Thursday, 27 May 2021

Cleavers - Galium aparine

After chatting all things plant with @fentonsherbology at the beautiful @barnsdalegardens last weekend, I was inspired to catch the small period of sunshine we had yesterday, and put my boots on for a foraging trip.

I needed some nettles, some oak leaves for a small project, and some cleavers (Galium aparine).

Cleavers is an edible herb found in Europe, North America, Asia, Greenland, and Australia. Its tiny, prickly hairs give it a sticky feeling when you touch it, one that is not left on the fingertips.

It has an abundance of folk names. Known by my mum as sticky willy, and to me as sticky bob - it is also called goosegrass, hayriffe, hedgeriff, catchweed, scratwees, hitchhikers, barweed, bobby buttons, whippy sticks, Velcro plant, clivers, bedstraw, hayruff, sticky weed, mutton chops, sticky bud, sticky back, sticky Jack, sticky grass, grip grass, robin-run-the-hedge, everlasting friendship, robin-run-in-the-grass, loveman, and goosebill.

It is a valuable herb that is helpful for treating inflammation, disease of the urinary organs, scurvy, psoriasis, and skin diseases. It has a soothing effect and induces a quiet, restful sleep. Celtic folklore says that drinking a cleavers infusion for nine weeks would make you so beautiful that everyone would fall in love with you, and taking a bath infused with cleavers would make a woman successful in love. It has been used in the past to treat gonorrhoea, and as a hair tonic; it is said to help hair grow abundantly.

The plant is often infused in hot water and drunk as a tea, roughly 2-4 grams of the herb being infused to 60 to 120 milliliters of water is a good measurement, although I just grabbed a bunch and infused it. The infusion, hot or cold, is taken frequently, up to three times per day.

It is a powerful diuretic, so should be avoided when diabetes is present. Please check with a clinical herbalist before ingesting herbs of any kind.

© Original content; repost with clear, written credits. @the_cemetery_witch

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