A simple, green, (and foraged) drink for spring cleansing!

a gorgeous handful of wild clivers

It’s early Spring, and while walking the other day, I found one of my favorite early-spring greens … Clivers!

This plant has lots of names – clivers, cleavers, goosegrass, sticky weed, sticky willy … as the name suggests, it’s sticky.  It’s so sticky, that I’m told kids in the UK like to throw it at each other, and laugh hysterically as it’s stuck to each others clothes?  Hmm.  Do kids today still do this?  Unknown.

Anyway, aside from the obvious amusement of sticking this plant to your friends, it’s one of my absolute favorites for an internal spring cleanse.

Clivers is easy to identify, is traditionally used as a lymphatic cleanser and diruetic, and is a super simple spring cleanse remedy.

How easy?  Just put some clivers in room temperature water and let it sit overnight.  Then drink it.  That’s it.  EASY.

But before you get weirded out by the whole idea, let me explain…

We’re talking about using plants for health in this article.  So first, check out my rules for foraging.  Second, remember, I’m not a doctor or an herbalist.  I’m just a regular person who likes trying traditional remedies.  Any questions or underlying health concerns?  Talk to your doctor or a qualified herbalist first!

What is clivers?

The official name of clivers is Galium aparine.  (It’s always a good idea to check the latin name of a plant before using it, because the common names often vary by region.)

Clivers has little hooks all over the stem which make it ‘stick’  like velcro to anything which brushes up against it.  You often find clivers growing with nettles (another favorite Spring detox plant!).

Clivers grows pretty much worldwide, so you can probably find it near you!

one of my favorite spring plants

Do you know what this plant is? It's one of my favorites.

What are the traditional uses of clivers?

Apparently the Chinese eat Clivers as a cooked vegetable, but in Europe, it’s more often used in a tea as a lymphatic cleanser.  In traditional usage, clivers acts as a filter of the lymph and a diruetic, making it useful for a Spring detox, lumps, bumps and swellings, and skin conditions.  Because it’s a diruetic, it’s not recommended for people with diabetes.

Back in the 1600s, Nicholas Culpepper recommended clivers “to keep them lean and lank, that are apt to grow fat.” (The original weight loss tonic, perhaps?)  He also said “It is a good remedy in the Spring…to cleanse the blood, and strengthen the liver, thereby to keep the body in health, and fitting it for that change of season that is coming.”

Anyway, I like clivers because it tastes like Spring.  And it’s a refreshing, simple way to get my body ready for the new season!

How do I use clivers?

My favorite Spring remedy with clivers is a Clivers Cold Infusion.

Take a handful of clivers.  Rinse it off first, if you prefer (to be safe, always pick from “above dog height”!).

fresh clivers: galium aparine

Put it in a glass jar.  Cover completely with filtered water (my jar holds about 1 pint of water).  Put the lid on.  Let it sit at room temperature overnight.

cold clivers infusion : galium aparine

In the morning, strain out the clivers, and drink.

** Don’t drink it all at once, it’s a diruetic.  With herbs, small doses frequently are best.  I like having a 1/2 cup of this clivers cold infusion every few hours throughout the day.

cold clivers infusion - ready to drink

Storage: You could probably keep it in the fridge, covered, for one additional day maximum – but I prefer to make it fresh each day.  We’re trying to capture the fresh essence of the plant … there’s no point in keeping it longer, plus, it might go off!  Fresh is best.


What does it taste like?

It tastes green and fresh.  (But not as green as wheatgrass juice!!! Yikes.)  It’s just a lightly green tasting water, slightly sweet.  It tastes like Spring in a glass to me.

I guess that’s why it’s one of my favorite Spring cleansing remedies!


Have you ever used Clivers as a spring cleanse?  What other kinds of spring cleansing and detoxing remedies do you do?  Would love to hear them in the comments!

14 Responses to A simple, green, (and foraged) drink for spring cleansing!

  1. John Martin says:

    Sticky weed tea is a very good memory aid; if you drink it hot and fresh it is fizzy! This did not impress my children who hated the taste, but did very well in their exams.

  2. Catherine Nile says:

    I steamed it and then blitzed it in the nutri-bullet, strained the liquid and added butter – yum!

  3. My wife just gave me a glass of clivers fresh from the juicer (greenstar twin gear). She added apple into the mix. Very green. Very tasty. 4 apples and enough goose grass to make about 600ml, in case anyone fancies giving it a go.

  4. […] if you’re up for a forage – you can try my very favorite spring drink – clivers cold infusion.  Or good old nettle tea (really nice mixed with […]

  5. […] The sticky insides of rosehips can also be used as a severe itching powder (apparently great fun for British kids, right up there with throwing bits of sticky weed at each other.) […]

  6. […] Do you know what this plant is? It’s one of my favorites. [Update: it's Clivers.  Try it in this Clivers Detox Infusion.] […]

  7. Treay says:

    I’m so pleased to have discovered your site, so interesting!
    BTW, it’s “diuretic”.

  8. […] recipe was a last minute light supper for us over the weekend.  I was out picking more clivers for my detox infusion, and came across a massive patch of stinging nettles.  So I picked some, and instead of making […]

  9. AJ says:

    I made my first batch of tea today, I’ve been drinking sticky will tea for years now, every spring/early summer. I let it steep in hot water and drink warm…I’ve never tried soaking it overnight. I have lymphatic issues and I honestly can’t say whether it really helps. It does taste delicious and refreshing though, especially if you like asparagus. To me, that’s exactly what it tastes like!

  10. Thursday says:

    My sister still throws this at people and laughs hysterically. She’s in her early 50’s.

  11. Peggy says:

    I pull this stuff (aka weed) out of my garden; I had no idea it had a useful purpose! I will try it when I find some this spring.
    And, thanks for the bright, colorful green photos – everything is still very brown here.