Botanical: Galium aparine
Family: Rubiaceae (madder)
Other common names: Goose Grass, Grip Grass, Sticky Willy, Catch Weed, Bedstraw,
Cleavers is considered one of the best herbal cleansing tonics known that helps to purify the blood, the lymphatic system and kidneys, as well as remove toxins from the body. Cleavers has also been used to alleviate inflammatory urinary diseases, relieve swollen and enlarged lymph glands, expel kidney stones and gravel, and generally help cleanse the system when the body is failing to rid itself of pollutants.
The information presented herein by Herbal Extracts Plus is intended for educational purposes only. These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA and are not intended to diagnose, cure, treat or prevent disease. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplements, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.
Cleavers is one of several species of evergreen shrubs and trees that are native to Eurasia and the Americas with wide distribution worldwide. It is a weak-stemmed, sprawling annual that bears whorls of prickly, lance-shaped leaves on a square stem and small white flowers, which produce tiny, bristled fruits that often catch or 'cleave' to passing animals, hence, earning the plant its name, Cleavers, and also its common name, Catch Weed. It is an ornamental plant that thrives in moist, well-drained, neutral-to-alkaline soil in shade and forms a dense, prickly mat over nearby plants, sometimes growing to a height of five feet. Cleavers' botanical genus, Galium, is derived from the Greek word, gala, which means "milk" and is supposed to relate to the fact that the plant has the ability to curdle milk, which was beneficial in the making of cheese. The plants are cut when flowering, and the whole plant with seeds are used in herbal medicine. It is a relative of coffee, and when lightly roasted, it is used as a caffeine-free, coffee substitute, and it can be brewed into a refreshing tea with strong purifying and cleansing tonic properties. Aside from Cleavers' medicinal
uses as a cleanser for the lymph glands, kidneys and blood, the cooked shoots and young plants are considered a nourishing vegetable dish; in fact, in China, it is even considered a weight-reducing vegetable. When used commercially for non-medical purposes, a red dye can be extracted from the root and, perhaps, a more valuable application for Cleavers is its longtime use in cheese making, particularly in Cheshire, England, where some of the finest cheeses are made. Some of the constituents in Cleavers include a high quantity of vitamin C (as citric acid), asperuloside (which produces coumarin and gives the plant its sweet smell of new-mown hay as the foliage dries), tannins and glycosides.
Cleavers acts as a cleansing and purifying tonic that rids the body of toxins in several ways. It is said to act extensively on the lymphatic system and be effective in removing and draining poisons and trapped bacteria from the lymph glands and help relieve glandular fever, swollen or enlarged lymph glands (lymphadenitis), adenoids and tonsillitis.
Further supporting its role in purifying the system, Cleavers acts as a diuretic, and as such, the herb promotes an increased urine flow, which helps to rid the kidneys and bladder of gravel and stones,
clear the urinary tract of various infections (such as cystitis), alleviate prostate disorders, and treat other acute and inflammatory urinary diseases.
Cleavers is considered a diaphoretic that helps to stimulate perspiration and sweating, which not only cools the body and lowers fevers, but also helps to expel toxic wastes through the skin. All the above combined actions also work to purify the blood and are said to be effective when the body is failing to rid itself of toxins and contaminents. These qualities may be responsible for the herb's use to clear skin conditions when it is used internally; and when used externally as a topical anti-inflammatory, it is said to benefit eczema, psoriasis, ulcers, minor injuries and other skin inflammations.
The coumarin content in Cleavers is considered to have blood-thinning properties, which may have a beneficial effect in reducing blood pressure and platelet aggregation (blood clotting). This quality might be very beneficial in the prevention of arteriosclerosis, strokes and heart attacks.
Cleavers' high vitamin C content was once used to treat scurvy and is thought to be helpful in cases where there is a vitamin C deficiency.
Cleavers has an historic application for treating cysts, tumors and benign breast lumps, perhaps because of its ability to drain the lymphatic system and detoxify tissue.
Currently, there are no known warnings or contraindications with the use of Cleavers Herbal Supplement.