Red Clover is a perennial herb, origin believed to be Britain where it is abundant, now a world wide escape, naturalized in nearly every country, even the Arctic Circle and high up into mountains. Cultivation: Red Clover is an easily grown plant, from seed or root cuttings, requires little attention. The long root is rhizome, and sends out runners, producing several stems 1 to 2 feet high, slightly hairy; leaves ternate, leaflets ovate, slightly toothed, ending in long point often lighter colored V shape in center, flowers red to purple, fragrant, in dense terminal ovoid or round heads. Blooming from April thought out the summer months. Harvest flowers and dry for later herb use as it comes into bloom. Harvest edible leaves for salad before flowers fully bloom.
Red Clover is edible and medicinal, the young leaves and new flowers are harvested, and are used in salads, soups, or as a pot herb. The sprouted seeds are edible in salads and have a crisp texture and robust flavor. A delicate sweet and medicinal tea is made from the fresh or dried flowers, it is alterative, antiscrofulous, antispasmodic, aperient, detergent, diuretic, expectorant, sedative and tonic. Red Clover has also shown anticancer activity, poultices of the herb have been used as local applications to cancerous growths. Internally, the Red Clover plant is used as an alternative medicine for skin complaints such as eczema and psoriasis, cancers of the breast, ovaries and lymphatic system, chronic degenerative diseases, gout, whooping cough and dry coughs. Red clover is now involved in research for a certain medicinal alkaloid 'slaframine' which is often found in diseased clover, this substance has shown antidiabetic and anti-AIDS activity.
"Medicinal" tea: To 1 tbls. dry flowers or herb add 1 cup boiling water, steep 10 min., sweeten to taste, drink warm for cough and upset stomach.