CLEAVERS: Spring Drink
By Geraldine Lavin
Genus & Species: Galium aparine
Common Names: Cleavers, Bedstraw, Grip Grass
Tissue State: Atrophy
Organ Affinities: Nerves, Lymphatic, Kidneys, Genitourinary
Properties: Diuretic, Alterative, Anti-inflammatory, Tonic, Astringent
Taste: Sweet, Salty, Cool, Moist. Vanilla-like.
Parts Used: Aerial parts, during flowering, before going to seed. Fresh pressed juice.
Harvest: Cleavers should be harvested just as they begin to flower, and throughout their small flowering period. Once they begin to go to seed, they are no longer ideal for medicine making. The flowering period is about two weeks in late spring or early summer, depending on your location. Matthew Wood says to pick in flower “when it smells beautiful.” (personal communication, September 6, 2017)
Botanical Habit & Ethnobotanical Uses: Cleavers is a friendly little plant, familiar to many as a common “weed” of spring and early summer that has the property of velcro, so that one could snip a stem and stick it to their shirt as a makeshift corsage. This abundant plant creates small stands throughout North America and across Europe, making its home in fields, the edges of farms, vacant lots, and city sidewalks. [Read more…]