Spring is green blooded time. My eyes are inundated with verdant imprinting. My insides want to look and feel verdant too. Verdant, verdant, verdant, I can’t stop saying that word! This spring greenness makes me feel joy, enlivening, and a quickening of my system.Cleavers, bedstraw, goosegrass, sticky willy, gripgrass, zhu yang yang is an herbaceous annual, low creeping and reaching plant. It is starting to flower its tiny whites just about now, and will quickly dry up from the heat of (our early) summer.
It grows in forests, creekside, and likes shade. It comes up after every rain. Its best fresh, and pre-flower. Mark its location for after the next big rain it will come up again. There are tiny sticky hairs along the stem, and the sticky fresh stems and leaves attach themselves to pant-legs and fur.We need our wild plant friends more than ever.
As a culture we are coming out of amnesia in regards to acknowledging the value of our plant ancestors. They have been evolving alongside us, adapting to the way we change our surrounding, and still making themselves available to us as sustenance and for healing.We have so much to fend off these days: radiation, lead, aluminum, EMFs, pesticides, GMOs, bactierii, viruses, fungi, sometimes manifesting in mysterious symptoms. It seems we need our green allies back in our lives to help us move these things out of our tissues, and spirit. We need them to show us how to adapt to the changing picture of our world.
Cleavers is food grade healing herb. It supports us in efficiently moving toxins out of our bodies, especially the lymphatic system, which can get congested with so much toxic input and not enough verdant input! As a fresh poultice, Cleavers can be used for skin problems, wounds or ulcers. The dried or fresh herb acts gradually to nourish and improve the system. Traditionally it has been used as a mild laxative, anti-inflammatory, astringent, purifying, diaphoretic, diuretic, febrifuge, tonic and vulnerary. An infusion of the herb has shown of benefit glandular fever, tonsilitis, hepatitis and cystitis. Much more scientific research is being done on the plant it is of great interest to the pharmaceutical industry.
I have been using it as support for chronic diseases such as Lyme, Chronic Fatigue, Fibromyalgia, and other autoimmune diseases where the bodily functions become compromised from weakness and overload. It is a milder, less drying lymph cleanser than Red Root, Ceanothus, or Poke, Phytolacca.
In the winter our lymph takes what’s available, which certainly isn’t an abundance of greens. We ingest foods that take longer to digest, usually in the shades clear/yellow/orange/brown. These are the hues of fats, roots, and broth. But come spring, our lymph need a bit of dredging! And what better way to do that than to make some verdant lymph clearing Cleavers Lemonade! The signature sticky hairs on cleavers stocks and leaves perhaps are what scour the lymph and support the liver in processing all that we interface with in our modern world. It may leave a scratchy feeling in your mouth and throat, this will pass shortly, and is slightly countered by the honey and lemon. Cleavers is high in vitamin C as well as other minerals, and is best fresh, acting to enliven us into spring!
Recipe for Cleavers Lemonade
- Find some fresh cleavers, a good 1-2 handfuls of long stalks. This plant grows in forests, creek side, on rocks, likes shade and comes post rains. When you harvest, leave the roots intact.
- When you get it home, pick through to remove things you might not want in your beverage, like pine needles or cicada skins. (I don’t usually wash it if I trust where I picked it, that I may get a dose of dirt probiotics.)
- Chop it med/small. Put it in the vitamix. Some of you may have a fancy juice press, or hand juicer for wheat grass. That is even better, but a vitamix will do.
- Fill with filtered water.
- Add a little dried stevia leaf, or a teaspoon to tablespoon of raw honey.
- Squeeze in juice of one lemon.
- Add a pinch of salt, and cayenne (optional).
- Blend high till liquid looks all green.
- Strain to get the pulp out.
- Drink throughout the day.
We have a short window with cleavers. Another great way to use it is to make a cleavers vinegar or fresh plant tincture or succi that you can use all year round to get that vibrant verdant feeling!