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Cleavers is a pasture plant of Britain and North America easily recognized by its clinging leaves and sticky seeds that attach themselves to nearby passing people and animals. Known by memorable nicknames like “Velcro Plant”, “Grip grass” and “Catch Weed”. In fact, Cleavers earned its name from the Old English word, “to cleave”, which means “to latch onto”.
The plant forms leaves of eight into spirals, or whorls, and tiny white flowers. Cleavers is an annual herbaceous plant in the family Rubiaceae, which contains over 3,000 species. The entire plant is used in herbalism, harvested just before it blooms in early summer. Cleavers is related to both Quinine and Sweet Woodruff. It has no odour, but has a slightly bitter taste.
The springtime allure of Cleavers has survived since the time of the ancients when healers praised this herb for its ability to relieve temporary water retention. When making the seasonal transition from winter to spring, Cleavers’ energy can be a useful force in stimulating the lymphatic system. Sometimes called “the Back Alley” of the circulatory system, the lymph system helps remove waste products from the blood stream and maintain the immune system.
Prominent Romans such as physician Galen and philosopher Pliny the Elder, celebrated Cleavers for its ability to relieve temporary water weight gain, while Greek physician Dioscorides used them to help curdle and filter milk—a tradition that’s apparently still alive and well in Sweden today.
Many Native American tribes used Cleavers to promote kidney health. Energetically speaking, folk herbalists also like to use Cleavers as a cooling herb to help clear heat and stagnation and to increase flow. Cleavers was used as a love medicine by one Native American tribe. The infusion of plant was used as a bath by women who wished to be successful in love. John Gerard, an English Herbalist for the 1600s, writes of Cleavers as a marvellous remedy for the bites of snakes, spiders and all venomous creatures.
The taste and energetics of Cleavers are earthy, slightly bitter, cooling, moistening and astringent. Cleavers has an affinity towards the lymphatic system, kidneys, bladder, immune system, liver, gallbladder, skin, prostate and uterus. Combine Cleavers with Red Clover, Chickweed or Burdock Root to support the blood and lymph system. Combine with Corn Silk, Dandelion Leaf or Hydrangea Root to support the kidneys and bladder.
How to use:
1 teaspoon of Cleavers to one cup of boiling water. Steep for 15 minutes, strain and drink up to three cups a day.
This information is for educational purposes only and is not intended to diagnose, treat or cure any disease or illness. Please consult your healthcare provider prior to the use of this product if you are pregnant, nursing, taking medications or have a medical condition. Individual results may vary.