~ Cleavers cold water infusion ~
There's a luscious, fresh flush of Cleavers in the garden, so I'm drinking a cold water infusion everyday for it's nutritional & medicinal properties.
Cleavers are very high in Vitamin C & rich in minerals including Silica which promotes healthy skin, hair, nails and connective tissues. Medicinally they're most well known for their diuretic, anti-inflammatory & cleansing properties, particularly their ability to cleanse the lymph nodes & the blood.
You probably know Cleavers as biddy bids, those annoying sticky balls that get stuck to your cat's fur or your back. Galium Aparine has many amusing names such as sticky bob, sticky willy, sticky jack etc, goosegrass & velcro plant.
You can gather the fresh & very young leaves, cut very finely & to add salads, pestos, salad dressings, or soups & stews. Older leaves will become course and prickly and scratch your mouth, so just gather the fresh young tips.
Cleavers are related to the coffee plant family and apparently the seeds make a good coffee substitute. They used to be used in Sweden for this purpose. I’ve never tried this but would love to hear if you do!
Given the sticky scratchiness which runs the risk of getting caught in your throat, I prefer to ingest is in an infusion.
This is ridiculously easy to prepare:
~ Gather a large handful of fresh cleavers.
~ Ensure they’re clean and pick out any bits of dirt or stray twigs.
~ Stuff into a large water jug or large glass jar.
~ Fill with water and leave to sit overnight.
~ Strain & drink.
This cooling, detoxing drink has a strange banana/cucumber like flavor.
Cleaver tea is often used by herbalists as a remedy for swollen glands, tonsillitis, or any other sickness that would benefit from lymphatic drainage support, such as respiratory infections.
Also useful for treating urinary or bladder infections given the diuretic and anti-inflammatory properties.
Topically cleavers can be used in a poultice for skin ailments such as wounds, burns, eczema & psoriasis - I sometimes add it to healing balms for this purpose.
You'll learn more about Cleavers in my Wet Season Foraging Guide.