The Many Benefits of Red Clover 

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 our first 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.

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Garden Planning Resources

There’s still lots of snow that has yet to melt here before planting will be possible outdoors, but spring is not too far off here in Southwest Michigan and I must say that I’m so ready for it.

I have been planning my garden for weeks now. The winter blues caught on hard a month or so back and I began tearing through seed catalogs to ward it off.

Planning my garden each year is always something I always look forward to. However, it can sometimes seem like a daunting task. There are so many places to go to buy seeds and other supplies. And so many options.

Before I knew much about planning a garden, I would pick up whatever was left at the garden center at my local grocery store in the late spring. While there’s nothing necessarily wrong with doing this, stocking your garden at this type of store is not ideal if you want real variety, quality, and uniqueness.

There are many awesome sources for garden seeds, plants, trees, etc. that use ethical growing/seed saving practices, and offer many unique and quality products. I’ve compiled a list of some of these resources to help you plan your garden this year. It is certainly not all-encompassing by any means, but it does include several companies who I have had success with in the past. Happy Garden Planning!

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