With Spring blossoming and slowly transitioning to summer, flowers and medicine herbs of all sorts are taking turns shining in the spotlight.
One of the easiest and best ways to enjoy Nature’s bounty is through a simple herbal sun tea – like this one with red clover and honeysuckle!
Whether you’re looking for a Spring tonic – an herbal drink to help the body transition from Winter’s stagnation into Spring’s movement – an herbal remedy for an ailment, or simply a way to enjoy the wild flowers and herbs around you, an herbal sun tea is maybe the easiest option.
Simply – a sun tea is a material (root, leaf, flower, etc) combined with water in a glass jar that you let sit on your window sill for a length of time.
The warmth of the sun’s rays heats up the water, extracting the nutrition and healing from whatever material is within it.
Drink it as is, or strain and cool it in the refrigerator.
Medicinal Benefits of Red Clover
Red clover grows wild in some of the most unforgiving situations – college campuses, construction sites, the sides of highways.
But it is a gentle but powerful medicine.
A member of the pea family, it’s three leaflets and red-purplish flowers are easily recognizable without any dangerous look-alikes.
As a member of the pea (legume) family, clover extracts nitrogen from the atmosphere and fixes it into the soil and is often used as a cover crop and soil builder.
Red clover is rich in protein (including all of the amino acids), as well as Vit B, Vit C, calcium, megnesium, thiamine, niacin, phosphorus, potassium, and iron.
All of the vitamins and minerals in red clover are water soluable, so a gentle sun tea extract in water is the perfect way to capture the medicinal and nutritional benefits of clover.
Medicinally, red clover is considered an alterative. (For more herbal actions and the definitions, check out my post on the Top 18 Herbal Actions).
Alteratives help the body over time to remove metabolic waste products, and in doing so, absorb nutrients better.
It has often been used as a blood cleanser, and as a diuretic, keeps fluids moving throughout the lymphatic system and eliminates waste through the urinary system.
Is it any wonder that red clover is one of the first flowers to emerge every Spring – when humans need the most blood and lymphatic cleansing after a stagnant Winter of heavy foods?
In addition to being a cleanser, red clover is antispasmodic – helping ease the stomach contractions in a colicy infant (and is gentle enough for use on babies), and releases tension associated with stress headaches.
It’s antispasmodic and expectorant actions make it especially useful in treating colds, flus and dry, hacking coughs.
It’s tannins also help dry the upper respiratory system with a wet cough, postnasal drip and reduces inflammation – while nourishing the immune system and assisting in expelling waste.
Medicinal Benefits of Honeysuckle
In addition to being delicious (!), honeysuckle is also anti-inflammatory and has been used to treat upper respiratory infections, colds, flues, and pneumonia.
(Are you starting to see a trend?)
According to Science Alert, honeysuckle has the ability to prevent the influenza virus from replicating.
So not only is this tea delicious, it’s a powerful flu ally.
It is also used for digestive disorders, viral and bacterial infections, fever, sores, urinary disorders, headaches, diabetes, arthritis and cancer.
I bet you didn’t know that when you were drinking it’s necter – sip by sip – as a kid!
You were so smart back then!
How to Make an Herbal Sun Tea
To make this red clover and honeysuckle sun tea, harvest red clover and honeysuckle.
Don’t be greedy and leave plenty for the bees!
To make any herbal sun tea, simply put 1-2 cups fresh flowers or herbs into a quart-sized mason jar (I prefer the wide-mouth as they’re easier to clean).
Then cover the fresh plant material with a quart of fresh water.
If you’re on city water, you’ll want to purchase filtered or distilled water.
The chlorine in city water can effect the chemical constituents of the herbs.
Allow your sun tea to sit on a warm window sill for at least a full day.
If you want to drink your sun tea cold, simply strain out the plant material and put in the fridge or add ice.
But most of all, enjoy!
For more information on how to make herbal remedies, including herbal teas, check out Herbal Academy – the best online herbalism education!