Leave It To Cleavers

aka The Benefits of Sticky Willy
Insights with Natural Hope Herbals

Have you ever walked through the meadow and felt a plant sticking to your clothes?  If so, you may have come in contact with "Sticky Willy".  They have fine little hooks that grab a hold of the threads in your socks, trousers or skirt.  The plant is weak stemmed and easily yanked out of the ground, so you may have even found it trailing after you.


It's scientific name is Galium aparine with many common names including cleavers, clivers, and goosegrass.  When you find yourself plucking stubborn burrs from your socks, the names catchweed, sticky weed, sticky willy, sticky willow, velcro weed, and grip grass come to mind.

A humble plant, Cleavers grows among the grass and is hardly noticed, but it is a green gem of herbal goodness, particularly for the lymphatic system.  Cleavers gently supports the lymph system and encourages normal lymph flow.  It aids the removal of cellular waste and helps tissues to heal.  Cleavers is useful for lymphatic and glandular swellings.  

It is gentle and nontoxic so it is considered safe for children, unlike some of the stronger tocix lymphatics.  When stronger lymphatics are indicated, they can be combined with Cleavers to create a more balanced formula.  Cleavers may be beneficial for skin problems from poor elimination.  Cleavers are also inicated for irritation or inflammation of the urinary tract.

"The whole plant is edible, though not particularly tasty, and in China, for example, it is eaten as a vegetable. Its seeds can be roasted to prepare a sort of coffee substitute. It is also reputed to have a number of medicinal properties, having been used in traditional medicine (usually as an infusion) to treat kidney problems, skin disorders and high blood pressure among other ailments. Archaeological evidence suggests that it may have been used in this way for hundreds, if not thousands, of years. Cleavers is still used by medical herbalists today, although scientific evidence regarding its effectiveness is still lacking." http://www.kew.org/science-conservation/plants-fungi/galium-aparine-cleavers


In short, Cleavers is a cleansing herb with an affinity for the urinary tract and lymphatic system.  It is excellent used alone as a simple or in combination with other herbs in a formula.