"Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food. "
This season has been particularly uncomfortable for allergies. I, for one, had a couple of weeks of severe symptoms. I don't suffer from traditional hay fever, but I do occasionally get random allergic reactions to unknown food triggers. I had not experienced these symptoms in years but recently I had an awful flare up and found myself desperate for relief. As I lay in bed one morning with my eye lids almost swollen shut, I remembered my friend Cleavers. After years of experience, I now have a strong tendency to listen to myself. That inner voice in all of us that is so often ignored can be a guiding force of wisdom.
|Cleavers climbing next to the compost bins|
So I grabbed a basket and went looking for some fresh specimens of this sticky weed. Well, it is the perfect time of year around here and I didn't have to look far. There is a profuse amount of this plant growing all over our property. Cleavers (Gallium Aparine) is known by different common names; Goosegrass, Stickyweed, and Bedstraw are just a few. But the way most people know Cleavers is by the way it persistently sticks to your clothing. My son likes to surprise me by throwing it on my shirt or hair.
This wonderful weed strengthens lymphatic activity, reduces allergic reactions, eases tender swollen breasts, PMS symptoms, and mild lymph edema. To harvest, cut the top two-thirds of each plant while it is in flower or setting seeds (the seeds look like burrs). You can then make a tincture, tea, or my preferred method, fresh green juice.
To make the fresh juice I gathered a basket full of leafy tops, brought them inside and rinsed them lightly. At first I attempted to put them through my juicer, but since I do not have a Vita mix, that attempt failed. Cleavers is way too fibrous for my wimpy machine so out came the Cuisinart blender.
I added a little water to the plants, enough to get them to turn over and blended until I had a nice even green juice. Then I strained the mixture and added a couple of juiced apples. Delicious and very cooling. I think I drank 2-3 pitchers full. I just kept making more as it was very calming to my inflamed system.
So all you gardeners, foragers, and hikers out there, don't think of Cleavers as a nuisance. Harvest some when in season, use it as a spring tonic, and reap the health benefits.