Part Used: Dried flowering herb
Cleavers (Galium aparine) is a native British herb straggling annual, up to 120cm tall. It clings to bushes and hedges and to any creature brushing by them, by tiny curved prickles on the angles of the stems and the veins and edges of the thin lanceolate leaves. Small greenish-white flowers are borne in peduncles from the axils of each whorl. The active constituents of Cleavers include: Coumarins, Iridoid glycosides (asperuloside, acumin), Red dye (including galiosin), Tannins, Citric Acid, Gallotanic acid. The herb has properties like diuretic, lymphatic alterative, anti-inflammatory, tonic, astringent, anti-neoplastic, aperient, etc. It has been used as mild diuretic, mild astringent, lymphatic alterative, anti-inflammatory, aperient, tonic, and antineoplastic.
Cleavers has a long history of domestic medicinal use and is also used widely by modern herbalists. A valuable diuretic, it is often taken to treat skin problems such as seborrhoea, eczema and psoriasis and as a general detoxifying agent in serious illnesses such as cancer. Its alterative and diuretic actions make it an effective lymphatic tonic and it is used in the treatment of a wide range of problems involving the lymphatic system, including lymphadenitis, tonsillitis, glandular fever and enlarged adenoids. It is particularly useful in the treatment of toxic conditions associated with tissue oedema and water retention. It is also used internally and topically to treat skin conditions, particularly dry conditions such as psoriasis. An infusion of the herb may be used as a hair rinse for dandruff or seborrhoea. It may also be applied to burns and abrasions. It can be used to treat cystitis and other urinary conditions where there is pain, such as calculi, colic or strangury, where it is combined with demulcent herbs. It is also reputed to help reduce blood pressure and to cool the body during fevers.
Australian Naturopathic Network. http://www.ann.com.au/herbs/Monographs/galium.htm
Purple Sage Botanicals. http://www.purplesage.org.uk/profiles/clivers.htm