Spring Forage: Cleavers
Updated: Jun 28
Spring foraging on our dog walks: today we came across this patch of CLEAVERS (Galium aparine).
Dogs and horses frequently self-select and nibble on cleavers straight from the hedgerow.
Cleavers (also called goose grass, or sticky willy) will stick to clothing due to the tiny little hooks on their leaves. When ingested the plant has a 'pipe-cleaner' effect to clear the lymphatic system. Diuretic, astringent, anti inflammatory and wound healer. Good for any condition with swelling, and increases lymphatic circulation through dilation of capillaries.
Cleavers is beneficial for humans to ingest. It is safe for cats too (perhaps as a cold infusion from the cut plant) and may help with FLUTD (feline urinary tract disease). At present the new shoots and leaves are still short and upright, so now is a good time to forage them. Once the plant flowers, it is no longer for medicinal use. So now is the time to make the most of this lovely little plant.