Cleavers (Gallium aparine)
Perhaps you are walking along in your garden and all of a sudden you have this sticky plant attached to your pants! Well, you’ve just encountered Cleavers, also known as the Velcro Plant or Bedstraw, as early settlers used it to stuff mattresses. This spring plant is on of the most important and safe Lymphatic tonics we can turn to for gentle detox and immune support. Acting as an alterative (blood purifier) and diuretic (helps body excrete excess fluids) it helps remove toxins from the body, while supporting immune function. It can help provide relief for a variety of symptoms, such as swollen glands, particularly around the throat; dry skin conditions such as psoriasis and urinary tract conditions when combined with other herbs. Although gentle, its cool energy and fluid moving actions can be a bit drying to some constitutions.
Use the fresh or aerial parts to make a tincture, tea, juice or herbal spring pesto (see recipe below!). The fresh herb can easily be made into a succus, by pureeing in the blender with some water and straining the resulting green liquid into ice cube trays to be stored for future use. Personally, I love having access to the ice cubes as part of my annual Spring detoxification protocol. Also, safe for animals and children in appropriate doses!
*Pictured: Both fresh & dried Cleavers and Chickweed
Chickweed (Stellaria media)
Often growing alongside Cleavers, you may find the delicate ground creeping plant called Chickweed. Its scientific name, Stellaria media, refers to its small star shaped white flower, which is said to pull the energy of the stars.
This gentle herb contains saponins, a constituent that has an anti-inflammatory action. Thus, it if often used topically in a salve or oil to relive skin rashes, irritations and pruritic conditions. Think eczema or psoriasis here.
Internally, it has a cooling energy and can be used to relieve hot inflammatory conditions such as sore throat and fever. Additionally, Chickweed promotes the elimination of fat cells and thus can be beneficial for the digestive tract and support healthy fat loss while nourishing the body.
To be continued......
-Kody Hilton, Herbalist