Cleavers (Gallium aparine)

Family: Rubiaceae

Parts commonly used: Aerial.

Properties/energetics: Diuretic, alterative, anti-inflammatory, tonic, astringent/Cold, dry; mildly bitter, sweet, salty.

Systems predominantly affected:  Lymphatic, urinary.

Uses: Our finest lymphatic tonic, cleanser, and cooling diuretic. Although the lymphatic activity is poorly understood, Cleavers seems to help lymphatic swellings, especially when there is acute, hot inflammation. This herb is ideal for treating all problems where the lymphatic system is involved, such as enlarged lymph nodes (tonsils, adenoids, and so on), skin diseases and eruptions, and ulcers and tumors that are the result of poor lymph drainage. Cleavers is also an anti-inflammatory diuretic, relieves prostate irritation, and soothes burning and irritation in the urinary tract such as kidney and bladder inflammation, including stones and gravel obstructions, scalding urine, and irritation at the neck of the bladder. It also has a positive influence on proper working of the bowels.

Combinations: Combines well with Calendula and Echinacea for lymphatic problems. Combines with Marshmallow and Bearberry for treating bladder or kidney inflammation and with Echinacea and Oregon Grape for prostate inflammation.

Affects on specific body types: As a tonic, Cleavers seems like a reasonable urinary cleanser to any Warrior type who displays a tendency toward sodium retention and an inflamed, irritable urinary tract. It is a good diuretic in fevers, lowering the temperature and assisting the function of the kidneys. It helps clear the passageways to and from the liver and other internal organs, allowing a cleansing and decongestion of the body systems. These actions are quite beneficial to all constitutional types but most specifically to the anabolic Warrior, who liberally generates (and tends to retain) metabolic waste products. The properties of this plant can give great comfort to the fiery Warrior.

Preparations/dosage: Fresh plant juice is most effective (Cleavers loses its properties when subjected to drying or heating). 2 to 3 teaspoons in a little water taken three times a day. Infusion: 1 cup three times a day. Tincture: Fresh undried plant, 40 to 60 drops three times a day.

By James Green, Herbalist, copyright 2008

For more information please refer to James Green’s book, The Male Herbal, 2nd Edition