This has got to be one of the most wonderful Spring plants!
Galium aparine grows often with nettle, climbing, crawling and clinging on to other plants and walls with the tiny curved bristles on its stem.
The species name aparine comes from the words ‘to seize’ in ancient Greek reflecting the nature of this plant.
I have fond memories of our eldest son covering himself in Galium, commando style and now I have our youngest helping me gather armfuls from the woods for our annual harvest.
We always save some for our Chickens who cluck with pleasure as they peck away
This is a herb which is better when used fresh so a tincture should be made only with the fresh herb, or it can be made into a juice.
It is worth noting that a masticating juicer is the type to use for this herb as it is very fiberous and centrifugal juicers will complain at best.
I love the yearly ritual of gathering around Spring Equinox time when the land really starts to come alive, walking home with the green fresh aroma. Juicing the fresh green plant is so satisfying.
The fresh clean green juice of Galium aparine
The best way to preserve this wonderful medicine in it’s juice form is to pop into ice cube tray’s, freeze then bag and keep in the freezer for when you need it.
Galium serves us best as a lymphatic herb.
At a basic level, the lymphatic system carries toxins and wastes from the cells and moves them to the organs of elimination (liver, kidney) for excretion.
Signs that your lymphatic system needs some assistance include:
Puffy Fingers and Ankles
As a lymphatic herb it has an affinity with the tonsils which are a major lymphatic organ so is useful where there are inflamed tonsils, tonsillitis as well as enlarged adenoids and swollen lymph glands.
The lymphatic system works very closely with the immune system and as such Galium is a useful herb during infections, it is also diaphoretic which means it promotes sweating and therefore will help to bring a fever down gently and in a supportive manner.
It is an invaluable Kidney & Bladder support and can be invaluable in relieving Cystitis and Urinary Tract Infections ( UTI’s) and is traditionally used for Kidney Stones.
It is my ‘go to’ herb for Glandular Fever and M.E and I have found in clinical practice when taking a case history of a patient with M.E that they have a medical history of a nasty bout of glandular fever, we have the Epstein Barr Virus at the root cause of Glandular fever as well as many cases of Chronic Fatigue and many autoimmune conditions such as Hashimotos Thyroid and MS.
I often consider Galium when treating chronic skin problems such as Excema, Acne & Psoriasis for it’s ‘alterative’ action ( enhancing elimination via lymph, kidney and liver)
The essence of this herb is to purify, to assist detoxification, to move and to cool.
It is a good herb to be taken in spring, to be eaten, chopped small and boiled in gruel to cleanse the blood and strengthen the liver, thereby keeping the body in health, and fitting it for that change of season that is coming
Treat yourself to a mug of refreshing Galium tea as a spring tonic but remember this herb does not like to be heated so grab a handful, crush it up a bit and infuse in cold water with some slices of organic lemon, leave overnight and drink in the morning.
Remember it is diuretic and will promote elimination via the kidneys so be prepared for a few extra trips to the loo!