Cleavers – Goosegrass – Stickyweed

Cleavers starts growing again in February.  Children (and some adults) stick it to each others clothes and hair.


Growing in abundance throughout Britain, it is one of the finest medicinal herbs and not bad in the pot.


We use the whole green plant above ground (before seeding) in stews. Chop it up to avoid stringyness and don’t carry it for more than a day as it wilts very quickly and loses it’s vibrancy.

It isn’t the most tasty of pot herbs, but is one of the healthiest. Mix it with some stock or wild garlic (ramsons) to give it some flavour. Cook for about 5-8 minutes. Don’t eat raw, it gets stuck in the throat.

Try experimenting with frying it in butter, adding some water at the end just to soften it up.


As medicine, Cleavers is a purifying tonic, cleansing the blood, the lymphatic system and our internal workings generally. Make a healthful tea with a small handful of fresh herb and boiling water, leave to steep for 10-15 mins then drain and drink.

More specific effects are the reduction of swollen glands, ulcers and tumours.

small-cleavers-closer-pluckley-27209If you crush the plant into a pulp (or chew it)  you can apply the juice to blisters, cold sores, burns and to wounds to stop the bleeding.

The tea makes a good skin wash.

Avoid taking this plant internally if you are diabetic.


4 Responses to “Cleavers – Goosegrass – Stickyweed”

  1. It can be a great nuisance in my garden which is semi-woodland. It gets between a Rosa Kiftsgate and a stone wall where there are also clematis plants. Pulling out the Cleavers has dangers as it is so easy to pull out a stem of clematis with it. In these sorts of situations one has to balance outcomes and so I generally leave it alone if it is near to the clematis. It is a very persistent weed as it seeds so easily, and is rarely eradicated just by removing top growth.

  2. John says:

    Great, I was not aware that it had such excellent properties or that it was edible. I have been furious with it since it mangled and twisted a new Rosemary plant I had introduced the year before.

  3. Reece says:

    Thanks for the great info . . . I have a lot of this growing my back yard. Can you help me out and tell me the best way to make tea with it? I just tried what seemed natural: picked a decent amount, kinda crushed it up a bit, then steeped in boiling water for a bit. Is that good enough, you think?

    (I did read what you said above about it, but I guess I’m just wondering whether it oughta be crushed up or not).


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