Galium aparine has many common names including cleavers, clivers, goosegrass, catchweed, stickyweed, robin-run-the-hedge, sticky willy, sticky willow, velcro weed and it is an excellent spring tonic. It grabs your attention and hangs on, quite literally, when you first venture into the garden after a winter absence. Its fresh, clean, greenness oozes such vitality that when I first noticed it here I knew it must be good for something. It appears here after the winter rain and seems to love growing on piles of rotten wood waiting for a bonfire, as well as the beds that have woodchips on them.
I looked into it and what struck me was that it was good for the lymphatic system and removing toxins from the blood and intestines. This feels right because the little leaves are covered in tiny bristles and I can imagine them acting like scrubbing brushes, cleaning out any debris and stagnation. I feel sluggish after winter and cleavers helps with the internal spring clean and getting the bodily fluids moving again.
Health is about maintaining optimum balance throughout the mind-body system, homeostasis, if you like. It’s very difficult to maintain that balance if you are living in an unhealthy environment, because nature informs your body; everything from circadian rhythms to Schumann resonances and seasonal changes are involved in maintaining homeostasis. In toxic environments, like cities, these signals are blocked by unnatural electromagnetic fields and the nervous system and immune system become very confused. EMFs are slowly becoming recognised as the underlying cause of most diseases. Conversely, once yo get out of the city it is very easy to plug back into the Planetary Animal Mother and to discover that She really does provide everything you need. All you have to do is pay attention.
In my post on St John’s Wort, I mentioned that it is more critical than ever to take care of the nervous system. My simplistic view is that the Earth is electrical, the Universe is electrical and so are we and that our transformational upgrade will happen first within the nervous system – if your nerves can handle it. So, imagine my surprize when I looked up Mathew Wood on Cleavers in The Earthwise Herbal:
“Although most herbalists use Galium for the lymphatics and kidneys, I have gotten on a different track, using it for the nerves. I have had many remarkable cures and palliations with cleavers in the neurological sphere. It is beneficial in “gatherings of the nerves” and inflammation of the nerve endings (neurofibrositis). It is indicated for oversensitivity of the nerve endings, tickling and itchy skin.”
So, cleavers supports the nervous system. No wonder I like it.
I use fresh cleavers in a morning juice, before coffee or anything else for the first month in which it appears.
My cleavers juice recipe, for two people:
2-3 crisp apples (depending on size)
2 sticks of celery
one thumb-sized piece of fresh ginger, peeled
two handfuls of freshly cut cleavers
Juice and drink immediately. It is delicious and zingy. (See: Wild Juicing, for more juice options with wild plants – essential for upgrading your microbiome and immune system.)
Cleavers is diuretic, part of its cleansing properties, so it’s better suited for the mornings. It also contains caffeine and the seed pods are said to be a palatable alternative to coffee, if you can be bothered to collect enough of them to dry, roast and ground. I don’t think I’ll be doing that.
It is also cooling and helps dispel damp heat associated with urinary tract infections, chronic skin infections and lymphatic disorders.