Scientific: Galium aparine [WikiPedia]
Composition: Constituents isolated from the aerial parts of cleavers (Galium aparine) include anthraquinon, iridoid glucosides, saponins, citric acid, coumarin, rubichloric acid, gallotannic acid, galiosin, and tannins.
Appearance: The Galium genus is large and widespread, with no fewer than thirteen species. The annual varieties are sprawlers and climbers, often forming ground-covering mats with much weaker taproots and more delicate stems and leaves than perennial species. The plants have square stems and slender leaves that grow in whorled clusters like bicycle spokes or two to eight leaves. Flowers are small and white to greenish in colour.
Parts Used: Entire plant
Common Uses: Herbalists have long regarded cleavers as a valuable lymphatic tonic. The dried or fresh herb is said to have anti-tumour, anti-inflammatory, astringent, diaphoretic, stimulant, laxative and diuretic properties. It stimulates the lymphatic system and has shown to be beneficial in skin related problems. Cleavers has cooling properties as well. Cleavers makes an excellent facial wash as it tightens the loose and sagging skin caused by wrinkling. This plant works very well in treating eczema, psoriasis, seborrhoea, acne, boils and abscesses, arthritis and gout. Cleavers is also useful in treating swollen lymph glands, or congested glands and congestion in the breasts. The cooling properties of Cleavers makes is useful in reducing fevers and resolving infections associated with skin eruptions such as measles and chickenpox. It also works in soothing tonsillitis, hepatitis, cystitis and arthritis. This herb stimulates liver function and improves digestion and absorption. Externally the fresh leaves can be applied to cuts and wounds, or to help stop bleeding and enhance healing. The leaves also soothe burns, sunburn, acne and other skin inflammations. Bathing in the juice of the plant works to soothe and heal varicose ulcers. In 1947, French researchers discovered and extract of Cleavers to be effective in lowering blood pressure, by thinning the blood.
Alternatives and Adjuncts: Lymphatic application, combine with calendula, echinacea or astragalus. Skin and liver, combine with dandelion, burdock, Oregon grape, milk thistle and yellow dock. Tumours, combine with red clover, licorice, violet or aloe.
Topic Specific References:
- Herbal Remedies Info [Ref]
- Cleavers Tea Herb Health Benefits for Dogs (YourOldDog)
- Mechanical adaptations of cleavers (Galium aparine) [PubMED]
- Galium Aparine as a Remedy for Chronic Ulcers [PubMED]
- Physiological and biochemical characterization of quinclorac resistance in a false cleavers (Galium spurium L.) biotype [PubMED]
PLEASE NOTE that herbal and other natural products can harm your animals – not all plants are safe and gentle! Do not attempt using any of the ingredients listed, or any other plant matter, without the guidance of a qualified herbalist.