Cleavers, also known as clivers, bedstraw, or goose grass, are a type of herbs that belong to the family, Rubiaceae. The botanical name of these plants is Galium aparine. There are approximately 300 varieties of cleavers. Being a perennial plant, they grow abundantly in the wild, and are found mostly in moist grasslands and along the banks of rivers. They grow throughout the continents of Asia, North America, and Europe. Their usage by humans can be traced back to ancient Greece, where it was used for centuries. They can be grown in pots in houses, and should be available at any licensed herbalist. Their leaves are used in the form of tea, which helps the body in fighting against various diseases. Their roasted seeds can be used as a low-caffeine substitute for coffee. The juice from the roots is used as a red or pink dye. Young and tender sprouts are used in many types of salads.
Their extract is used as herbal medicine, as it has many healing properties, and no known side effects. In ancient times, cleavers were also used as a love tonic. Given below are some of the effects of these herbs:
- They are rich in vitamin C and flavonoids, which provide the body with antioxidants, and strengthen the immune system.
- They are good detoxification agents, and help in filtering out impurities from the body, and purifying the blood stream.
- They are very effective when it comes to curing disorders of the respiratory system, like irritation of the mucous membrane, mild bronchitis, throat infections, and cough.
- The herbs are also considered to be extremely beneficial for the lymphatic system. They help in reducing the swelling of lymph nodes, clearing abscesses, and healing boils.
- They can also be used to treat ailments of the skin, like psoriasis, eczema, and inflammation or abrasions on the skin.
- They have diuretic properties, thus helping reduce water retention and dissolve kidney stones. They are also helpful in clearing obstructions in the urinary tract, and healing urinary tract infections.
- Cleavers may prevent the growth and spread of cancerous cells in the body.
- They have high anti-inflammatory properties, and are used in alleviating the discomfort and pain caused by arthritis.
Since there are no known side effects, consumption is safe for children, pregnant women, and lactating mothers (although such cases should be decided by a medical professional). Using cleavers in any form is beneficial to your health; no wonder they used to be known as a 'wonder herb'!