It’s early Spring, and while walking the other day, I found one of my favorite early-spring greens … Clivers!

This plant has lots of names – clivers, cleavers, goosegrass, sticky weed, sticky willy … as the name suggests, it’s sticky.  It’s so sticky, that I’m told kids in the UK like to throw it at each other, and laugh hysterically as it’s stuck to each others clothes?  Hmm.  Do kids today still do this?  Unknown.

Anyway, aside from the obvious amusement of sticking this plant to your friends, it’s one of my absolute favorites for an internal spring cleanse.

Clivers is easy to identify, is traditionally used as a lymphatic cleanser and diruetic, and is a super simple spring cleanse remedy.

How easy?  Just put some clivers in room temperature water and let it sit overnight.  Then drink it.  That’s it.  EASY.

But before you get weirded out by the whole idea, let me explain…

We’re talking about using plants for health in this article.  So first, check out my rules for foraging.  Second, remember, I’m not a doctor. Any questions or underlying health concerns?  Talk to your doctor or a qualified herbalist first!

What is clivers?

The official name of clivers is Galium aparine.  (It’s always a good idea to check the latin name of a plant before using it, because the common names often vary by region.)

Clivers has little hooks all over the stem which make it ‘stick’  like velcro to anything which brushes up against it.  You often find clivers growing with nettles (another favorite Spring detox plant!).

Clivers grows pretty much worldwide, so you can probably find it near you!

one of my favorite spring plants
Do you know what this plant is? It’s one of my favorites.

What are the traditional uses of clivers?

Apparently the Chinese eat Clivers as a cooked vegetable, but in Europe, it’s more often used in a tea as a lymphatic cleanser.  In traditional usage, clivers acts as a filter of the lymph and a diruetic, making it useful for a Spring detox, lumps, bumps and swellings, and skin conditions.  Because it’s a diruetic, it’s not recommended for people with diabetes.

Back in the 1600s, Nicholas Culpepper recommended clivers “to keep them lean and lank, that are apt to grow fat.” (The original weight loss tonic, perhaps?)  He also said “It is a good remedy in the Spring…to cleanse the blood, and strengthen the liver, thereby to keep the body in health, and fitting it for that change of season that is coming.”

Anyway, I like clivers because it tastes like Spring.  And it’s a refreshing, simple way to get my body ready for the new season!

How do I use clivers?

My favorite Spring remedy with clivers is a Clivers Cold Infusion.

Take a handful of clivers.  Rinse it off first, if you prefer (to be safe, always pick from “above dog height”!).

fresh clivers: galium aparine

Put it in a glass jar.  Cover completely with filtered water (my jar holds about 1 pint of water).  Put the lid on.  Let it sit at room temperature overnight.

cold clivers infusion : galium aparine

In the morning, strain out the clivers, and drink.

** Don’t drink it all at once, it’s a diruetic.  With herbs, small doses frequently are best.  I like having a 1/2 cup of this clivers cold infusion every few hours throughout the day.

cold clivers infusion - ready to drink

Storage: You could probably keep it in the fridge, covered, for one additional day maximum – but I prefer to make it fresh each day.  We’re trying to capture the fresh essence of the plant … there’s no point in keeping it longer, plus, it might go off!  Fresh is best.


What does it taste like?

It tastes green and fresh.  (But not as green as wheatgrass juice!!! Yikes.)  It’s just a lightly green tasting water, slightly sweet.  It tastes like Spring in a glass to me.

I guess that’s why it’s one of my favorite Spring cleansing remedies!

Have you ever used Clivers as a spring cleanse?  What other kinds of spring cleansing and detoxing remedies do you do?  Would love to hear them in the comments!

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