Friday, June 18, 2010

Celebrate Red Clover Infusion

Red clover is a humble yet magnificent gift that happens to grow abundantly in my back yard and I can safely say that it grows in yours as well. It is indigenous to many regions around the country. Since my childhood, I have been unable to resist the sweet nectar at the base of each individual purple blossom. If you haven’t partaken in this delightful activity, simply pick a red clover – which is actually purple – and pluck a tiny, slender blossom. The base of the blossom is white and contains nectar. Place the white end between your teeth, bite down and brace yourself for an explosion, offering your taste buds a heavenly surge of natural sweetness.

Last year, I suffered from the bite of a brown recluse spider. This was a life-altering event. Although I was fortunate to avoid skin grafts, I was ill for quite some time. I believe that my fast acting application of a homeopathic salve aided in the prevention of the death of the skin around the bite area. However, I took in over 43,000 milligrams of antibiotics in ten days. To say that I was wiped out is a gross understatement.

After the onslaught of antibiotics taken at home and at the hospital, I needed to regain my strength and rebuild my immune system. In addition to a variety of homeopathic supplements, a friend suggested that I drink plenty of “red clover” tea as an effective blood purifier. Upon doing research, I have discovered that red clover is excellent for many ills such as cancer of the stomach, quieting nerves, healing fresh wounds and it makes an outstanding healing balm. (Please note that it is not recommended for pregnant women.)

I dashed off to my favorite health food store and purchased a pricey box of the tea. I spent a good part of my summers chewing on these purple gems that grow wildly in every back yard I have known, so I knew that it was crazy to buy any more “red clover” tea from that point on.

Recently, after several days of rain, the grasses surrounding the house were dotted with both red and white clover. I decided to harvest the red clover for tea, although it is also great for making sweet syrup, lemonade and sprinkling in rice and salads. Are you one step away from outright grazing yet?

This is how to celebrate red clover. Gather the flowers in the summer when in full bloom. Blossoms may be used fresh or dried. Check for bugs. If drying, place in the shade, preferably on wax paper. When dry, put them in paper bags and hang in a dry place.

Recipe for Red Clover Infusion

Place ½ to 1 cup of dried red clover into a quart mason jar.
If using fresh clover, remember that fresh herbs are simmered gently in water for a few minutes to break down their cell walls. Dried herbs are not simmered as they have brittle cell walls.
Boil 1 quart of water.
Pour boiling water over the herbs to the top of the jar.
Cover the jar tightly with the lid to prevent evaporation of vital elements, as some herbs have unstable oils that easily evaporate.
Let steep at least 8 hours or overnight. Long steeping increases the potency of the tea, as the water is given time to dissolve and do much of its work.
Strain as necessary, leaving the herbs in the infusion to continue steeping until all the tea is gone.
Sweeten to taste with honey if desired.
Enjoy one of Gaia’s astonishing gifts.

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