The Clover (or Shamrock) is a well known plant that grows practically everywhere. Many of us have fond memories of making flower chains of their delicate white flowers and wearing them as a symbol of springtime. We also know that the Clover is a well-known symbol of St. Patrick's day, and since that's coming up this weekend, I figured it was high-time we add this herb to our garden.
But first, how about a little history?
White Clover (Trifolium repens) was a sacred plant to the Druids because the leaves formed a triad, and the Celts revered it because three was a sacred number.
Around the 17th century, St. Patrick used the shamrock to illustrate the idea of the Holy Trinity when he brought Christianity to Ireland.
In the 18th century, it was worn as the by the Volunteers of Ireland (a British military unit).
It didn't become the official symbol of Ireland until the 19th century when the emerging Nationalists used the Shamrock and the Harp as their official emblems.
That's obviously a condensed version of the plant's history, and I absolutely love the fact that it was considered to be a magical plant. Maybe that explains why patches of clover always felt soft and cool to me...even in 100-degree weather.
Man, I'll never forget those late spring/summer days when I would sit in a patch of Clover and stare at the sky. Or teaching my little sister how to make flower chains with the delicate Clover buds.
I thought that Clover couldn't get any better....until I learned I could eat it.
Clover is part of the Pea family and has that same sweet-ish taste. The Native Americans used it for food and medicine, and when you have a valuable plant like this in ready supply, you have to take advantage of it.
The secret of the Clover is that it's extremely high in protein, vitamin C, calcium, magnesium, chromium, phosphorus, potassium, niacin, and thiamine.
This means that a tea of the Clover can help with:
Respiratory ailments like whooping cough and asthma
Relaxing the nerves
Gout and Arthritis (Clover's diuretic properties help with inflammation)
Don't like tea? That's ok! Clover is very edible and can also be great additions to:
You can grind the dried flowers and seeds into flour
That flour could be sprinkled over cooked rice or oatmeal, or added to sauces
Add it to a sandwich or wrap
And pretty much any way you would use lettuce or spinach.
To make Clover Tea:
Gather some fresh leaves and flowers and rinse them off. Place them in a small pot or kettle with some water and bring to a boil. Remove from heat and strain into a cup.
Add honey (bonus points if it's Clover Honey) and enjoy!
Now, before I end this article, I want to give you guys a quick warning. Some people may be allergic to Clover without even realizing it, so please be very careful when trying Clover for the first time. Test a little bit against your lips and see what happens. Or, to be doubly safe, talk to your doctor about it. I am not a doctor or any kind of medical professional....I just like to teach and entertain. Please be safe when trying new herbs!
This common symbol of Ireland is easy to find and even easier to use. Just don't eat the four-leafed ones! Those bring you luck.
For more information, you can visit Home Remedies For You, Health Benefits Times, Along the Garden Path, Fine Gardening, Eat the Weeds, and Irish Culture and Customs. The photos are my own.