Just finished gathering and preparing some exceptionally lush cleavers and nettle tops.
After a good few hours – oil-stained black fingers and nails to prove it – I now have 6 litres of tincture gently macerating in my herb room. The air is filled with a pungent, fresh-plant aroma. These indispensable medicinal plants are among the first I gather in the spring, for tincturing. Cleavers and nettles are some of the best cleansing ‘herbs’ that we have, perfect for a spring detox, and to fortify the immune system. Cleavers specifically work on the lymphatic system, and commonly appear in my herbal mixes for people with cancer. You can use them fresh, as well.
I recommended them to a neighbour, who had just been diagnosed with prostrate cancer and was about to start radiotherapy, when we went into lockdown and his treatment was put on hold. He’s now drinking a daily blend of (self-picked) cleavers and nettle tops in smoothies (they lose their sting when liquidised), with some fruit or veg to improve the flavour. Nettles and cleavers aren’t to everyone’s taste! You can also make a tea with the fresh plants, or soup (nettles also lose their sting when cooked). Or add chopped cleavers to a salad.