Cleavers apple and ginger juice preparation


When I feel an infection coming on, which in my case often starts with swollen glands in my neck, the first plant I always reach for is cleavers. Depending on the season, I will use it to make a juice from the fresh young leaves and stems, or a tea from the dried leaves.

Swollen glands are a sign that your body is trying to fight off an infection. Cleavers works on the  lymphatic system and helps to eliminate toxins and reduce inflammation and congestion. When I use it at the first sign of an infection, in nine cases out of 10, cleavers works for me.

CLEAVERS Galium aparine

Cleavers, or Gallium aparine is also known as robin-run-the-hedge, goosegrass and catchweed. Growing up in Ireland, we called it stickybacks. The leaves, stem and seeds have tiny hairs that cause it to stick (or cleave) to clothes or animal fur, and this is how the seeds are dispersed.

This common ‘weed’ is widespread but not very well known for its healing properties. It can be found growing in hedgerows, woodlands and waste ground and is at its best in spring or early summer, before it flowers.


Harvesting fresh cleavers leaves and stems

Harvest cleavers on a dry, sunny morning, after the dew has evaporated. Cut the tender young stems and leaves but avoid pulling the roots.
Wash it well, as its sticky nature means that other plant material or debris may cling to it. You can then use it immediately to make a tea or juice, or dry it for future use.

To dry it, first pat it dry with a clean towel and then allow it to air dry for a few hours, turning it from time to time. When it is completely dry to the touch you can tie it in small bunches to hang in an airy place, or lay it out on a clean towel, turning it occasionally.
When it is completely dry and brittle, after two to three weeks, chop it roughly and store in paper bags or clean jars, out of direct sunlight.


Preparing cleavers apple and ginger smoothie

2 organic apples, chopped
1 knob of fresh root ginger, chopped or grated
Small handful of fresh cleavers tops, roughly chopped
Juice of half a lemon
Spring water


Add the first four ingredients to a Nutribullet or blender. Add enough spring water to cover the chopped ingredients and blend until smooth.
You can strain the resulting smoothie if you would like a clear juice, but I prefer to drink it as it is, so that I benefit from the high fibre content.
This makes enough for two servings. You can store it in the fridge for up to 24 hours.

Cleavers apple and ginger smoothie


If you would like to learn more about how to safely use medicinal herbs to enhance your health and aid with the healing of common ailments, click on the links below to check out my in person and online medicinal herb workshops.

In Person Medicinal Herb Workshop

Online Medicinal Herb Workshop


This information is for educational purposes only and is not intended to replace the advice of a qualified nutritionist or health practitioner.
Never use any wild plant if you are pregnant, have a serious illness or medical condition or are on any medication, without first consulting your medical team.
It is the responsibility of the reader to ensure that any wild plants are 100% correctly identified. If in doubt never use any wild plant for food or medicine.

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