Compliments of Arkive.org

Compliments of Arkive.org

It almost looks like alfalfa until its yellow or white flowers bloom.  When you cut it, it smells heavenly.  When you dry it for tea, you know you’ve prepared something that will feed you.

In ages past, before innerspring mattresses, when many people stuffed a mattress with herbs, hair, fibers and plants for bedding, sweet clover was one of those herbs that was added to the mattress stuffing.  Its fragrance alone made for a good night’s sleep.

Sweetclover has been used for:

  • Moth Repellent
  • Digestion
  • Inducing Urination
  • Anti-Coagulant
  • Anti-Inflammatory (including Painful Menstruation)
  • Nervous Tension and Insomnia
  • Wounds, Cuts, Bruises and Hemorrhoids
  • Protein Source


Moth Repellent

All right, so we no longer stuff our mattresses with Sweetclover to make them smell good.  But it is handy to know that as much as humans love the smell of Sweetclover, moths do not.  So place a sprig in your drawers, fold some into your blankets, hang a sachet in your closet, and repel moths.


If you’ve eaten a meal full of delicious dried beans, no matter how much you like them, they cause gas.  Or if you’ve eaten too much or ingested too many sweets, the same result can happen.  The best way to take care of this issue – and delicious as well – is to have a cup of Mint-Sweetclover Tea either during or after your meal.

Mint-Sweetclover Tea

1/2 teaspoon dried Mint

1/2 teaspoon dried Sweetclover

1 cup boiling water

Honey to sweeten, if desired

Pour water over dried leaves.

Let steep for 5-20 minutes.

Sip slowly.


Inducing Urination

Although Sweetclover is not a cure-all, it has been used to increase urination in those who have had difficulty in the past.  Does this mean Sweetclover is a diuretic?  I don’t know.  I’m not a doctor, and I’ve never claimed to be.  But it has been used for this purpose in the past.  It is mild enough to try for this purpose.  If you’re concerned, I recommend you see your physician.  Just be aware that he may know less than you do about herbal cures.


One of the amazing things about Sweetclover is that it has been used as an anti-coagulant.  This is good news for those prone to blood clots, those on high cholesterol drugs, or those who need to use blood thinners for a number of other reasons.  It also increases blood circulation.

However, if you’re already on blood thinners, you really do need to check with your doctor before you sip Mint-Sweetclover Tea.  This may interfere with your current medication or actually cause bleeding.

Nervous Tension and Insomnia

However, if it’s safe for you to sip Mint-Sweetclover Tea, try a cup before bed or in the evening after supper.  It will reduce tension and help you enjoy a more relaxed evening.

Wounds, cuts, bruises and hemorrhoids

A Sweetclover wash or oil can be made to address wounds, cuts, bruises, and, yes, hemorrohoids.  It has an anti-bacterial effect that is good for injuries.

Sweetclover Wash

1 teaspoon dried Sweetclover

1 cup boiling water

Pour water over leaves and cool

Apply as needed to affected areas

Sweetclover Oil

Stuff a jar with fresh, coarsely chopped Sweetclover flowers, stems and leaves.

Fill jar with olive oil or other pure vegetable oil.

Attach lid and shake to get all leaves covered with oil.

Set jar in sunny area.  Unscrew lid and put over top loosely.  You want moisture to evaporate and air bubbles to release.

Poke chopstick or table knife into mixture daily for one week to get rid of air bubbles, then weekly after that.

Leave in windowsill for 4 weeks.

Through strainer, strain leaves into dark glass jar with tight-fitting lid.  Store in dark place.

Use as a topical remedy.

Protein Source

Although Sweetclover is not a complete protein, it complements brown rice and whole grains nicely.  So if you’re going through a difficult time and you need extra protein in your diet, remember Sweetclover.  It can be a great help.

Caution: Sweetclover can interfere with anti-coagulant medication, or if you already have bleeding issues, you may wish to avoid Sweetclover.


Osha Root  

Compliments of SustainableHomesteading.com

Compliments of SustainableHomesteading.com

If you are lucky enough to live in the mountainous West of the United States, you will come across Osha Root naturally.  Because the this plant is in danger of becoming extinct, if you live in the western mountains, only harvest Osha Root in the fall when the seeds are already loose in their seed heads.  Place the dried seed heads upside down on the forest floor and cover lightly with dry twigs to protect the next year’s sprouts.  This caution also goes out to herbalists who harvest Osha Root for profit.  Take care of your environment, and its bounty will reward you.


Osha Root is also called Bear Root because bears really love this plant, especially in the spring when they are hungry and malnourished.  They will dig it up, chew it up, and spray their saliva over their coats as well.  I’m not sure of the purpose in this behavior, but I’m not a bear.


Osha Root, a part of the parsley family, looks similar to Wild Carrot.  But it also looks so much like poisonous hemlock that you must smell the harvested root to make sure you have the right herb.  Osha Root will smell like strong celery.


As a Vegetable


All parts of the plant are useful.  The stalks and leave can be eaten as a vegetable, but until you know the difference between poisonous hemlock and Osha Root, it’s not wise to go munching on its greens.


Unlike a vegetable, however, is that it is almost impossible to cultivate.  The best way to get Osha Root is to gather it yourself.  Herbalists who harvest the root for their own profit have made this plant nearly extinct.  But you can buy Osha Root if you live in areas where it does not grow naturally.


Osha Root has been used for:


  • Gum Health
  • Lung Health
  • Anti-viral
  • Anti-bacterial
  • Anti-fungal
  • Anti-inflammatory


How to Use Osha Root


Osha Root keeps the gums healthy.


Chew It


“Osha root, otherwise known as bear root, is a very potent herb. It promotes health of your mouth, gums, and throat. Maybe even your whole immune system. My gums used to be pretty sickly, and I almost lost all my teeth because of it. Now my gums are super healthy (sorry Dr. Periodontist, I don’t need you any more). I also no longer get respiratory infections after a long allergy season. I just chew a tiny piece of Osha root each morning, slosh it around in my mouth, and then floss my teeth.”  http://bushcraftusa.com/forum/showthread.php/35032-Osha-root


Osha Root helps keep the lungs healthy.  If you are suffering from a cold or flu, bronchitis, tonsillitis or other lung conditions, you have several options to address your condition.

Breathe It

Put some root into a pot of boiling water and breathe in the steam.

Poultice It

Make a mash of Osha Root, wrap it in a warm cloth and place it on a chest.  This works very well for a sorely congested chest.

Drink It

In the fall, chop or grind Osha Root to keep all winter long.  Then you have the necessary ingredients to get your family through the cold and flu season.

Osha Root Tea

1 teaspoon dried Osha Root

1 cup boiling water

Let the ground root steep in the boiling water for 10-20 minutes.

Strain into cup.  May add honey to taste.

Sip slowly.

Cough Remedy

Because Osha Root has anti-bacterial and anti-viral properties, it is an excellent remedy for the flu.  Drink the tea as needed, or put some of the dried herb into some honey as a cough remedy.

Promotes Lung Health

Take Osha Root with you when hiking.  It will help you breathe easier.  It also helps with leg cramps and stomach irritations.

Caution:  Do not use if pregnant or lactating.

Extreme Caution:

Because Osha Root looks very much like Poisonous Hemlock, the best way to know which one you’re using is to smell the root before harvesting.  Osha Root will smell like strong celery.  Poisonous Hemlock will not.

Poisonous Hemlock flowers

Compliments of HerbalFire.com

Compliments of HerbalFire.com

Two kinds of Poisonous Hemlock leaves.  On the left are Water Hemlock leaves.  On the right are Poisonous Hemlock leaves.  Wash your hands after you pick them, and never ingest them.

Compliments of Invasive.org

Compliments of Invasive.org


Who Is God Designing You To Be? Guest Post

brother john

OUT OUR WAY:    “Brother John!”     

       “There are different types of gifts, but the same Spirit. There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord.” [1 Cor. 12:4]

         Out our way, we know folks have different talents and skills and we are glad of it.   Not everyone can make it as a farmer or a rancher.  Not all of us have the business savvy to run a store or an office.  Only a few are able to handle the demands of being a teacher, a firefighter or a police officer.   But each of us has our own slot – even if it takes a while to find it.

         Of course, there in lies the problem – finding that slot.   I thought I had found it early on when I became a cadet in the R.O.T.C. program my freshman year at college.  I was going to be career military just like my dad had wanted to do.  Like him I was going to war and like him I would rise through the ranks.  Oh, it was abundantly clear this is what I was meant to do!  I was a good shot, did well in classes on tactics and strategy, and was, over all, considered one of the top cadets in my class.  Unfortunately, the Army changed the eyesight requirements during my second year as a cadet and suddenly I was deemed no longer fit for service.  Now what?

         I enlisted as a grunt, having earned the rank of PFC, and was eagerly snapped up by the recruiting sergeant – on my way to Ft. Polk [For those in the know -“Tiger land” Hoo Yah!] for basic and then advanced infantry training – and then off to Viet Nam.  Being young [and incredibly stupid] I was very pleased.  But again, Uncle Sam changed the requirements and suddenly my status was changed from 1-A to 1-Y [which means the only way the Army would consider using me as a file clerk was if the Russians invaded California!]

         So there I was – unwanted by the Army and not especially ready in anything else.  I had a Liberal Arts degree [a “ B.A. in basket weaving”, as my lovely wife, who has a B.A. in Nursing and whose dad is an engineer likes to call it]. Now what?    I tried working on a newspaper as my degree was in communications/ journalism – but all I could get was a job selling classified ads.  Then I tried banking – but ended up being a glorified collections agent.  I tried becoming a hotel manager, but became a desk clerk

on the afternoon shift until I stumbled on the fact that the local cops were using    a section of the hotel for liaisons with some of the ladies they wee “arresting”.   Finally I became a librarian – driving the county book mobile into the mountains and throughout suburbia on the flat lands.  Now THAT was a job I liked and loved!

         Then God, Who has a great sense of humor, by the way – suddenly made it clear that He had other plans.  Here I was about to begin my Masters in Library Science at Denver University – and to my dismay, He called me to become a pastor.    What?  Me?  What a horrible idea!!!!  Here I am finally finding my niche again – loving my job and new career working with books and other “bibliophiles” [lovers of books] – and going off to the distant east coast to attend seminary?   No way!   How could I possibly leave my wonderful, secure and potentially fulfilling career as a librarian to become a “minister”?

         Now 40 years afterwards, here I am coming to the end of the trail as an ordained minister.  Friends from college and high school still shake their heads in disbelief. “ Him?  Are you kidding me?!!!”   Yet, here I am.

         This is not what I planned!  –This is not what I wanted! – This is not what I expected!   Yet this is what I was born to do, this was always my true calling, though I never imagined it.    Sometimes the closed doors and disappointments we face in life are simply the means by which God guides us to where we really ought to be!

         I suspect, as you look over your own life, you too will see the hand of God at work – guiding and leading you, perhaps down a path you did not choose – and yet, as it turns out, the right path for you.  I hope you took it as I did.

 Brother John

brother john

 [Dr. Bruington is pastor of the Presbyterian Church in Havre, Montana. Copies of the “Out our Way” column and cartoon, as well as the weekly cartoon and children’s message series “Bruin-Town Tales,” can be viewed at the Church website:www.havrepres.org.   The book Out Our Way: Theology Under Saddle is also available at Amazon.Org.]

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