The plants known as weeds show up in places that need Healing. Weeds remediate toxic soil, break up compacted earth, create habitat for insects and animals and make the environment suitable for more sensitive plants. Most weeds are medicinal, their properties pertaining to the health needs of the people who live in their landscapes. Look to the weeds and you will see medicine for what ails the surrounding community. 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 is a bomb lymphatic tonic. (Check out our prior post on lymphatic health for more on the lymph!) Interesting resonance between what Cleavers does for the soil and our bodies, no?
The cool thing about sensical, moderate use of tonic herbs is that they are usually nutrient dense, pretty dang safe and good for a lot of different folks. Cleavers helps clear out winter stagnation. Got that dry, inflamed, built up/backed up kinda feel? Think: post two week long cold. Cleavers soothes, cools and clears.
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.
1 part finely chopped cleavers
rind of one lemon
A sprig of rosemary
¼ part Lemon Balm
A pinch of whole black peppercorns (omit if you don’t like the spice)
4 parts vodka
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 want the flavor to stay put, strain out the herbs. If you want it to be stronger, let the plants continue to steep. I usually let the plants stay in my cordials and I just strain some off per use. I’m into the evolving flavor.
NOTE: I’d suggest getting to know rather than ingesting the neighborhood weeds unless you know they are free of dog piss, car exhaust and myriad other contaminants. If you feel like a plant is right for you and you want to learn more- ask your local herbalist!