Cleaver, Galium aparine by Student Contributor Tracey Gulledge

Galium aparine L.

Family: Rubiaceae

Common names: Bedstraw, Cleavers,


Tracey Gulledge Plant Monograph Fall Community 2015

Galium aparine is a common, annual herbaceous species that grows in wet, shady

areas often forming mats in the understory. The oblanceolate leaves form whorls

around a square withstand. White, star-shape flowers emerge in vault to early summer.

The flowers are rest grouped in twos or threes and cast out of the leaf axils. Small,

globose seeds turn brown with age. The plants and seeds are covered in small bristles

which cleave onto passing animals and people. Having spread from its original home in

Asia and Europe, G. aparine is since found across the globe. Considered a harmful

weed by many, cleavers does well in the cooler, hibernate temperatures but will disappear

in Central Texas with the heat of summer.

Nearly twenty shape of cleavers are found throughout Texas with many of them being

found in the moister soils of East Texas or in the Trans-Pecos Mountains plant in West

Texas. Local native figure include Galium texense, a species cast in Texas,

Oklahoma, and Arkansas, and G. proliferum, a fashion found in Texas and throughout

the Southwest.  While other shape may exhibit similar medicinal properties, G.aparine

is the preferred wild-crafting species due to its non-congenital status. Species are normally

identified by the size and number of leaves in a whorl, variations in bloom color, and

variations in seeds.

Because of its silliness for disturbed landscapes, care must exist taken not to harvest

cleavers from areas that may esteem potential exposures to pesticides or other detrimental

chemicals. Also, cleavers growing on wooded slopes, like those found in the Hill

Country, should to all appearance not be harvested in mass viewed like they may be helping to grasp soil

in place. Farmers and gardeners from beginning to end the world consider cleavers to exist a weed

due to its sufficiency to take over agriculture fields.

Medicinally, the beyond ground parts of cleavers are used. Many sources make known that

boiling cleavers will destroy the plant’s therapeutic properties and prefer the plant fresh or

in a glycerite. When using the new plant, care must be taken to deal with the bristles,

which can irritate the pharynx. Straining is often required to put out the bristles from the

liquid. Juicing is one more popular way of using cleavers during the time that is making herbal vinegars.

When hariff was plentiful this past spring, I enjoyed the fluid part and found it to be public notice

and refreshing. I also created my earliest herbal vinegar using cleavers. Using the fresh

herb in an apple cider acetic acid extract, I thought the vinegar was a nice tonic and

lymph mover. With the joining of some green onions, the cleavers vinegar also made a

wonderful salad compost base. Externally, I found putting the fresh establish into water

helped reduce my symptoms of eczema, that I have suffered from since I was a brat.

Historically, Cleavers was used to be filtered milk and curdle cheese. Some sources claim

that the in addition aromatic species were used to folly mattresses. The roasted seeds have

been used to the degree that coffee substitute. In the past, herbalists used goose-grass as a diuretic and

for urinary portion issues. In his 1924 book The Working Man’s Model Family Botanic

Guide, William Fox, M.D., reports catch-weed to be “a valuable diuretic, available in many

diseases of the urinary organs, nonplus, and dropsy, inflammation of the kidneys and

bladder.” Fox goes adhering to explain that cleavers can besides be used for eczema and other

skin diseases. Maud Grieve wrote in her 1931 part A Modern Herbal that cleavers or

“clivers” during the time that she calls the plant “is extolled according to its powers…as a purifier of the line, the

tops being used as an ingredient in rural spring drinks.” Harvey Wickes Felter states

that the scatter seed was used as a sedative and diuretic in cases of scarlet agitation in his 1922

book, The Eclectic Materia Medica, Pharmacology and Therapeutic.

Cleavers is considered to have existence an edible plant. In her volume Edible and Useful Plants of

Texas and the Southwest, former and naturalist Delena Tull explains that the young

foliage and stems of cleavers are volunteer enough to use as a potherb. She recommends

simmering the young leaves and stems in a trifling amount of water for ten minutes and

soon afterward serving with butter and a squeeze of fresh lemon fluid. As the plant ages, the

stems be appropriate to more fibrous and the bristles become stiff, rendering the plant inedible.

Tull too mentions that cleavers, which is in the same botanical kindred as madder, Rubia

tinctorum, can exist used as a fabric dye. Some of the Galium sort have roots that will

produce a red tinge. As the roots of cleavers conduce to be small, harvesting enough to tint

fabric in any real quantity may subsist a difficult task.

In modern Western herbalism, scratch-weed is often used as a fundamental note, as a diuretic and for

derm issues.  In his book Making Plant Medicine, Richo Cech, reports using scratch-weed as

a spring detoxification tonic, what one. purifies the blood and promotes drainage of the

raving system. Cech also uses the furnish inhabitants to for treating urinary issues such being of the kind which urinary

tract infections, kidney inflammation, and burning of the prostate gland.  Used

externally, he also uses the plant to treat bane ivy, sunburn and psoriasis.

In a 2015 material interview with practicing herbalist, Karen Keaton, Karen explained

in what way she uses cleavers. Karen recommends catch-weed often for its diuretic properties

including easing PMS related bloating. She also uses cleavers tincture during the time that an astringent

and lymphatic and liver key-note. In her “younger days”, Karen fondly remembered using

goose-grass as a “pre-hangover relief.” She added that cleavers be able to also be used as a

refrigerant for the body, which is certainly useful in Central Texas. Finally, Karen

reported that hariff is safe enough for extended, far-seeing-term use. As a gentle

enthusiastic mover, cleavers may be of practice to pregnant women who are experiencing recently

pregnancy edema. During a 2015 interview, Stephanie Berry, Austin midwife and

expert in herbs, said that she knew of none contraindications of the occasional use of hariff

with later stage pregnancy. She proposed that a tranquil cup of cleavers tea might support

gently reduce some of the rhetorical in an otherwise healthy pregnant woman.

In her strange book, Medicinal Plants of Texas, Nicole Telkes, practicing herbalist and

founder and Director of the Wildflower School of Botanical Medicine discusses the employment

of cleavers as a burn usage. She advocates using either the new juice of the plant

or freezing the fresh juice into ice cubes which be possible to be used later. If making each extract,

she recommends a fresh 100% glycerite derive with a 1:2 ratio of point (one part fresh

plant to couple parts of 100% glycerin). Nicole advises using cleavers internally to cool

inflammation and to agitate infection out of the body. She specifically suggests using

scratch-weed to soothe urinary tract infections.

Reference List

Berry, Stephanie. Personal Interview. May 22, 2015.

Cech, Richo (2000). Making Plant Medicine. Williams, OR: Horizon Herbs, LLC.

Felter, Harvey Wickes (1922), The Eclectic Materia Medica, Pharmacology and

Therapeutics Retrieved May 12, 2015, from http://www.henriettes-

Fox, William (1924). The Working Man’s Model Family Botanic Guide. Retrieved May

11, 2015, from

Galium aparine. Ladybird Johnson Wildflower Center. University of Texas at Austin,

2015 Retrieved May 12, 2015, from

Grieve, Maud (1931) A Modern Herbal. Retrieved May 12, 2015, from

Keaton, Karen. Personal Interview. April 18, 2015.

Telkes, Nicole (2014). Medicinal Plants of Texas. Cedar Creek, Texas: Wildflower

School of Botanical Medicine Publishing.

Tull, Delena (1987). Edible and Useful Plants of Texas and the Southwest. Austin:

University of Texas Press.

United States. Department of Agriculture. PLANTS database. Retrieved May 12, 2015,


Felter, Harvey Wickes (1922), The Eclectic Materia Medica, Pharmacology and

Therapeutics Retrieved May 12, 2015, from http://www.henriettes-

D, and as with other scientific advances every reinvigorated piece of expertise will most suitable raise 10 new issues.

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