Cleavers is a creeping plant with tiny hairs, clinging leaves, and sticky seeds that cling to passers-by. Found growing around the world, Galium aparine is an herbaceous annual in the Rubiaceae family. Cleavers is also called bedstraw after one of its historical uses as mattress stuffing. While the leaves and stems are eaten fresh on spring salads, dried cleavers herb is commonly tinctured, steeped as tea, or used topically.
The history of cleavers stretches as far back as the Ancient Greeks, who consumed it to counter weariness, whereas country folks have used its creeping, straggling stems to make baskets or sieves.
Cleavers boast several medicinal benefits, the most remarkable ones being their antibacterial and astringent actions. It is popularly used in the treatment of sepsis, as well as for respiratory illnesses and urinary tract infections (UTIs).
Cleavers have been traditionally used to treat a variety of skin ailments, light wounds, and burns.
Traditionally, cleavers have been sought for their diuretic and anti-inflammatory properties and used in folk medicine for a variety of purposes, such as relieving tonsillitis, treating scurvy, reducing fever, and lowering high blood pressure.