Cleavers (Galium aparine) is a delightful weed that is commonly found in fields across Europe and North America. It is a climbing weed, with whorled leaves and leggy stalks that are covered with hooked bristles that enable it to attach to other objects and passers-by, allowing ease of spread and seed dispersal. Cleavers is in the coffee family, and the mature seeds were roasted and used as a coffee substitute in rural Sweden. The young green tops were juiced and used as a cleansing spring tonic, providing fresh nutrients and chlorophyll after a long winter.* The tops were also used to make skin washes and poultices to support chapped and compromised skin.* It was also used for snake and spider bites, earaches, and to maintain a healthy weight.*
Modern herbalists use Cleavers to support the lymphatic glands and the health of mucosal membranes of the urinary tract and skin.*
Uses of Cleavers
This information in our Herbal Reference Guide is intended only as a general reference for further exploration, and is not a replacement for professional health advice. This content does not provide dosage information, format recommendations, toxicity levels, or possible interactions with prescription drugs. Accordingly, this information should be used only under the direct supervision of a qualified health practitioner such as a naturopathic physician.