Cleavers (Galium aparine)

Botanical Name :Galium aparine
Family: Rubiaceae
Genus: Galium
Common Names :  Cleavers , Clivers, Goose Grass, Catchweed, Sweet Woodruff,    Stickywilly, Stickyweed, Stickyleaf, Catchweed, Robin-run-the-hedge and Coachweed.
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Gentianales
Species: G. aparine

Habitat : It is native to North America and Eurasia.

Description:
Galium aparine is a herbaceous annual plant. The long stems of this climbing plant sprawl over the ground and other plants, reaching heights of 1-1.5 m, occasionally 2 m. The leaves are simple and borne in whorls of six to eight. Both leaves and stem have fine hairs tipped with tiny hooks, making them cling to clothes and fur much like velcro. The white to greenish flowers are 2-3 mm across, with four petals.
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It flowers in early spring to summer, with the flowers occurring in most of the leaf nodes. The fruits are clustered 1-3 seeds together; each seed is 4-6 mm diameter, and is also covered with hooked hairs (a burr) which cling to animal fur, aiding in seed dispersal.

It is a common weed in hedges and other low shrubby vegetation, and is also a common weed in arable fields, as well as gardens. As they grow quite rampantly and thickly, they end up shading out any small plants that they overrun.

The seeds are similar size to cereal grains, and so are a common contaminant in cereals since they are difficult to filter out. The presence of some seed in cereals is not considered a serious problem as they are not toxic.

Edible Uses:

Galium aparine is edible. The numerous small hooks which cover the plant and give it its clinging nature make it unfit to be eaten raw. However boiled as a leaf vegetable before the fruits appear it makes tolerable eating..
When dried and roasted, the fruits of this plant can be used to make a coffee-like drink. The plant can also be made into a tea.

Cleavers is a coffee relative, and its seed if roasted are used as a coffee substitute, and the young leaves can be eaten like spinach.

Constituents: coumarins,iridoid glycosides (asperuloside, acumin), tannins,citric acid,gallotanic acid

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Medicinal Actions & Uses:

Diuretic* Tonic* Astringent* Depurative* Vulnerary* Appetite Depressant/Obesity* Refrigerant*
The plant was traditionally used to treat skin diseases. It is a diuretic and vulnerary. Herbalists use it to lower blood pressure and body temperature, as well as for cystitis.

The whole plant is considered rich in vitamin C. Its roots produce a red dye, and the tea has been used as an anti-perspirant (by the Chinese), and as a relief for head colds (home remedy), restlessness, and sunburns. As a pulp, it has been used to relieve poisonous bites.

Common Uses: Eczema * Hypertension HBP * Psoriasis *

Parts Used Medicine: Dried aerial parts and fresh expressed juice

Herbalists have long regarded cleavers as a valuable lymphatic tonic and diuretic. In essence the lymph system is the body’s mechanism to wash tissues of toxins, passing them back into the bloodstream to be cleansed by the liver and kidneys. This cleansing action makes cleavers useful in treating conditions like psoriasis and arthritis, which benefit from purifying the blood. Externally, a tea made from cleavers can be used as a skin wash to improve the complexion and treat skin disorders, and treat cuts and scrapes. The tea can also be put to good use as a hair rinse to fight dandruff.

Cleavers has been used to treat urinary infections in cats(FLUTD).

Disclaimer:The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplements, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.

Resources:
http://www.anniesremedy.com/herb_detail215.php
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Galium_aparine
http://www.sbs.utexas.edu/mbierner/bio406d/images/pics/rub/galium_aparine.htm

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