Clivers and Marigold are discussed together on this page as they are often combined both for the best effect and in commercial products. Calendula (Pot Marigold) alone is discussed elsewhere.
Clivers (Cleavers) – Galium Aparine
The Clivers plant, sometimes written as Cleavers, and colloquially knows as Goosegrass, grows abundantly on hedgebanks, waste ground, cornfields and shingle.
It is found throughout the cold temperate regions of Northern Europe and Northern America.
The Anglo Saxon called Clivers, ‘hedgerife’, meaning a tax-gatherer or robber due to the fine bristles catching onto clothes, as you pass by. This sticky annual has straggling soft growth up to 2ft tall, covered in fine bristles to catch onto passers-by. The leaves are lanceolate about ½ inch long and ¼ inch broad, arranged in whorls of six or eight together. The flowers in small stalked clusters of two or three spring from the axils of the leaves, they are small star-like, white or greenish-white in colour.
What Are The Medical Benefits Of Clivers And Marigold?
Clivers and Marigold help both the lymphatic and the digestive systems.
Clivers is an excellent lymphatic tonic and detoxifier, diuretic, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory due to its gallon content, and as a mild astringent. It is rich in minerals especially calcium, sodium, iodine, and copper. Further details of its constituents can be found here.
Think of Clivers as green iodine for all lymphatic swelling, lymphangitis, suppressed urine, or as part of an overall Detox formula.
It improves lymphatic drainage so is used to reduce fluid in the legs, and the associated swelling. Clivers and Marigold are often used for horses on box rest or requiring restricted grazing.
Lymphatic improvements can also improve hoof health.
Compression bandages are also used in conjunction with the nutritional support from Clivers and Marigold herbs to reduce swelling.
It has also been reported to have been effective on windgalls and lymphangitis, along with the appropriate veterinary treatment.
Feeding Clivers and Marigold
For those busy horse owners without access, or time to gather fresh Clivers,. There are horse supplements containing Cleavers available. These are often combined with Marigold, which are regarded as complementary herbs.
There is a general assumption that Clivers and Marigold will be fed together, given that they are complementary herbs.
Typically one would feed approx 30g/day to a 500kg horse.
A Word Of Caution
Clivers is a potent diuretic and should not be used for horses suffering from insulin resistance or laminitis due to excessive sugars in the blood, as this will cause a higher concentration of sugar in the blood and worsen the condition.
Because Clivers is a potent diuretic exceeding the recommended dose could cause dehydration. Yes, your horse can have too much Clivers.
Feeding Clivers to Your Horse
Below is some further information if you need to feed Clivers alone, and particularly if there is an abundant natural supply locally.
However, it has to be said that most busy horse owner might find the “DIY” approach too much hassle. Also, there is comfort in using a commercially prepared product with clear feeding instructions, and sometimes some telephone support if you are uncertain.
Grow Your Own?
Horses instinctively seek this herb out, eagerly devouring the young shoots so you could consider planting Clivers along the hedge line.
To establish Clivers in a new or established hedgerow, harvest the wild seeds in September and plant along the hedge line for early spring growth. Cleavers once established will be there forever!
Clivers can be harvested from the onset of flowering in May through to September. Medicinally only the aerial parts (everything above ground), not the roots are used. In Europe, Cleavers is wild harvested for medicinal purposes.
Clivers As A Tonic
Clivers alone makes an excellent tonic for all lymphatic problems especially following viral infections such as strangles. Combine with other lymphatic and detoxifying herbs as a lymph cleanser.
Juice: Liquidize or pulp the fresh plant into juice. Give 30 mls of juice per 100kgs, 150mls per 500kgs. Twice daily over feed or dilute with an equal amount of (previously boiled) cooled water and syringe down throat.
Dried: Use dried Cleavers 5 to 10 grams per 75 kilos body weight. Not as strong as the fresh juice or tincture, but can be used to good effect for urinary problems.
We have said this above, but again please note that you should not overfeed Clivers.