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Herbal Information Sheet: Cleavers

April 13, 2020


(Galium aparine)


Excerpted from:

The Earthwise Herbal, A Complete Guide to Old World Medicinal Plants

By Matthew Wood

 “Cleavers has strong affinities to the lymphatics, kidneys, and nervous system.  It assists in the penetration and breakup of fibrous tissue and calcifications in the body for which it is known.  Cleavers has the ability to work calcifications, concretions, and fibrosities out of the tissues (muscles, lymph, kidneys).  It has been used for the removal of gravel and suppression of urine.  Herbs that remove urinary stones also usually remove calcifications in the system.

 “Cleavers is primarily used for lymphatic congestion and in lymphatic conditions where there is evidence of mild warmth and inflammation.  It also acts on the breasts.  It is indicated in breast tissue that is generally fibrous, rather than tissue with scattered cysts or nodularities.

 “Cleavers is a ‘deer medicine’, a category in Native American herbalism associated with the nerves.  It is beneficial in ‘gatherings of the nerves’ and inflammation of the nerve endings (neurofibrositis).  It is indicated for oversensitivity of the nerve endings, tickling and itchy skin.  It is a specific in Dupuytren’s contracture and Morton’s neuroma, when the tendons tighten up under the middle fingers or toes.


SPECIFIC INDICATIONS:  Infectious Mononucleosis, lymphatic swellings under and behind the ears; edema, swelling of the hands and feet; bladder infections with fever, heat, and straining; non-specific cystitis, cloudy urine; fibrocystic breasts with many cysts, fibrous tissue; inflamed prostate; epilepsy; cancer.

 “Cleavers is considered to be entirely nontoxic.”


Excerpted from:

The Herbal Handbook, A User’s Guide to Medical Herbalism

By David Hoffmann

 “Cleavers is perhaps the best tonic to the lymphatic system available.  It would be used in swollen glands anywhere in the body and especially in tonsillitis and in adenoid trouble.  It is widely used in skin conditions, especially in the dry varieties such as psoriasis.  It will be useful in the treatment of cystitis and other urinary conditions where there is pain.  There is a long tradition for the use of Cleavers in the treatment of ulcers and tumours, which may be the result of the lymphatic drainage.”



Cleavers Herb cut

Cleavers Herb liquid extract


Linda Hall

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