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The leaves of the cleavers plant ( Galium aparine) have small hooked hairs that cause it to “cleave” to the fingers when touched, hence the name. The whole leaf has been used as a flavoring in soups and stews. Roasted seeds are used as a coffee substitute. The leaves and flowers are used medicinally. Cleavers is primarily used for urinary problems and fluid retention, on the basis of its apparent diuretic (urine-stimulating) effects. It has also been recommended for enlarged lymph nodes, tonsillitis, hepatitis, and snake bites.
A typical recommended dose of cleavers is one cup of tea three times daily, made by steeping 10–15 grams of the herb in a cup of hot water.