We want to encourage you to go out in your back yards and find some cleavers: Galium Aparine. Right now, its a great wild edible, using the small leaves and some of the stalk, but as it ages it will get more hairy and less appetizing. This is one of those herbs best used fresh, so juicing is recommended as well as fresh teas or even put it into a smoothy. One could also make a syrup to save it through the winter.

Cleavers promote lymphatic flow and helps rid the lymphatic system of metabolic waste so it’s a great remedy for swollen glands, adenoid problems, tonsillitis, and earaches. Because of its effects on the lymph, traditionally it has a reputation for helping to shrink tumors and for removing nodular growths on the skin. As a diuretic, cleavers would be a great additive to any formula to help with water retention or uric acid excretion.

It reduces heat and irritation in the urinary tract and when mixed with other herbs has been said to do well with preventing kidney stones.

One can crush the plant and make it into a poultice to apply to the skin for  rash, sores, blisters, burns and any hot inflammations of the skin.

Have fun finding this plant. It may find you first.

Ground Ivy

Glechoma hederacea is originally from Europe. It is in the Lamiaceae family (Mints). It is considered an invasive plant (although why would anyone consider such a powerful medicinal unwanted???), and grows in most temperate zones, and is one of the first spring plants to flower.

Medicinally, it is a powerhouse! One of it’s very unique properties is Luteolin which is antiviral (modern medicines virtually have nothing that fights viruses), making it very specific for colds and flu. It is also an expectorant, anti inflammatory and antioxidant.

  • Herbalists consider this plant to be specific for Hot/damp (infection) lung conditions. Mucus will be thick, yellow or green.
  • David Winston uses it for infections with persistent coughing (sound like this year’s super cold!) and allergic rhinitis, sinusitis.

I find it very interesting taking Doctrine of Signatures into consideration, the leaflets look a bit like the lung system.

P.S. Topically, Ground Ivy can be made into a poultice for insect bites, bruises, and active herpes lesions.

Ground Ivy Tea for Colds

(Herbalists are fond of using parts instead of specific measurements. Parts are useful way to maintain ratios.)

1p. of dried Ground ivy

1p. Licorice root

1 p. Yarrow flower

1/2p. Chamomile

1/4p. sage

1 Tbs per 6-8 oz of boiling water. Steep 10 minuets, add local wildflower honey. Drink 2-3 times daily while acute.