Sticky Willy or Cleavers?
Who is old enough to remember the fun you had with Sticky-Willy? I certainly am and my sister and I used to roll in it to see who could get the most on them! Ah…the innocence of youth! We would spend hours outdoors, playing in the woods and in old WW2 bunkers around the area we lived in. We only went home when we had to eat or knew we would get in trouble for being late if it was getting dark. When we needed the loo….well we used the great outdoors. Toilet roll? Who needs that when you have an abundance of Dock Leaves to hand. ? Dig a hole, do your business, wipe, cover and go! Those were the good old days…
The Boring Science Bit!
The Latin name for Sticky Willy or Cleavers is Galium Aparine and they belong to the Rubiaceae family. You may also know them as the coffee, madder or bedstraw family of plants. Oh…and one more thing…it’s an annual winter plant. You’ll find this would be a great time to dry the plant for future use. And yes, you can make coffee from its roots. ?
What Did You Say Your Name Was?
This wild herb has gained so many nomenclatures over the years that I couldn’t possibly name them all. And, if you dig deep enough, you’ll find that the plants originally earned their name from the Old English words, “to cleave,” which means “to latch onto.” That said, here are some of the names you might recognise them by: sticky willy, sticky willow, grip grass, catchweed, goosegrass, mutton chops and barweed. Believe me, there are many more. I guess your name for this herb depends very much on where you live in the world…
Sticky Willy or Cleavers Uses
Sticky-Willy is a powerhouse of a herb and was my absolute favourite learning experience whilst on my herbal course. As far as I knew kids played with it and gardeners disregarded it as a common weed…right? Well, it turns out, I couldn’t be more wrong…
Conditions That Cleavers Help:
- Swollen Glands
- Water Retention
- Skin Irritations
- Urinary Infections
- Kidney Stones
- Cleanser for Lymphatic System
How To Make a Tincture
A “Sticky Willy or Cleaver” tincture couldn’t be easier to make. What you need to do is grab yourself handfuls of the young plants or the tips of older ones (known as harvesting). Rinse them in cold water, cut them up and fill up an old jam jar (make sure you sterilise it). Next, you need to cover the cleavers with vodka. If you want to, you can use apple cider vinegar or glycerine instead of vodka. Whatever liquid you decide to use, the technical name for it is ‘menstruum’. If you decide to use dry sticky willy, use a 1 part herb in grs/5 part liquid in mls.
Once you’ve done all of the above, leave the sticky willy mixture to sit for 4 – 6 weeks in a warm, dark place. Make sure you give it a good shake every few days. The tincture is done when it takes on a warm, rich colour. Next, you strain the liquid into a sterilised jar, (you could use a coffee filter). Make sure you seal the jar tightly and label with the herb, menstruum and date made. As you use more of your herb tincture , pour it into smaller bottles as you don’t want too much oxygen to hit the tincture.
Administering Your Cleavers Tincture
I take my sticky willy tincture in 20-30 drops, 3 times a day from a glass dropper. However, if your condition is chronic you can take the tincture every 1/2 hr. I find it’s best to seek advice from a Herbal Practitioner before doing so. If, like me, you find this tincture a bit bitter, you can add it to water or fruit juice to make it more palatable. Of course, if you don’t like the idea of a tincture, just add some dry or fresh cleavers to your favourite winter tea.
I hope you enjoyed today’s post on “Sticky Willy or Cleavers”. If you really can’t be bothered making a tincture, you can buy one right here. All that I have left to say is…Have a great week. Don’t forget to subscribe. And leave your comments below! If you celebrate Christmas… I hope you have a wonderful time and that you’ve been good for Santa. ??
Love Susan & Caber