A popular herb in folk medicine, Cleavers is a fast growing weed that produces long sticky stems.

Young shoots are usually the first weeds to appear in a garden in spring, and make a wonderful cleansing tonic – a remedy widely used in central Europe and the Balkans.

The ‘Waste Manager’ – this herb can help reduce the impact of increasing environmental toxins in our modern life.

Latin Binomial: Galium aparine

Common Name(s): Cleavers, Goosegrass, Clives

Family: Rubiaceae

Part(s) Used:

Dried arial parts and the fresh expressed juice (Hoffman) – all of the plant, but not the roots. The plant should be gathered before flowering and dried in the shade.

 Qualities: Cold, sightly dry & salty (Ody) Moist (Wood)

Sweet flavour is from the coumarins – so it Thins the Blood and Aerates the Tissues.

When there is ATROPHY with FIBROUS DEPOSITS in the TISSUES — the MOISTURE & SALTINESS indicates this remedy.

This remedy has a strong affinity with the LYMPHATIC SYSTEM, KIDNEYS & NERVOUS SYSTEM. A gentle mover of lymphatics — supports the immune system and kidneys.

AFFINITY for the Vata Constitution


Remedy for people who are irritated by little things.

Fine-boned, delicate, elegantly articulated but nervous

Dorothy Hall views Cleavers as a herb primarily for ‘male symptoms’.

Dorothy Hall Person-Picture of Cleavers:

  • Male, irritable bladder & urethra – possible intermittent discharge, painful enlarged prostate (Hall).

Constituents: Glycoside asperuloside, gallotannic acid, citric acid (Hoffman). Coumarins, tannins (Ody).


“Women do usually make pottage of clevers… to cause lanknesse and keepe them from fatnes” – John Gerard, 1597


  • Diuretic
  • Alterative
  • Lymphatic tonic
  • Vulnerary
  • Anti-inflammatory
  • Tonic
  • Astringent
  • Anti-neoplastic (Hoffman)
  • Depurative (Bone)


  • Best tonic to the Lymphatic System available (Hoffman)
  • Lymphatic cogestion & stagnation (Wood)
  • Swollen Glands – esp. in Tonsillitis and Adenoid trouble (under and about the ears)
  • Dissolves calcareous deposits in the tissues, sweeps fluids and solids down to the kidneys and helps remove them (Alterative)
  • Helpful in ‘Gatherings of the Nerves’ – inflammation of the nerve endings (Wood)
  • It is widely used in skin conditions esp. dry varities such as – Psoriasis
  • Useful in the treatment of Cystitis and other urinary conditions where there is pain and may be combined with Demulcents for this (Hoffman).
  • Prostate inflammation/irritation
  • Bone indicated a potential use in Eczema and Kidney stones (Bone).
  • Acne – support management of body wastes

** There is a long traditional use for Cleavers in treatment of ulcers and tumours, which may be the result of lymphatic drainage. Cleavers make an excellent vegetable (Hoffman)**

Contraindications/Cautions: None Known

Diabetic CAUTION — because of it’s diuretic action (Wood)


INFUSION: Pour a cup of boiling water onto 2-3 tsp dried herb and leave to infuse for 10-15 mins. This should be drunk 3 times a day.

TINCTURE: take 2-4ml of the tincture three times a day (Hoffman) .

Bone states dose range between 3.5-7.0 ml of 1:2 liquid extract (Bone).


  • For Lymphatic System, works well with Poke Root, Echinacea and Calendula.
  • For Skin Conditions it works with Yellow Dock and Burdock (Hoffman).
  • Combine with pokeroot or loan qiao – lymphatic/detoxifying herbs.
  • Buchu & corn silk – mix for soothing the euro-genital tract


  • JUICE: Liquidise or pulp fresh plant to make and effective diuretic and lymphatic cleanser for a range of conditions – including glandular fever, tonsillitis and prostate disorders
  • INFUSION: Generally less strong than fresh juice. Use this for urinary problems such as cystitis or gravel. Also take as cooling drink during fever.
  • COMPRESS: Soak pad in infusion and use on burns, grazes, ulcers and other skin inflammations
  • CREAM:  use regularly for psoriasis
  • HAIR RINSE: Use infusion for dandruff or scaling scalp problems



Hall, Dorothy (1988). Dorothy Hall’s Herbal Medicine

Hoffman, D. (1990). Holistic Herbal. London: Thorsons. Page 191.

Bone, K. (2003). A Clinical Guide to Blending Liquid Herbs: Herbal Formulations for the Individual Patient. St Louis, Missouri: Elsevier

Ody, Penelope (1998). The Herb Society’s Complete Medicinal Herbal. Milan: Dorling Kindersley

Wood, M. (1997). The book of herbal wisdom.

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