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Peri-Menopausal Tea?

making clover and nettle tea

A few weeks ago I enrolled on an old fashioned year long correspondence course with the Scottish School of Herbal Medicine. It is to become a home herbalist - so basically to gain the knowledge needed to treat (& not kill) myself, but not to treat anyone else. I wanted to do it because I found myself getting irritated by the slight wooliness of the herbal advice I kept seeing, the same cut and pasted mistakes, the lack of any advice about who shouldn't be taking things.

I found myself irritated at the way herbs - which I believe are incredibly powerful - were not being taken seriously.

One of the modules of the course is to study an area of ground and the plants that grow there over a full year. I have chosen a patch of about a mile between Croftamie and Gartness Road. I am going to be talking a bit more about this on Instagram and Facebook but here on the blog I am going to talk about the plants I am studying each month instead.

This month is Red Clover - Trifolium pratense (the Trifolium means three leaved, the pratense means meadow - so "three leaved meadow plant") - which grows in the verges alongside the path. It is a typical meadow plant, interesting in that its leaves low down look pretty much as we imaging clover leaves to be, but as the plant grows upwards - climbing through other plants up to 4 feet - the leaves elongate and aren't really recognisable as clover at all. It is a useful cover crop for farmers - fixing nitrogen in the soil - so is common throughout the UK and many other parts of the farmed world.

Red Clover doesn't really appear in many old herbal books. Where it does, it has the kind of listing where it cures absolutely everything from leprosy to UTIs, which pretty much guarantees that it cures nothing.

However - at some point in the last 20 years it was discovered that clover is one of the few plants with water soluble isoflavones - a kind of phytoestrogen - so potentially helpful for peri-menopausal women as their oestrogen levels dip.

To be honest - and this is the case with a lot of herbal medicine - there hasn't been great success with trials, though a couple were interesting enough for money to be put into research. There is also the issue that the research was done where large amounts of the active ingredients were distilled out of the plants in a way that would be inconvenient, maybe impossible, for the home forager.

However it was found that clover had significant levels of available calcium, which could be useful for peri menopausal and menopausal women to ward off osteoporosis. On the flip side - as a potential hormone replacement - red clover shouldn't be taken by women who are pregnant, or really by anyone whose oestrogen and calcium levels are tip top.

For the rest of us - here is a tea recipe - which is highly unlikely to completely turn around a depleting oestrogen supply, but which tastes nice, will do no harm, and which may help take the edge off those hot flushes.

making clover tea

Clover, Calendula and Nettle Tea

  • 50 heads of red clover - picked when fully out but not browning
  • 50 calendula flowers
  • 50 nettle leaves

Dry all the flowers and leaves - you can simply lay them out on a metal rack or sheet and leave somewhere warm (a clean sheet over a spare bed works well), or, if you happen to have a dehydrator, that works well - 10 hours at 40 degrees.

Mix together and store in a jar. Add a large spoonful to a teapot, add just boiled water and leave to steep for 5 minutes.

You can add honey, but I find that the clover has a honeyed taste anyway.

The mixture will last for a year if kept in a cool dark place.

 

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making peri-menopausal tea clover and calendula

Tags: herbs recipe

Comments: 1 (Add)

Liz Cookson on July 31 2019 at 08:14

Thank you, I'm happy to give anything a go. Only just perimenopausal so am gathering knowledge from many friends who have and are going through this stage in their lives. Women have always been full of herbal knowledge and some were thought of as witches in past times, I love making 'potions'!We have to much we can share. I hope you enjoy your learning course.

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Between the plum trees and the studio is a sloping space that was created when we flattened a patch of land to build. It is a mix of subsoil, rocks and odd seams of rich pasture land. ⠀
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As grass began to grow there about 7 years ago,  I sowed a perennial meadow mix, I planted lots of random plants from the cutting beds, I worked without a plan, without knowing what would thrive and what would gently vanish. ⠀
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Now there is minimal gardening involvement - I try and keep the nettles from taking over, we dig out brambles - and in the autumn and winter I lure the chickens there to scratch out patches of bare soil for the wildflower seeds. ⠀
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It’s a patchy space, caught on the cusp of abandonment - but it is the most beautiful space in the garden, buzzing with insects, rustling with birds. ⠀
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Low light, bright petals, setting sun. ⠀
A couple of days ago I got a message from a friend asking what I thought about all the 'picking wild flowers' photos on here and the fact that a country style magazine was promoting it as a
My Gran had hangers like these.  Knitted from odds and ends of wool, hanging softly squashed together in the big dark wardrobe in her bedroom.⁠⠀
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My cousin and I would take the fancy silky 1960s dresses from them and transform ourselves into glamorous detectives, spying on passers-by from behind the net curtains, making notes.⁠⠀
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Now the hangers are my favourite things to make from wool scraps - each takes 37 grams of wool and you only need to be able to do a plain stitch to make it. ⁠⠀
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As well as being chock full of nostalgia for me, they are also the most practical kind of hanger, as the garter stitch keeps even the flimsiest of straps in place so clothes don’t end up on the floor.
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This week's business improvement was deciding to make the postcards that go in with orders more useful, getting Kate Stockwell to turn them into activity cards for me. ⁠⠀
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This is the first, going out with orders from today.⁠⠀
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I’m always amazed at how many plants from sunnier climes take to the garden. ⠀
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Sicilian honey garlic - Nectaroscordum siculum - is one of the plants that grow in rows in the orchard - ghosts of the flower field, buzzing with bees, happy in grass, a strong whiff of onion as I pass. ⠀
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This month I’ve been experimenting with solar dyeing- using plants and sunlight and a jar to dye wool on the windowsill. 
I was amazed at what bright shades were possible and at how easy and self contained it turned out to be. 
It was part of the Studio Membership mini “Introduction to plant dyes” course but I’ve also put together a kit in the shop with full instructions and everything you need to get started with solar dyeing wool (there are mini skeins in the kit). The photo is my drying rack on the dye deck - part of the studio where I used to prep flowers when I sold them. 
The wood rack used to be for shoes and wellies.
Inspired by @josephinepbrooks I’m still using this time for some serious decluttering of my business - looking hard at which parts have descended over the years into one of those drawers stuffed full of things.  Which bits are muddled, useless, impossible to open without everything falling out. 
Last week was the turn of the blog - so many out of date things, so many broken links, pretty much impossible to browse. 
Now it’s been sorted out - David and @fuzzyjill at Fuzzy Lime helped me divide it into sections and now it’s all easily accessible from the navigation bar.

So if you are looking for tutorials, nature notes, gardening, recipes or musings on life you can find them without scrolling through hundreds of pages. 
And - as always seems to happen when you  declutter - I’m suddenly full of ideas for things to write about, so that I can fit them nicely into my new space! 
The poppies are from Friday’s blog about how they make wonderful cut flowers.
Another week. Another new morning 
I was chatting to a friend yesterday about what was the best thing about running my own business - and I decided that it was probably being excited about each day and all the things I want to do. ⠀
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That I now rarely need to force myself. ⠀

Today it’s finishing off this week’s Studio Members lesson about solar dyeing and putting together these activity postcards which I am getting printed to go out with orders. ⠀
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What are you looking forward to doing today?
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At Snapdragon we gently guide you through bringing the changing seasons into your daily life, helping you slow down, so that you can experience increased well being, calm and creativity.

Through our communities, both free and paid for, through Jane's writing on the blog, through carefully hand crafted gifts and activity kits, and through our online and in-person workshops we aim to bring people back in touch with the rhythms of a seasonal life.

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