Skip to content
FAST & FREE Delivery Over $45 How fast will I receive my order? ZIP Code: - Receive it More Info

Cleavers 101

2 Min Read
Cleavers 101
Updated on April 12, 2017

Looking at the dainty leaves and the inconspicuous flowers of cleavers, you’d be hard-pressed to guess just how scrappy these pretty little herbal powerhouses really are. Due to their ability to spread quickly (and sometimes invasively), gardeners have often disregarded cleavers as a common weed. Fortunately, herbalists understand their real value: to use as herbal medicine. Our herbalists proudly feature them in our EveryDay Detox® Lemon and Weightless® Cranberry teas to relieve temporary water weight gain and to promote healthy kidney function,* but healers throughout history have also used them energetically to increase flow and help clear blockages. That’s why we think cleavers make the perfect springtime tonic.

infographic

Cleavers (Galium aparine) are tenacious annuals, growing in dense mats in loamy, nitrogen-rich meadows, forests, thickets and along seashores in the temperate climates of Europe, Northern Africa, Asia and North America. With its square-shaped stem and sticky hairs, they manage to stick to whatever passes them by, earning them memorable nicknames like “velcro plant,” “grip grass,” and “catch weed.” In fact, cleavers earned their name from the Old English word, “to cleave,” which means “to latch onto.” The plant forms leaves of eight into spirals, or whorls, and tiny white flowers. Here in California, they pop up by the multitudes in the spring. While easy to ignore as you walk by, cleavers won’t let you forget them once they attach themselves to your pant leg!

The springtime allure of cleavers has survived since the time of the ancients, when healers praised cleavers for their ability to relieve temporary water retention. Prominent Romans such as physician Galen and philosopher Pliny the Elder celebrated them for their ability to relieve temporary water weight gain, while Greek physician Dioscorides used them to help curdle and filter milk—a tradition that’s apparently still alive and well in Sweden today. Many Native American tribes used them to promote kidney health. For therapeutic reasons, contemporary herbalists use cleavers much the same way. Energetically speaking, folk herbalists also like to use cleavers as a cooling herb to help clear heat and stagnation and to increase flow.

When making the seasonal transition from winter to spring, cleavers’ energy can be a useful force in stimulating the lymphatic system. Sometimes called “the back alley” of the circulatory system, the lymph system helps remove waste products from the blood stream and maintain the immune system. By taking herbs like cleavers, we can help support the lymph system’s natural detoxification of the body to get you back in the flow.

Whether you juice your own cleavers or experience them in our Weightless® Cranberry or our EveryDay Detox® Lemon teas, we encourage you to get to know this powerful little herb. Chances are, you’ll latch onto their benefits as quickly as they latch onto you. And one thing is certain: cleavers don’t give up easily!

You Might Also Enjoy

Shop All
Popular
Dandelion Leaf & Root Tea Dandelion Leaf & Root Tea

Dandelion Leaf & Root Tea

Dandelion Leaf & Root supports digestion & kidney health while aiding the body's natural detoxification process

EveryDay Detox® Dandelion Tea

This blend stimulates the liver and supports the body's natural detoxification process

EveryDay Detox® Lemon Tea

This blend promotes healthy skin and supports the body's natural detoxification process

EveryDay Detox® Schisandra Berry Tea

This blend stimulates the liver and supports the body's natural detoxification process
Popular
Nettle Leaf Tea Nettle Leaf Tea

Nettle Leaf Tea

Nettle Leaf supports joint health and overall wellness

Related Articles

View All

3 Herbal Hacks for Mental Health

Big emotions are often natural reactions to very real challenges. Occasional stress, overwhelm and stretches of melancholy can feel scary. And yet, you’re not alone. We’ve all had seasons of...

Herbalist Tips for Healthy Skin

While clear, dewy skin is often a bit of good luck, long-term health is very much dependent on healthy habits. Herbalists use plants inside and out to nourish the skin,...

4 Ways to Soothe an Anxious Mind and Stomach

Have you ever had an anxious gut feeling about something or felt nervous and experienced butterflies in your stomach? These sensations emanating from your belly remind us that the brain...

4 Ways to Improve Digestion with Herbs

Our gut works hard for us every minute of every day. When it is functioning properly, we hardly think twice about it. But the moment things go awry, it’s nearly...

Introducing Immune Zoom Lemon Ginger

Life can be busy, and while we try to stay prepared, sometimes we need extra support. This is when we turn to herbal allies that boost our immune system when...

Vegan Green Tea Matcha Ice Cream

Ice cream is the quintessential summer treat, and is even better when we can make it ourselves at home using whole food ingredients and an easy recipe that doesn’t require...

How to Become an Herbalist

Are you feeling called to explore the herbal path? Whether your intention is to begin a career in herbalism or simply to support the health and well-being of yourself and...

Herbal Podcasts for the Herb Nerd

Whether at home, road tripping, gardening, commuting or lounging at the beach, there’s always time to dive into the world of plant medicine, and herbal podcasts offer a convenient way...

How to Make the Perfect Herbal Sweet Tea

Nothing says summertime in the South like a tall, ice cold glass of sweet tea sipped on the porch during the buzzing heat of the day or enjoyed through warm,...

Hibiscus Iced Tea Spritzers

The beautiful hibiscus flower is the star of this refreshing recipe. Inspired by the ruby red drinks found at roadside stands in the tropics, we’ve created this bubbly Hibiscus Iced...

Stock Your Summer Apothecary

The smell of night-blooming jasmine, the sticky, moist air before an afternoon storm, the energizing midday sun, these are the quintessential signs of summertime. It’s the boldest of the seasons,...

Senna 101

What’s the most underrated herb? Senna. Alright, there are probably many more on our list, but if you’ve ever needed this trusty plant ally, you can’t deny its irreplaceable power....