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DISCLAIMER: These pages are presented solely as a source of INFORMATION and ENTERTAINMENT and to provide stern warnings against use where appropriate. No claims are made for the efficacy of any herb nor for any historical herbal treatment. In no way can the information provided here take the place of the standard, legal, medical practice of any country. Additionally, some of these plants are extremely toxic and should be used only by licensed professionals who have the means to process them properly into appropriate pharmaceuticals. One final note: many plants were used for a wide range of illnesses in the past, but be aware that many of the historical uses have proven to be ineffective for the problems to which they were applied.

aka Aperine, Barweed, Bedstraw, Catchstraw, Cheese Rent, Clabber Grass, Cleaverwort, Clivers, Coachweed, Erriffe, Everlasting Friendship,
Goosegrass, Goose Hair, Goose Share, Gosling weed, Gravel Grass, Grip Grass, Hayriffe, Hedge-burs, Hedgeheriff, Loveman, Milk Sweet,
Mutton Chops, Poor Robin, Robin-run-in-the-grass, Savoyan, Scratchweed, Stick-a-back, Sticky-Willie, Sweethearts

(Galium aperine)

FYI A straggling, annual plant with a slender TAPROOT and weak square STEMS which clings to other plants (and anything else it contacts, including clothes, pets' fur, etc) with small, curved prickles at the angles of the stems and on the veins and edges of the leaves. Can be found throughout the Northern Hemisphere in moist or grassy places and along river banks. Common in the eastern United States and the Pacific coast. LEAVES linear-lancelolate to 2 inches long and whorled (6 to 8) around the stem. Greenish-white FLOWERS appear on peduncles in small, loose cymes of 2 to 5. FRUITS are small burs covered with hooked bristles, appearing as two joined burs each containing one seed.

Included on the list of Canadian Medicinal Plants. The name Aperine is taken from the Greek 'aparo', meaning to seize, which is descriptive of the plants behavior when coming in contact with anything.

Astrologically ruled by the moon §

CONTAINS: Coumarins, tannins, citric acid, a red dye, glycosides, gallotannic acids, rubichloric acid, galiosin, asperuloside, calcium, sodium, silica, copper, iodine.

PROPAGATION By FRESH RIPE SEED in summer; by DIVISION in early spring or in autumn.
HARVEST The plant is cut just before flowering (usually in spring and early summer, then dried. Seeds as available. Roots in autumn.
PART USED Above ground plant and seeds. Best used fresh. The root has also been known to be used.
SOLVENT Water (never boil Cleavers as it destroys its properties).
FORM Oil (made with fresh plant); Juice (made with fresh plant); Infusion; Compress/Poultice; Glycerite; Tincture; Salve.
RELATED SPECIES ROUGH BEDSTRAW (Galium asprellum): Has been used for kidney problems.
SHINING BEDSTRAW (Galium concinnum): Was used by the Meskwaki tribe of North America as a tea for ague, and bladder and kidney problems. The Flambeau Ojibwe used the whole plant to make an infusion used as a diuretic for kidney problems, gravel, and stoppage of urine.
sì yè cao (Galium bungei): Used in Chinese medicine as an anodyne, detoxicant, diuretic, febrifuge and to reduce swellings. Has been used in decoction form for abscesses, boils, cancerous tumors, dysentary, fever, gonorrhea, leucorrhea, and failure to thrive in children.


♦ The red dye principle may stain urine pink.
Bitter, cooling, salty, blood cleanser, laxative, diaphoretic, diuretic, febrifuge, anti-inflammatory, antispasmodic, astringent, mild antibiotic, alterative, tonic; affects kidneys, gall bladder, and the lymphatic and urinary systems; lowers blood pressure; assists healing.
Has been used as a blood cleanser in cases of eczema, scrofula, psoriasis, and cancer.
Has been used for edema, urinary tract infections, cystitis, urinary stones, insomnia, high blood pressure, enlarged lymph nodes (due to any condition), glandular fevers, scarlet fever, measles, upper respiratory infections, asthma, mumps, myalgic encephalomyelitis, hepatitis, jaundice, tonsillitis, adenoid problems, obesity, scurvy, spasms, eczema, psoriasis, cystitis, breast cysts and tumors (benign). Has been combined with Marshmallow for cystitis; combined with Echinacea or Goldenseal for throat infection; with Red Clover, Nettles and Figwort for psoriasis; for scarlet fever, small pox, and eruptive diseases it has been mixed in equal part with elderflowers; has been combined with thyme for cystitis and urinary tract infections (taken hourly as a tea). A cream is also used for psoriasis and other skin irritations. A salve has also been used for burns and scalds. A compress has been used for burns, abrasions, ulcers, and skin inflammations.
The infusion has been used for urinary problems (cystitis and gravel), for bedwetting (taken 3 times daily), and as a cooling drink for fevers. Has often been combined with Broom, Bearberry, Buchu, and Marshmallow for urinary obstruction.
Has been used externally for breast lumps, swollen glands, ulcerations, abscesses, wounds, skin irritations and minor injuries, psoriasis and all skin conditions in general. Has been used to reduce lymphatic congestion in the skin and breasts. An infusion for external use = 1/2 oz macerated fresh plant to 1 pint of warm water, steeped 2 hours. Also, the juice has been applied to sore nipples and sores.
Has been combined with red clover, figwort and stinging nettle for psoriasis.
For cancer it has been combined with Sweet violet leaves (a large quantity of Violet leaves has been used throughout the regimen). A poultice made by combining the juice with oatmeal has been used 3 times daily for indolent tumors; a teaspoon of the juice has also been taken each morning. Another method of reducing growths has been to measure out 1/4 cup fresh or dried herb to 1 cup of boiling water, the resultant infusion being separated into 3 parts and taken 3 times over the course of the day. An ointment of the fresh plant has been used for tumors.
The juice has been used for prostate problems.
The crushed freshed leaves have been used as a poultice to stop bleeding. Also for bleeding of the nose and the infusion and/or juice internally for bleeding from the stomach.
The juice of both the seeds and the plant were once used for poisonous spider or snake bites. The juice or the infused oil has been used for earache.
The dried powdered root has been used on wounds and open ulcers to speed healing.
Has been eaten in China as a vegetable to help with weight loss. In Chinese medicine it is regarded as tonic and as a blood cleanser and has been used for skin and breast cancer, hepatoma (cancer of the liver), , leukemia, dropsy, epilepsy, ganglionic tumors, gravel, high blood pressure, hysteria, pleurisy, sores, carbuncles, skin infections, spasms, urethritis, urogenital problems, blood in the urine, bloating, and ulcers. In a study using dogs as subjects, arterial pressure was lowered up to 50% without slowing the pulse.
Has been widely used as a Folk Medicine in central Europe and the Balkans for various cancers (breast, throat and tongue) and for indurations and wens.
In the East Indies has been used to treat gonorrhea (1/2 to 1 fluid oz of the fresh juice every 4 to 6 hours).
The Penobscots of North America used it in combination with other herbs for gonorrhea, kidney problems, and the spitting of blood. The Meskwaki boiled the plant to use as an emetic.

!All others buy commercial preparations and follow directions carefully!
GRAINS = 30 to 60
INFUSION = 2 tsp (3 to 8 grams) dried herb to 1 cup water just off the boil; steep 15 minutes and taken cool, a mouthful at a time, sweetened with honey or brown sugar. OR, 1 oz (28 grams) of dried herb to 1 pint of hot water (not boiling), steep 2 hours; taken 2 to 8 tbsp 3 or 4 times daily (roughly a mouthful at a time).
TINCTURE = 1 tsp (4 mls) in water 3 times daily, OR, 30 to 40 drops.
FLUID EXTRACT = Same as tincture.
GLYCERITE = Juice fresh plant in a juicing machine; measure amount of juice and add an equal volume of vegetable glycerin to preserve; taken 1 to 3 times daily.
JUICE = To preserve mix with 25% of its weight in alcohol.
SALVE = The fresh juice combined with butter and applied every 3 hours.

'Grease' in horses has been treated by using a poultice of Cleavers (macerate the plant into a paste and add 1 tsp of cayenne pepper to each cup of pounded herb).
Mammary tumors in dogs has been treated with a poultice of Cleavers. For kidney problems the fresh plant has been infused in milk.
For internal use in livestock 2 handfuls of the fresh plant, finely cut, has been mixed with bran and molasses and given 2 times daily.

In China the seeds are dried, then roasted and used as a coffee substitute.
Has been cooked like spinach.

The infusion has been used for dandruff and scaly scalp.
A wash of the infusion has been used to remove freckles.

The root is used to produce a red to pink dye.

The ancient Greeks matted it together to make a sieve. Likewise, it has also been done in Sweden where it was used to strain milk.

©2000 & 2006 by Ernestina Parziale, CH