Principal Proposed Uses
Other Proposed Uses
The leaves of the cleavers plant ( Galium aparine ) have small hooked hairs that cause it to “cleave” to the fingers when touched, hence the name. The whole leaf has been used as a flavoring in soups and stews. Roasted seeds are used as a coffee substitute. The leaves and flowers are used medicinally. Cleavers is primarily used for urinary problems and fluid retention, on the basis of its apparent diuretic (urine-stimulating) effects. It has also been recommended for enlarged lymph nodes, tonsillitis, hepatitis, and snake bites.
What is Cleavers Used for Today?
Cleavers is often included in herbal mixtures offered for the treatment of kidney and bladder problems, including bladder infections , kidney stones , and prostatitis . It is also said to help “cleanse” the lymph system. However, there has not been any meaningful scientific evaluation of the herb. Even animal and test-tube studies are essentially lacking.
A typical recommended dose of cleavers is one cup of tea three times daily, made by steeping 10–15 grams of the herb in a cup of hot water.
Cleavers has not undergone any meaningful safety testing. Safety in young children, pregnant or nursing women, or people with severe liver or kidney disease has not been established.
In case cleavers does in fact have diuretic effects as claimed, people taking the medication lithium should use cleavers only under the supervision of a physician, as dehydration can be dangerous with this medication. 1
Interactions You Should Know About
If you are taking lithium , do not use cleavers except under the supervision of a physician.
- EBSCO CAM Review Board
- Reviewed: 08/2013
- Updated: 08/22/2013
All EBSCO Publishing proprietary, consumer health and medical information found on this site is accredited by URAC. URAC's Health Web Site Accreditation Program requires compliance with 53 rigorous standards of quality and accountability, verified by independent audits. To send comments or feedback to our Editorial Team regarding the content please email us at HLEditorialTeam@ebscohost.com.
This content is reviewed regularly and is updated when new and relevant evidence is made available. This information is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with questions regarding a medical condition.