There’s a reason certain herbs and plants grow at certain times of the year; naturally we would reach out to herbs like nettle, dandelion, ground ivy, garlic and cleavers, to boost the immune, circulatory and lymphatic systems, cure coughs and colds, and help with digestion.
Salad leaves like rocket, lettuce, chard and spinach are abundant in May, and cleansing, antioxidant-rich vegetables like beetroot, radishes and red cabbage are at their best. Mid-spring is a little like nature’s natural detox time, and there’s no better way to cure the
hangover of Winter than with nature’s very own remedies.
After a recent foraging workshop in Sussex, I’m finding it hard not to keep looking out for useful herbs while on walks in the countryside, especially when some of the most useful recipes are made of the most easy-to-find plants!*
Cleavers is a plant you’ll find nestling amongst nettles and wild garlic at this time of year, and it is a herb suited especially to any ailments you’re likely to experience in Spring time.
Benefits Of Cleavers
- Cleavers is particularly useful for boosting the lymphatic system, which is actually larger than the circulatory system of blood. The lymphatic system doesn’t actually have a pump like the heart, so it relies upon movement and encouragement from what we choose to ingest. Cleavers gets the lymphatic system moving, encouraging detoxification of the body’s tissues and blood. If you’ve had a particularly heavy few months of animal products and alcohol, this is the herb to turn to.
- It’s a natural diuretic, aiding in removal of waste and build up of toxins via urine, and perfect for any urinary tract infections or water retention.
- Skin conditions like eczema, psoriasis and dermatitis can also benefit from the healing properties of cleavers, and using it as a face wash helps to decrease wrinkles by tightening the surface of the skin.
*Important note: Please do not forage for anything unless you have been taught by an experienced practitioner, and only once you are absolutely sure of what you are picking. Many wild herbs and plants are poisonous! Do not forage near the road-side as fumes are likely to effect the plants, and say away from areas in which animals are likely to have defecated….
- Take a handful of freshly picked cleavers and wash them thoroughly to clean.
- Add the plant as it is to a bottle, cover with filtered water and cover.
- Leave over night and you’ve got yourself a natural detox tonic for the morning after. You can also strain and mix this with unpasteurised apple cider vinegar, warm water and lemon for an alkalising and healing morning drink.
Cleavers & Lemon Detox Tea
- Wash the cleavers plant well to clean
- Chop the plant into small pieces
- Add 2 tbsp of the fresh herb to a tea pot and cover with boiled water
- Leave to steep for 10 minutes
- Serve with a slice of fresh lemon and optional honey to sweeten
Cleavers Purifying Face Wash For Eczema & Skin Irritation
- Add a small handful of clean, chopped fresh cleavers to a pot
- Cover with boiled water and simmer for 40 minutes
- Leave to cool completely
- Strain the liquid into an airtight jar
- Store in the fridge for 2 weeks and use as a daily face wash