Substances & Homeopatic Remedies

Galium aparine

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Chemical Constituents---Chlorophyll, starch and three distinct acids, viz. a variety of tannic acid, which has been named galitannic acid, citric acid and a peculiar acid named rubichloric acid.

---Medicinal Action and Uses---Diuretic, tonic, alterative, aperient.

In old Herbals it is extolled for its powers, and it is still employed in country districts, both in England and elsewhere, as a purifier of the blood, the tops being used as an ingredient in rural 'spring drinks.'

Fluid extract: dose, 1/2 to 1 drachm.

Modern herbalists and homoeopaths still recognize the value of this herb, and as an alterative consider it may be given to advantage in scurvy, scrofula, psoriasis and skin diseases and eruptions generally. The expressed juice is recommended, in doses of 3 oz. twice a day, but as it is a rather powerful diuretic, care should be taken that it is not given where a tendency to diabetes is manifested. Its use, however, is recommended in dropsical complaints, as it operates with considerable power upon the urinary secretion and the urinary organs. It is given in obstructions of these organs, acting as a solventof stone in the bladder.

The dried plant is often infused in hot water and drunk as a tea, 1 OZ. of the dried herb being infused to 1 pint of water. This infusion, either hot or cold, is taken frequently in wine-glassful doses.

The same infusion has a most soothing effect in cases of insomnia, and induces quiet, restful sleep.

A wash made from Clivers is said to be useful for sunburn and freckles, a decoction or infusion of the fresh herb being used for this purpose, applied to the face by means of a soft cloth or sponge.

The herb has a special curative reputation with reference to cancerous growths and allied tumours, an ointment being made from the leaves and stems wherewith to dress the ulcerated parts, the expressed juice at the same time being used internally.

Clivers was also used as an ointment for scalds and burns in the fourteenth century, under the name of Heyryt, Cosgres, Clive and Tongebledes (Tonguebleed), the latter doubtless from its roughness due to the incurved hooks all over the plant.

It was later used for colds, swellings, etc., the whole plant being rather astringent, and on account of this property being of service in some bleedings, as well as in diarrhoea. Clivers tea is still a rural remedy for colds in the head.

The crushed herb is applied in France as a poultice to sores and blisters.

Gerard writes of Clivers as a marvellous remedy for the bites of snakes, spiders and all venomous creatures, and quoting Pliny, says: 'A pottage made of Cleavers, a little mutton and oatmeal is good to cause lankness and keepe from fatnesse.'

Culpepper recommends Clivers for earache.

The plant contains starch, chlorophyll and three distinct acids: Galitannic acid, citric acid and rubichloric acid. Resources say to use this herb as a cold remedy and a diuretic (which means to increase the urine flow) and that it is a soothing solution for insomnia if drank before bedtime. As cleavers act as a diuretic I would have to assume you sleep peacefully between trips to the bathroom. The same tea, when cooled and applied to the face, is reputed to be a good sunburn relief, remove freckles and make the complexion clear.

Medicinal Uses:  

Goosegrass has a long history of domestic medicinal use and is also used widely by modern herbalists. A valuable diuretic, it is often taken to treat skin problems such as seborrhoea, eczema and psoriasis, and as a general detoxifying agent in serious illnesses such as cancer[254]. The whole plant, excluding the root, is alterative, antiphlogistic, aperient, astringent, depurative, diaphoretic, diuretic, febrifuge, tonic and vulnerary[4, 7, 9, 21, 165, 218, 222]. It is harvested in May and June as it comes into flower and can be used fresh or dried for later use[4, 238]. It is used both internally and externally in the treatment of a wide range of ailments, including as a poultice for wounds, ulcers and many other skin problems[4, 7, 244], and as a decoction for insomnia and cases where a strong diuretic is beneficial[4]. It has been shown of benefit in the treatment of glandular fever, ME, tonsilitis, hepatitis, cystitis etc[238]. The plant is often used as part of a spring tonic drink with other herbs[4]. A tea made from the plant has traditionally been used internally and externally in the treatment of cancer[4, 218, 222]. One report says that it is better to use a juice of the plant rather than a tea[254]. The effectiveness of this treatment has never been proved or disproved[7]. A number of species in this genus contain asperuloside, a substance that produces coumarin and gives the scent of new-mown hay as the plant dries[238]. Asperuloside can be converted into prostaglandins (hormone-like compounds that stimulate the uterus and affect blood vessels), making the genus of great interest to the pharmaceutical industry[238]. A homeopathic remedy has been made from the plant[7].