Common name: Cleavers
Latin name: Galium aparine
Other names: Clivers, Goosegrass, Stickywilly, Stickyweed, Stickyleaf, Catchweed, Coachweed, Robin-run-the-hedge
Habitat: Cleavers is native to North America and Eurasia.
Description: Cleavers is an annual, herbaceous plant. This climbing plant has a thin taproot and a climbing stem, sprawling over the ground or clinging on other plants. It can reach up to 2 meters in length. Leaves are simple, covered with small hooked bristles. They are narrow and lance shaped, borne in whorls of 6 to 8. Little bristles appear on the stems, too. Flowering occurs from early spring to summer. During this period, greenish-white flowers appear in leaf nodes. They are tiny and star-shaped. Fruits are clustered 1 to 3 seeds together.
Parts used: Whole plant.
Useful components: Anthraquinones, iridoids, alkanes, flavonoids, tannins, polyphenolic acids, vitamin C.
Medicinal use: Cleavers was traditionally applied in treatment of various skin conditions. It is considered an astringent, antispasmodic, diuretic, diaphoretic and vulnerary. It is usually applied externally, in cases of skin irritations. It is a very effective remedy against burns. It can be used both topically and in form of a tea to lower blood pressure and body temperature, in cases of cystitis, stomach disorders and intestinal problems. As a pulp, the plant has been used to relieve poisonous bites.
Safety: The plant is highly astringent, use only prescribed amounts. Some herbs could react with certain medication. Therefore it is highly advisable to contact your doctor/herbalist before consumption of any herb.