“Cleavers” is both the singular and the plural common name for Galium aparine and a couple of other related medicinal weeds. It might tickle your grammar brain to see it used this way, but it is indeed correct!
So, without further ado, cleavers is one of those obscure, unappreciated, forgotten herbs that has historically played an important role in lymphatic-system health. It has since been left on the wayside recently in favor of more popular, trendy herbs that are more potent but also come with some pretty hefty side effects. Cleavers is a gentle mover that is generally safe for most, and an easy weed to incorporate into our daily routine to support health and lymphatic function.
Have you ever gone hiking in a wet, boggy, shady area and come out with those whirled green leaves that stuck to your clothes? That might just have been cleavers. It is an herb you’ll find in cool, dark, damp places and is said to have been the inspiration for Velcro®! Cleavers will stick to just about anything, as it bears tiny, grippy, prickly hairs.
Students of the doctrine of signatures can already see where this is going. Cleavers helps to restore lymphatic function and clear out boggy wet tissues, and get things moving more effectively. It is also gentle enough to use frequently, and nutritious. This trifecta makes it a strong ally to use in formula for gently supporting and moving the lymph.
I hope you enjoy learning about this weedy friend, and learning how to incorporate it into your herbal rotation!
Cleavers Herbal Monograph
Coloring Page by Kristine Brown
Foraging for Cleavers
Cleavers Preparations and Recipes