Cleavers, the Christmas cleansing herb.
I hate to sound predictable but Christmas and new year has left me feeling rather sluggish. I drank more alcohol, ate more desert and just kept saying I’ll exercise tomorrow.
I started the new year by signing up with a local biodynamic farm to receive a weekly veg, salad and fruit box. http://trinityfarm.co.uk it’s been great to eat a variety of ingredients I just would have never thought to buy before. We were getting into the habit of just buying the same things all the time.
Now, I said I wanted to look at a different tree, herb or plant each season and use it in some way but with winter being the season of hibernation, I was thinking I may need to miss this one out. Nothing was calling to me.
Now I’ve got my veg box and I’ve been making a more conscious effort to exercise. Yet i was still feeling heavy, I was missing something. Nature was wanting to show me something I’ve just not seen it yet.
Hugo and I took a walk down the canal path near our house. The trees were leafless and the hedge rows pretty dormant. Nothing was speaking to me. Later that day we took a drive and on the way home there it was, a bright green patch of life. I had never seen it there before. I find it incredible that when you open yourself up to learning about something, you see so much more.
Cleaver’s, INCI – Galium aparine. I knew what herb it was as I had read about it not long back in the Hedgerow Medicine book, I just couldn’t remember what it’s medicinal properties were.
I start re-reading and quickly realised nature is offering the perfect little gift again, just when you need it.
Cleaver’s are One of the first plants to sprout. Cleaver’s purpose is to gently clean the body internally helping the lymphatic system and get rid of metabolic waste. So it was just what I’ve needed to clean my system out after a little over indulgence and the cold winter slug. Nature you clever little thing.
Cleaver’s purpose makes it a good remedy for swollen glands, tonsillitis, mouth ulcers. Cleaver’s is a diuretic, it will promote urine flow cleaning the kidneys, helping further to rid our body. It’s cooling and soothing properties are said to help with skin complaints. Eczema can flair in most people during winter, so by cleaning our system it could really reduce skin inflammation.
Our lympathatic system is there to cleanse our body. The lymphatic system helps blood bring oxygen to our cells. In doing this it exchanges and disposes of built up waste. If the lymphatic system is not flowing correctly, toxins build up. When there’s a build up of toxins in our lymphatic syterm it results in blockages, you can get swollen glands, skin issues and a general feeling of sluggishness. Cleaver’s promotes flow and movement.
Cleaver’s is at its best when fresh, you can use the leaves and stem, leave the root behind. It loses potency when dried or heated. Cleaver’s is safe to eat raw.
So How can we use Cleaver’s And benefit from it medicinal properties?
Simply pick fresh and add to salads This is the quickest and easiest way to start getting its medicinal benefits. Add the fresh herb to your smoothies. You can add it to stew and soups but the heat will reduce nutrients.
I ate a hand full fresh after picking and that afternoon I kept needing to wee. It’s diuretic properties were working.
Folklore says, if you drink Cleaver’s water for nine weeks you become beautiful. This stems from its ability to clean your insides, thus It cleanses the Skin and helps in treatment of Dermatitis, Acne and boils. Cleavers reduces the signs of ageing and tightens the skin. It removes toxins through the Skin and makes skin lustrous.
Add the fresh cleavers herb to a large jug of water and leave to infused over night. You’ll be kept hydrated with extra Lymphatic cleaning properties. Cleavers can also be used as a wash to calm or poultice for skin irritations, ulcers and sunburn.
What I did with my Cleaver’s.
I made Cleaver’s Juice. How?
Pick Cleaver’s fresh, it grows for most of the year but is clearly noticeable jan onwards. I chopped the fresh picked herb placed it in a cheese cloth and squeezed out the juice.
You can place it in the fridge and use within the week.
I wanted to preserve for later use so I measured the juice and added equal amounts of vegetable glycerine. You can use honey. Keep this refrigerated. It should be good for a few more months. Take a spoonful or add a spoonful to water and drink daily to help cleanse.
I also decided to dry some cleavers. I placed the fresh picked herb on tissue paper in my airing cupboard. I will leave it there for a few weeks. Once dried I will chop and place in a air tight jar.
I plan to use the dried herb as a tea, instead of tea leaves and an oil infusion. I want to incorporate herbs into our skincare. I will place the dried herb into a jar and cover with oil, leaving to infuse for a month. This will release the herbs properties into the oil. I can use the oil in balms and creams.
There we have it my second herb pick, unexpectedly cleavers become of interest. The perfect January find to get our body’s in tip top condition after a month of neglect.