One of the most exciting parts of learning about natural remedies for me has been the discovery of new, unexpected plants and herbs in the wild.
In recent years, I began foraging wild plants for the first time, and one of my favorites is one that is often overlooked because of its diminutive size and relative lack of distinguishing features.
This plant is sometimes used in tinctures, balms, and teas, and is well known among herbalists for its ability to support a healthy lymph system and kidneys.
The herb is the cleaver, a relatively tiny and leafy green plant that is renowned by herbalist for its cleansing and detoxifying properties when taken consistently.
Cleavers are best found in the spring and early summer time. They eventually die out in the heat of summer but usually stick around for a few weeks until temperatures become too high and the sunshine becomes too intense.
A few years back, I began foraging for morel mushrooms here in Michigan, and found plenty of these tiny green, leafy herbs instead. Some pictures are shown below.
They can be hard to find to the untrained eye. Cleavers are identified by clusters of four to eight whorls (leaf arrangements) at the end of each stem.
Cleavers climb other plants in the forest, including rocks, trees, and similar items.
Cleavers for Cleansing
The lymphatic system is a network of “nodes,” tissues and organs that help the body to cleanse itself of waste. It stores potentially harmful toxins until they can be safely removed.
Cleavers are one of several herbs that can help the body to flush out toxins from this system. They improve the lymphatic system’s ability to relieve itself of congestion and help to stop the body from swelling or becoming bloated.
If you want a more slimmed down appearance, adding cleavers to your diet routine or a cream or balm containing cleavers can make a dramatic difference.
Cleavers for Kidney Health
Cleavers act as a diuretic, helping to flush out waste, toxins, and excess fluids from the kidneys as well.
Diuretic herbs like cleavers help to release sodium into the urine and prevent the accumulation of minerals that may form kidney stones over time.
Additional Benefits of Cleavers
Cleavers have a traditional use for UTIs (urinary tract infections). They instill a calming effect to an inflamed urethra (the tube that empties urine from the bladder). Cleavers are recommended by health researchers for acute or chronic cystitis with swollen lymph nodes and uterine inflammation.
These herbs can also protect the lining of the bladder against irritation which can lead to an overactive bladder.
A healing balm created by a naturopathic doctor of over 20 years,
This organic balm helps prevent adrenal fatigue, energizes, and cleanses the entire body
Cleavers recipes to check out:
-Cleavers tea recipe (click here)
-A cold infusion (see recipe here)
-Preserved cleaver juice (recipe here)
-Cleaver soup (see recipe here)
-Cleaver essential oil (more info here)
-A Coffee substitute (see here)
They are also known by the following names:
Cleavers are also great for the following purposes:
-Urinary Tract Infections (UTIs)
-Used by Native American tribes as a remedy for gonorrhea
Cleavers have diuretic (increased production of urine) properties, and are traditionally used in Chinese medicine to reduce or eliminate stagnation within the human body.
Watch a video recipe for a healing, detoxifying and cleansing cleavers soup in the player below:
Other Herbs for Lymph System Health
Aside from cleavers, there are several other herbs that can be foraged or purchased online or at the health food store to cleanse the body and improve lymph health.
-Cat’s Claw Herb (learn more here)
-Stinging Nettle leaf (best taken in a tea like this one)
-Butcher’s Broom (for cardiovascular and circulatory health; also helps with lymphedema)
-Dandelion root (liver cleansing and mineral-rich; excellent in salads)