Cleavers are well loved as a gentle tonic. Think of it as helping to wake the body up, get your fluids moving and clearing out stagnation. It is lymphatic (supports and stimulates the lymph system), alterative (restores the body's natural function), and diuretic (makes you pee).
Latin Name: Galium aparine
Common Name: Cleavers, Clivers, Goose grass, Bedstraw, Sticky Willy
Energy: Bitter + Cooling
Actions: Lymphatic + Alterative + Diuretic
Use: Aerial portions. It is best to use fresh because Cleavers looses potency when dried or heated.
Uses for Cleavers:
🌱 Add to tepid-warm water over-night infusions + drink the next morning
🌱 Make a tincture
🌱 Add freshly chopped cleavers to a bath
🌱 Infuse in oil + drizzle over salad or use in salve
🌱 Use in a wild-foods pesto.
🌱 The fresh juice can be used topically for wounds, skin irritations + eruptions like acne, eczema and psoriasis.
Here is a simple Cleavers Pesto Recipe:
1 cup chopped cleavers
2 cups chopped stinging nettle
2 cups chopped dandelion leaves
1 cup chopped basil
2 cups extra virgin olive oil
2 cloves garlic, chopped + peeled
1/2 cup nuts (use what you have; pine nuts, hazelnuts, walnuts, almonds or sunflower seeds)
1/2 cup parmesan cheese
1/2 a lemon juice only
Salt + Pepper to taste
In a blender or food processor, add the cleavers, nettles, dandelion, basil, and nuts. Pulse several times. Add garlic and cheese. Pulse several more times, scrape the sides of the food processor as needed.
While the food processor is running, slowly add the olive oil in a steady small stream. Slow is the key here, it will help it emulsify and help keep the olive oil from separating. Scrape down the sides of the food processor as needed.
Lastly, stir in salt and pepper to taste and mix in lemon juice by hand.
Transfer to an air tight container and store in the refrigerator up to 2 weeks. Use on pasta, bread, crackers or vegetables.