It is also a great herb for treating skin problems in children, as it is very gentle. Because of these properties, it is a wonderful addition to healing salves.

Red clover and nettle combine well for treatment of skin problems. This lovely clay mask is simple to make and naturally purifies oily, acne prone skin types. The clay draws out toxins and gently exfoliates. Red clover and nettle cleanse and heal problem skin.

Red Clover & Nettle Exfoliating Face Scrub

  • 1 cup betonite clay
  • 1/4 cup finely ground dry red clover blossoms
  • 1/4 cup finely ground nettle leaf

Combine ingredients and mix well. Store in a glass container with a lid.

To use: mix a small amount (1-2 teaspoons) of the clay & herb blend with water to form a paste. Apply mixture to face and massage gently into skin. Rinse with warm water. If desired, follow with an astringent facial spray (click here to learn how to make your own dandelion, cleaver & violet toner!) then a little bit of a natural moisturizer.

Red clover blossoms are pleasant tasting and make a wonderful, healing tea. They can also be enjoyed in a variety of foods and other beverages.

During these wonderful summer months, I love to stroll through the forest garden and pick fresh herbs for teas. This simple blend is one of my favorites and is perfect to unwind with after a busy day.

Red Clover, Yarrow & Lemon Balm Tea

  • 1 part fresh red clover blossoms
  • 1 part fresh lemon balm leaves
  • 1/2 part fresh yarrow leaves
  • Boiling water
  • Honey (optional)

Place herbs in a cup or pot and. Pour boiling water over them. Cover tightly and let infuse for 15-20 minutes. Sweeten with honey if desired. Serve hot or cold.

If you’re looking for more ways to utilize red clover, try these recipes from Wild Roots Homestead or one of the recipes below:

Enjoy using red clover in your food, medicine cabinet, beauty routine, and garden this season.

What are your favorite ways to use red clover? Let us know!


Back to Eden by Jethro Kloss. 172.

The Herbal Handbook: A User’s Guide to Medical Herbalism by David Hoffman. 174.

The Way of Herbs by Michael Tierra. 185.

A Modern Herbal: Volume I by M. Grieve. 207-208.

“Clover, medium red.” Stirictly Medincal Seeds. strictlymedicinalseeds.com

“Red Clover.” Oregon Clover Commission. http://www.oregonclover.org/clovers/redclover/

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