Herbs the Word: Cleavers

Written by Marketing FM April 11, 2024

Many weeds are medicinal to humans and... to landscapes. Weeds remediate toxic soil, break up compacted earth, create habitat for insects and animals and make the environment suitable for more sensitive plants. While the invasiveness of some of these plant species is often focused on, we are acutally the reason they’ve shown up. Weeds present us a mirror: they show us our imbalance- both in our bodies and in the environments we create.

Cleavers, Galium aparine: AKA Bedstraw

Cleavers restores the landscape by having the incredible power to pull heavy metal from soil and been used specifically to draw out cadmium from contaminated farm land. Wowza.

For the humans, Cleavers make a bomb lymphatic tonic. Interesting resonance between what Cleavers does for the soil and our bodies, no?

Moderate use of tonic herbs are usually nutrient dense, and pretty dang safe and good for a lot of different folks. Cleavers help clear out winter stagnation. Got that dry, inflamed, built up/backed up kinda feel? Think: post two-week long cold. Cleavers soothe, cool and clear.

You can juice the herb and add a shot glass full to your morning smoothie. Or make a springtime tonic cordial for the upcoming summertime Bloody Marys.


You'll need:

  • 4-5 cups, or enough to 1/2 fill a jar finely chopped cleavers
  • rind of one lemon
  • A sprig of rosemary
  • 1 cup choppedLemon Balm
  • 1 tablespoon of whole black peppercorns (omit if you don’t like the spice)
  • vodka to cover (or apple coder vinegar)


Add all herbs to a jar, then pour in vodka. Store in a cool place out of direct sun for at least two weeks. After two weeks, test out the taste. If you like the flavor, strain out the herbs. If you want it to be stronger, let the plants continue to steep. We usually let the plants stay in our cordials and just strain some off per use.



PS: NOTE: We’d suggest caution in harvesting weeds, and making sure the plants you collect are far from car exhaust, sites of soil contamination and dog poop and pee. Not tasty. Not healthy.


PPS: If you feel like a plant is right for you and you want to learn more, ask your local herbalist.