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Goosegrass Su B

Photo copyright D & S Books

The cool wet spring has given us a bumper crop of goosegrass this year. You might know it as cleavers, or sticky willie, from its habit of sticking to clothes or animal fur.

Later on, there will be little green burrs that you have to pick out of your socks after a walk. Its Latin name is Galium aparine, and if you think it’s just a bit of a nuisance, think again.

It’s one of those vigorous weeds that I was talking about last week, that spring up everywhere at this time of year. The name ‘goosegrass’ is thought to come from the fact that geese love to graze on it, and it’s a good source of vitamin C at a time when fresh fruit and vegetables are yet to appear

Herbalists value it for its cleansing properties; it is gently stimulating to the liver and kidneys, getting things moving after the sluggishness of winter, and helps to encourage your lymphatic system into action. If you have suffered from winter infections this year, goosegrass will help to bring you back to full health and put a spring in your step.

The best way to use it is either to juice it together with apple or carrots or something that will add bulk, or you can make a cold infusion. To do this, collect a good quantity, chop it up and cover it with cold water overnight.

Strain it in the morning, and drink it by itself – it tastes of pure life energy! – or add to a juice or smoothie.

EDITOR: Su has an excellent herb handbook which can be purchased via her website or from Amazon.

Meet The Author...
Su Bristow
Who Am I?
I studied at the School of Herbal Medicine for four years, and qualified in 1989, becoming a member of the National Institute of Medical Herbalists ( The road to herbal medicine led from my early interest in organic gardening and healthy eating, through the study of social and physical anthropology at Cambridge, where I specialised in medical anthropology. What fascinated me was how people deal with their health problems when they have only the natural resources around them, and their own ingenuity. I went on to learn massage and reflexology, and worked at a residential naturopathic clinic, where I learned about the use of diet and other natural ways of healing. After qualifying as a herbalist, I set up practice in mid-Devon. Since then I have continued to expand my expertise, with counselling skills, first aid, and knowledge of the Chinese and Ayurvedic systems of herbal medicine. Besides one-to-one consultation, I have also taught evening classes, students of the Westcountry Massage Association, and various private courses.
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