The lymphatic system is a network of tissues and organs that help rid the body of toxins, waste and other unwanted materials. Its primary function is to transport lymph, a fluid containing infection-fighting white blood cells, throughout the body.
Cleavers enhances the function of the lymphatic system and improves its ability to flush out toxins, decrease congestion and reduce swelling.1
The lymph-cleansing action of this herb in turn enhances the function of the immune system. Cleavers is the ultimate springtime herb and starts to appear when sluggish immune systems are in need of a boost.
The diuretic action of Cleavers helps to flush out waste, toxins and excess fluid from the kidneys. When blood flow to the kidneys declines due to illness, they respond by retaining water, which is why diuretic herbs can be useful.
Diuretic herbs help the kidneys release excess sodium into the urine and can prevent the build up of other minerals that can cause kidney stones if left unchecked.
If you have a pre-existing kidney condition it is vital that you speak to your healthcare provider before using diuretic herbs.
Various studies have confirmed the hepatoprotective effect of Cleavers. It not only protects the liver from damage, it helps it to heal with its cleansing properties. Cleavers also stimulates bile production and prevents bile ducts from becoming clogged.
Urinary Tract Infections (UTI’s)
With a long history of traditional use for UTI’s, Cleavers diuretic properties coupled with its soothing, demulcent action make this herb ideal for calming and inflamed urethra. Regular drinking of Cleavers tea can act as a preventative measure for the incidence of recurring UTI’s.
The “Indian Journal of Research in Pharmacy and Biotechnology” published an article about the diagnosis, causes, symptoms and treatments of UTI’s. It recommends Cleavers for acute or chronic cystitis with swollen lymph nodes and uterine inflammation.2
Cleavers can also be useful in protecting the lining of the bladder against irritation which can lead to an overactive bladder.
Folklore and history
Cleavers was once used for bedding material - hence one of its nickname’s "bedstraw". It is thought that Virgin Mary prepared the manger by making a bed of Cleavers in it for baby Jesus.
The stems used to be fashioned into mat that would serve as a sieve, through which fresh milk could be filtered and infused with the health-giving properties of the plant. In some parts of Sweden, this traditional use continues today.
Growing prolifically all over the world, it is not surprising that Cleavers has a rich history of traditional use.
Native American tribes used this herb to promote kidney health and as a remedy for gonorrhoea. It was also sometimes used by Native American women to prevent pregnancy.
In Traditional Chinese Medicine it is used as an anti-inflammatory and to move stagnation. With a strong affiliation for the lymphatic system, Cleavers is also used as a diuretic.
Use 1 cup of boiling water to 2-3 teaspoonfuls of Cleavers.
Leave to infuse for 10-15 minutes. Drink 2-3 times a day for desired effects.
Take up to 2-4ml, up to 3 times a day, or as directed by a Herbal Practitioner.
Cleavers active ingredients include; phenols, tannins, alkaloids, anthraquinones, coumarins, iridoids asperuloside, alkanes, flavonoids and saponins.