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Herb Information
Name: Cleavers
Biological Name: Galium aparine
Other Names: Bedstraw, clivers, cleavers, coachweed, cleaverwort, goose grass, goose's hair, grip grass, gravel grass, gosling weed, hedge-burrs, clabber grass, catchweed, milk sweet, poor robin, loveman, stick-a-back, sweethearts, savoyan, scratchweed, cleaverwort.
Parts Used: The herb
Remedies For

Antispasmodic, diaphoretic, diuretic, vulnerary.

The predominant uses for cleavers are external, although the tea has been recommended for stomach and Intestinal catarrh and for Irritations of mucous membranes, including those of the urinary tract. The juice of the fresh plant or a tea made from the dried plant is popular for skin problems. The juice or tea is applied daily and allowed to dry (before each application, wash the affected area with rectified alcohol, burning the cloth each time).

If preferred, make a salve for the skin by mixing the fresh juice with butter (renew every 3 hours and burn the cloth used to apply it).

Applying the crushed fresh leaves directly is also said to be helpful for skin problems and for stopping bleeding. Cleavers is popularly used in Europe for healing wounds and sores.


Cleavers is an annual plant found in moist or grassy places and along riverbanks and fences in Canada, the eastern half of the U.S., and the Pacific coast. A slender taproot produces the weak, square, procumbent or climbing, prickly stem that grows from 2 to 6 feet long. The rough, oblong-lanceolate to almost linear leaves occur in whorls of 6 or 8 around the stem. The small, white or greenish-white flowers grow in cymes on long, axillary peduncies from May to September. The fruit consists of two joined, bristly, globular, one-seeded carpels.


Use the juice of the fresh plant or dry the plant immediately to keep for later use.

Infusion.- Steep I oz. dried herb in I pint warm (not boiling) water for 2 hours. Take 2 to 8 tbsp., three or four times a day.

Tincture: Take 20 to 30 drops in water, as required.

For kidney and bladder troubles, particularly burning or suppressed urine, use with uva ursi, buchu, and marshmallow.


Cleavers are very astringent due to its high tannin content. Take only two weeks at a time, and then skip one or two weeks.

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