“Women do usually make pottage of clevers…to cause lanknesse and keepe them from fatness.”
John Gerard, 1597
I wanted to Highlight Galium aparine because it is the first herb that I recognized from my backyard! I can’t believe that I have been trying to get rid of this incredible herb since we moved into our house! Now keeping in mind the lifespan of foragers I will not be using this herb growing in my back yard until I can take it to a plant nursery to have it identified for certain. This herb takes over everything so if you do decide to plant it in your backyard beware it will travel everywhere. It does die out at first signs of cold weather. However, it comes back on its own as well at the first bit of spring warmth.
Galium aparine is known by a whole lot of names. Some of these names are Cleavers, Goosegrass, Grip Grass and Goose bill. Cleavers prefers loose moist soil and partial shade. The branching stems may grow 6 or more feet in length.
Cleavers is best if used fresh but can be dried. Be sure to check the branches and leaves well for any contaminants. When gathering cleavers you may want to wear long sleeves. While trying to eradicate it from our yard my arms and hands got scratched up quite a bit.
Cleavers is edible but from what others have said it does not taste very good! It can be used in soups and as a pot-herb. Eating the young fresh leaves has a slimming effect on the body. You can cook cleavers like you would spinach. Once the herb has been dried you can lightly roast the seeds and use them as a replacement for coffee. It is said that it tastes a lot like coffee as well. Some other uses are…
Tincture- use as a detox for the lymphatic system
Poultice-for burns and other skin inflammations
Lotions-for eczema and psoriasis
Infusion- urinary problems
There were no known contraindications listed. It is possible that cleavers could stimulate the uterus so I would avoid it if pregnant or breastfeeding. This Material is intended as an information guide only. Green Lotus Studios is not prescribing any of the substances. Any Remedies, approaches and techniques described within are meant to supplement, and they are not a substitute for professional medical care or treatment. They should not be used to treat a serious ailment without prior consultation with a qualified healthcare professional.
I got all my information from the book The Complete Medicinal Herbal by: Penelope Ody and from http://www.altnature.com/gallery/cleavers.htm . All pictures are public domain.
If you are interested in Herbs and how they can benefit your health check Green Lotus Studios calendar and sign up for one of our many classes on Herbs. You will learn how to create Tinctures, Lotions, Infusions and much more. Some of the upcoming classes
6 week Beginning Herbalism class begins Monday April 6 at 6:30
Salves, ointments Healing Balms April 10 at 6:30
Creating Herbal Salts, Sugars & Spice Blends for Healing and Taste April 14 6:00
There are many more classes come on out and join the fun! Come to Green Lotus Studios where creativity and community meet!
By: Katina Buckner
Donna Carpenter: Master Herbalist, Soap Maker, and Yoga instructor.