I have been walking in the fields by our local river today and spotted a reasonable crop of red clover growing.My first thoughts were-great,I can make some more tincture,but then I started thinking about the time of year when it should be growing.I have already harvested some in the same spot in May.Somehow it didn`t seem right to do so in October. How do you feel about the medicinal qualities of plants that are growing at different times of the season due to climate change?
I feel the energy in the plants arn`t resonating.Maybe just me being a bit daft.
Sue Minter gave an interesting talk on the effects of climate change at last month's Annual Conference. She started by reading out a review she had written some years ago on what changes would be needed at the Eden Project to accommodate climate change. This was long before the greater consensus we have today that there is something actually going on. Many of the things she recommended then have actually been implemented at Eden, and not a moment too soon.
She made many points in her talk including the point that there would be a tendency for plant species to migrate. But she also cautioned against us believing that we will be able to grow Mediterranean herbs with the ease that they are currently grown around the Mediterranean. She remarked that this years particularly wet and cool summer indicated that we would also suffer considerable instability in weather patterns as well as a general warming.
I was watching Gardener's World on Friday and Monty Don coined what I thought was the perfect phrase, "Climate chaos!"
I cannot answer your question on the potancy of your red clover. One would think that such an out of season flowering would reduce potency. But, it is well known that stress can increase potency in herbs. For this reason, some ancient traditions have advocated using wild herbs raher than cosseted cultivated ones.
Re: climate change
October 14 2007, 7:03 PM
It's always strange finding herbs in flower that you don't expect to be flowering at the back end of the year. Late harvest ones are always different from early growth. There doesn't seem to be the vigor of earlier growth in some plants. I remember finding some yarrow flowering at the very end of October last year and took pictures to prove that they really were there!
I always think of red clover much more as a tea herb than as a tincture. You might like to gather what is growing now and dry it as an added tea resource for over the winter. I don't use red clover very much, but last year I gathered enough for a 2lb jar full and stuck a paper bag over it to keep out the light. I had a look at it last weekend when I was putting away all this year's dry herbs and found that the colour was just as vibrant as it was last year when I picked it, so I knew it was still almost as good, should I want to use it.
Every plant harvest will be different, depending on the soil and sun and rain conditions on a particular site. It's easier to tell with the aromatic herbs - such as yarrow - how potent they are by the smell or taste. If your red clover is a bright pink with nice green leaves, there is nothing to say that there won't be some goodness in the plant that you might be glad of in the dark days ahead. One thing I am learning is that a plant tends to make itself known to you if you need it.
For me one year it was yarrow - it decided to grow outside my back door. Every time I went out in the garden I brushed past it, admired it and thought nothing more about it. Eventually I woke up and realised that I really needed to take it, so gathered the aerial plants gratefully and apologised for ignoring it for so long!
This year it was wood betony that decided to make itself known to me. I grow a few plants at the Sanctuary and this year managed to gather enough flowering stalks to make a tincture. While I was on holiday in Cornwall, I suddenly saw hedges and hedges full of betony -something I'd never seen before in all the 20 years I'd been going to Cornwall! This time I didn't hesitate to wildcraft a reasonable amount and put up a couple of jars of dried tincture. Now I'm starting to get to know the plant by using the tincture regularly as part of my herbal regime.
Maybe your clover is providing you with an opportunity to get to know it differently. I'd suggest you don't pass up the offer it is making.
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