Cleavers, Galium aparine

Cleavers is an interesting plant that I have found volunteering in my garden for years. I had always been curious about it because it has little barbs or hooks that stick to my gloves and sleeves, and it would always ‘catch’ my attention. Unsupported, it only grows about 8-12 inches high (or thick). If it finds your garden fence or another plant to support it, it can climb to over 2 feet tall. Here, it happily grabs on to what ever happens to brush by it. In the fall it produces little clingy seeds that get them selves transported all around the garden on various passers bye!

In our bodies, cleavers has the same clingy action, clinging on to gunk that gets caught in our urinary and lymphatic systems. It is useful for an inflamed urinary tract, swollen glands, and as gentle lymphatic tonic. As it is gentle and safe, it is also a powerful diuretic, so it is not recommended for diabetics to use. It tends to lose its medicinal benefits upon drying and heating, so it is best to make tincture with it using fresh stems, flowers, and leaves.

Plants also carry emotional supports, and according to Mathew Wood, cleavers “helps to filter out little materials, and helps people who are irritated by little things”. We also have our flower essences to support us, and JJ Pursell recommends cleavers flower essence to support attachment and appropriate bonding, and for keeping relationships flowing and love strong.