Spring cleanse with Cleavers
I love how nature in her wisdom gives us herbs and remedies suitable for both the seasons and balancing the Ayurvedic body types.
As a child, I'd find myself entangled in this long, sticky plant and would intentially cover my clothes with this playful and leggy annual .
With its pretty flowers and attention grabbing stems, Cleavers ( gallium aparine ) also known as goosegrass, is sometimes considered a weed, but I always liked this friendly plant and dislike calling our wild herbs and flowers "weeds" in a negative sense beleiving they all have their potency and uses....
Growing in abundance now, our sticky friend, is perfect for the Kapha / Pitta season. Still slightly damp Kapha Spring moving into hot and sunny ( hopefully! ) Summer, this cooling and cleansing herb is purifying, reducing excess heat from the blood and as a lymphatic tonic also, it helps eliminate fluid retention and toxins via the kidneys so making it an excellent herb for balancing both Pitta and Kapha, clearing ama, ( toxins ) pitta and kapha from rasa ( plasma ) and rakta ( blood ) dhatu.
As a diuretic it would compliment dandelion and add some fresh young stinging nettle leaves for a powerful blood and lymph tonic to give your immune system a boost !
From an Ayurvedic view point, cleavers is also a good remedy for excess brajaka pitta, with chronic and acute skin inflammations and complaints like urticaria, psoriasis and eczema which tend to flare up this time of year.
With its reputation as a spring tonic, Cleavers can be used for spring festivals and purification rituals particularly as we approach the Summer Soltice.
“ Summer is a festival of this inner fire power, the power that makes abundance and nourishment grow from tiny seeds.”
“It is the time to invite fire into our lives fire to burn away all that we have outgrown and all that no longer serves us; fire that makes the wild things grow in us, for which our inner selves have longed”
“We are all connected people, planet, and sun. If we align ourselves with the power in others and in the natural forces around us, what we are unable to do with our own puny ego elves can be made to happen if it is attuned to the needs of the inner self and those upon which we are connected.”
~ Cait Johnson and Maura D. Shaw from Celebrating the Great Mother
It has a slightly bitter taste, promotes liver function and can help regulate ranjaka pitta by stimulating the flow of bile from the liver and improving digestion. As it can increase Vata, use with caution for Vata types but you could add some fresh ginger, black pepper and green cardamon, which will help reduce bloating and turning it into a spring lymph chai which would also be good for Kapha !
Culpeper recommends its uses for losing weight saying “it is familiarly taken in broth to keep them lean and lank that are apt to grow fat”.
Picked fresh, you can make a tea or juice, wash the fresh young tips, then chop or throw in a blender for juice, strain and then drink!
These I picked fresh today from my garden, some to use now and to dry for future use. So if you're feeling congested , sluggish or feeling the prickly effects of pitta heat producing rashes and skin irriations , you might want to go and untangle yourself some of this wonderful herb!