the plant: this sprawling, leggy annual - the 'velcro plant' - adheres to surfaces using the tiny hooked prickles that cover the plant's aerial parts. Rings of blade-shaped leaves are spaced inches apart along the square, weak stems that creep the plant across the ground or clinging to whatever is around. The small white flowers bloom at the end of small, slender stalks.
Originating in Europe, cleavers are found growing wild throughout North America, and the tiny tendrils of this early spring green are expanding now in the garden and across the woodland floor at Emerald Valley.
parts used: aerial parts
medicinal actions: diuretic, alterative, anti-inflammatory, tonic, astringent
preparation: fresh plant tincture, tea infusion, juiced or blended as beverage (freeze fresh juice for later use)
indications: A cooling and astringent diuretic plant that acts in a purifying, clearing way as a lymph tonic, and topically as a skin-soother. One of the best remedies for swollen glands, cleavers can help with many lymphatic issues like edema or swelling. It combines well with urinary demulcents to relieve painful bladder & urinary irritations, stones & gravel, or other obstructions.
Cleavers also has powerful topical uses for the skin: the tea or fresh plant is a soothing remedy for dry types of ailments like psoriasis, eczema and sunburn, as well as burns, boils and poison oak rashes. Both internally and as a poutlice, cleavers is a good treatment for inflammation due to its purifing diuretic actions. Traditionally cleavers has been valued for ulcers and tumors as a poultice as well as internally.
Pliny is quoted as saying "A pottage made of Cleavers, a little mutton and oatmeal is good to cause lankness and keep from fatnesse," revealing a long-honored personality as a detoxifying, clearing & reducing herb.
contraindications: none known
note: This information is not a replacement for a trained herbalist. Please consult your medical professional before treating yourself or others with this or any other herbal remedy.