Cleavers / Galium aparine
It’s Cleavers season and they are taking over Texas yards as we speak! You may know it as that long, sticky weed that clings to your clothes like velcro–a gentle reminder of its presence. It will quickly take over gardens if you let it! For many gardeners it is nothing more than an invasive garden “weed.” However, Cleavers is another well-known, beneficial weed, so before you rip them out and toss them into the compost, let’s talk about what they can do for you!
Cleavers can grow just about anywhere in the more temperate climates of the world, and are usually found in abundance in dense mats in forests, meadows, and gardens where they cling to walls, trees, and plants around them. They arrive just in time for our yearly spring cleaning when our bodies start the transition from winter to spring, making them the perfect spring tonic.
They have been used in many cultures across the globe for thousands of years as a tonic to help relieve temporary water retention and for kidney health. Herbalists today tout their use as one of the best herbs for the lymphatic system, as they are effective in assisting our bodies in the elimination process, stimulating lymphatic drainage, and clearing heat and stagnation, especially in the pelvis area. Lymphatic system function is important to help remove waste from the bloodstream and maintain healthy immune function. Also a soothing diuretic, Cleavers help increase the flow of urine and are appropriate in cases where there is irritation and inflammation of the bladder. They are nourishing and rich in minerals and flavonoids, and are gentle enough to take daily.
Fresh Cleavers are best, so if your yard is full of them, you can easily make Cleaver tea or juice! For tea, try a handful steeped in a quart jar of hot or cold water, and for juice, simply add some water to a blender, a handful of fresh Cleavers, blend, strain and drink up! You can add lemon, lime, or orange juice for taste, but cleavers alone have a fresh green taste that would be a great addition to a juice cleanse or any detox regimen. Cleavers are in the same plant family as coffee, so you can even roast the seeds for a coffee-like beverage!
Peoples Rx carries some herbal blends featuring Cleavers such as WishGarden’s Bladder Buddy tincture which can help support lymph, immunity, and urinary health. We also carry Traditional Medicinals’ Everyday Detox Lemon herbal tea, which can help relieve water weight gain and promote healthy kidney function. It’s also offered as part of our wonderful new 3-day Juice Cleanses!
As always, stop in your favorite Peoples Rx location and let the knowledgeable wellness team help you pick the best Cleavers product for your needs!
Laurène Elliott-Deyris is an Herbalist and Wellness Specialist at Peoples Rx. She received her training at The Wildflower School of Botanical Medicine in Austin and is furthering her clinical studies with the Eclectic School of Herbal Medicine program out of North Carolina.
Photo credit: Laurène Elliott-Deyris
**This article is not intended to be medical advice. Please consult your healthcare practitioner before use.**
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