Cleavers & Marigold

Clivers – Galium Aparine

Common names: Cleavers, Goose-grass, Clives. Its Old English name was Catch-weed or Scratch-weed.

Habitat: A rampant plant that is found in field and hedgerows throughout Europe.

Part used: Leaf and stem, fresh and dried. It is distinguished by its hairy leaves and barber stems which will cling on to anything in its reach.

Actions of Clivers: Diuretic, astringent, aperient, alterative, tonic.

Clivers is an excellent herb for supporting and toning the lymphatic system; it is specific for urinary infections such as cystitis and enlarged lymph glands. It is rich in silica and as such will help strengthen coat and hair. It can be used for any soft swelling and fluid retention; being mildly diuretic it is particularly good for windgalls or filled legs.

Clivers is a much-maligned plant, and one that is hated by farmers because of it rampant and choking nature. However, it has a great deal to offer the horse owner. If given the opportunity, horses will eat large quantities of this herb straight from the hedgerow. The fresh form can be given to horses with filled legs, and it is particularly good for laminitic ponies as it can be cut and thrown into their ‘lean’ paddocks for them to chew on. Mixed in equal quantities with Calendula it is the best combination of herbs for supporting the lymphatic system.

It is interesting that the homeopathic remedy ‘silica’ is used to encourage elimination of any ‘foreign bodies’ that may have worked their way into the horse’s system, such as grit, dirt, thorns etc. By coincidence silica rich Clivers have been found to be excellent in these cases as well.

(Above: Hilton Herbs Cleavers herb)

Calendula – Calendula officinalis

Common names: Marigold, Pot Marigold, Marybud, Gold-bloom.

Habitat: Native to Egypt and the Mediterranean and a common garden

Part used: Petals and flower heads.

Actions of Calendula: Astringent, anti-inflammatory, vulnerary, antiseptic, antifungal, cholagogue, antiviral.

Calendula was traditionally used for horses as a blood tonic, and for stressed or fretful animals. Calendula is now more widely known and used for skin, gastric and urinary complaints. It contains essential oil and pro-vitamin A. Calendula tincture or extract is used in ointments and creams for cuts, bruises, burns and ulcers. It is used internally for gastric ulcers and inflammation and being rich in sulphur has excellent blood-cleansing and antifungal actions. Combined with Clivers (Cleavers) in equal proportions it is an excellent herb for the lymphatic and urinary system.

(Above: Hilton Herbs Calendula (marigold) flowers)


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