Native to North America, Europe and Asia, Cleavers – or Galium aparine – is an annual herb that goes by a host of diverse names.
Among these somewhat colourful alternative names for Cleavers are Catchweed, Clivers, Coachweed, Goosegrass, Robin-run-the-Hedge, Sticky Jack, Sticky Leaf, Sticky Weed and even Sticky Willy—this latter name, though, bearing no direct reference to the male organ 😉
Rather the name Sticky Willy derives from the fact that the plant is covered in tiny, hooked hairs or ‘burrs’ that stick to your clothes and other material, not unlike Velcro—just to clarify the point!
Traditionally Cleavers is considered a diuretic, and is known to have been used to treat cystitis, but it has also been used to cleanse and nourish the blood and regulate blood pressure, and in some cases to treat ulcers.
In folk medicine the herb was used as an anti-inflammatory, and interestingly, to treat skin diseases such a psoriasis and eczema, too.
These days herbalists recommend Cleavers for a range of different ailments, including stress, restlessness, head colds and tonsillitis, as well as many of the different conditions cited above.
As an added bonus, Cleavers is said to be rich in Vitamin C, and has thus been used to fight off colds and viruses by helping to boost the immune system.
And to throw in something of a sideways curve ball, in China Cleavers Tea is often prescribed as an effective antiperspirant. So if you run out of deodorant you know what to do!
To make a tea: Pour a cupful of almost boiling water on a teaspoon of Earthfare Organic Cleavers and let it brew for several minutes before drinking.
For further information on the properties and use of Cleavers we suggest you consult a qualified herbal or medical practitioner.