Herb of the Month: Cleavers

Herb of the Month: Cleavers

Cara Green

Also known as goose grass, bedstraw, Velcro plant, or sticky weed, Cleavers are infamous for their very clingy nature. In fact, their Latin name, Galium aparine, describes this as aparine translates to “to seize”. Which, if you have met cleavers before, you have probably been seized by this plant, suddenly finding it clinging to you! If you live in North America, Europe, Australia, or Western Asia, you have probably seen cleavers growing freely, but only have recognized it as a mere springtime weed. Cleavers prefer to live in sunny and moisturized soils and thrive when they have tall plant neighbors that they can climb up with their sticky, Velcro hairs toward the sun. In late spring, this genus of cleavers blooms small four-petaled white flowers. Cleavers are generally considered a weed, however to us herbalists, they are revered as a spring tonic, cleaning out the lymphatic system, improving skin appearance, and for their nutritional content of chlorophyll and antioxidants. Cleavers are super easy to forage or remove by gently pulling the stalks, as they slide right out of the soil with ease. Cleavers feel sticky to the touch and cling onto your skin, clothes, and each other. Unlike burdock or nettles though, cleavers are easy to remove and do not sting, poke, or leave any residue on the skin. 

Cleavers cleanse the lymphatic system by encouraging blockages to release, and for stagnant lymph to keep moving. Cleavers work with the body to clear out toxins such as heavy metals and help you to feel refreshed and revitalized from the inside out. Cleavers are also useful for improving skin health and may reduce eczema and psoriasis. Cleavers are energetically cool and classified as a diuretic. Because they move and balance fluid levels throughout the body so well, they are a great plant ally to work with for urinary tract complaints specifically for clearing heat from the bladder and urinary tract, as well as reproductive issues when a menstrual cycle is characterized by stuck and slow movement shown through blood clots, or delayed menstruation. Cleavers are a great choice for when you are struggling with recovering from sickness and are experiencing swollen tonsils or lymph nodes, as cleavers help to reduce swelling in our lymph and can assist in flushing out illness. In addition, cleavers can also cool and calm down those of us who have a tendency towards an anxious nervous system. This awesome weed is also recognized for its anti-inflammatory properties and antioxidant content!

Cleavers make for a great plant ally in the new year! Clear out that winter-time stagnancy, get your inner river flowing once again, and cleanse away the old from last year. I personally love adding cleavers to my spring tea blends and infusing them into herbal vinegars that I can utilize in my cooking and sipping. 

You can find cleavers in our Deep Clean Capsules, Deep Clean Powder, Squeaky Cleaner Tea, Gladder Bladder Tincture, Gladder Bladder Tea, Cold Season Support Tea, Spring Greens Sipping Vinegar, and our Spring Greens Salad Dressing Seasoning Blend

Sources:

Medicinal Properties of Cleavers | The Practical Herbalist

Cleavers Herb (Galium Aparine): Top Benefits and Uses - Superfood Journal

Cleavers Benefits: A Cleansing Lymphatic Herb + Tincture Recipe (abetterwaytothrive.com)

Cleavers Herb Uses, Benefits, Cures, Side Effects, Nutrients (herbpathy.com)

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