See the sticky little fibers?
Cleavers have this indescribable sticky property to them. You know how grasshoppers land on you and they have those little suction cups that almost hurt your skin? That is what cleavers are like except there are no suction cups. They are just immensely sticky and wrap themselves around other plants, eventually choking them out. This sticky feeling is really little bristles that hook themselves onto anything near it. Cleavers grow like a vine and will crawl on everything in your shade garden.
Living in a densely wooded area myself, means lots of cleavers to find from spring til fall.
However, even though cleavers are a bit of a pest to the traditional gardener, they are a gem to the herbal gardener! Healing properties of cleavers are so incredible that the pharmaceutical companies are now finding interest in those properties.
I personally use cleavers as a detox agent. It has a mild laxative property that I will give my kids when a virus comes calling to keep everything working efficiently while moving that virus right along. It also stimulates the lymphatic system and is often used as an infusion. I personally use it in tincture form and add it to a base herbal infusion our family drinks daily.
Cleavers have some history in being used for cancer, skin conditions, urinary problems, kidney problems, and even on nursing pets with swelling. Cleavers can be used fresh as a poultice for inflammation, or dried for a number of herbal applications.
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