Cleavers and Nettle Use (kinda long)

batyabethMarch 9, 2011

I know that maybe this should be on the Herbalism forum, but I consider you folks my friends, so........

I have nasty skin issues, and Western medicine can do nothing (been there, done that). So I got some dried stinging nettle, and took just a half a cup of weak tea, as I know some folks have bad reactions. So far so good, and so I will make stronger tea this evening. Half a cup a day, no more, and only on the weekend when I can pee as I need, as at work this would be inconvenient. I am doing a sugar detox all month, no sugar, honey, etc, no white flour, no rice, no potatoes, no dried fruit. A little stevia from the plant a few times a week. Needless to say I am an unhappy camper, but I have got to do something to help myself.

I have have nettle growing all over, and will pick and dry it as soon as it stops raining, before it flowers, as I have read. I also have wild cleavers growing everywhere, and would like to know if anyone can tell me how to make it into a cream for my poor skin. I have read that blending cleavers and straining and drinking the juice is also a big help for detoxing, which is apparently my main problem.

I am being very cautious and not just drinking teas with strong qualities willy-nilly. I have no juicer, and growing wheat grass would be great, but I'd have to use a blender. I am doing as much googling and checking up as I can, but I know that you all know much more that I ever will, and so here I am.

In the garden, the lavenders are surviving, the rue and sages are happy, the wormwood and scented geranium are very happy, the lemon verbena, rosemary and mint are coming back, and the veggie and flower seedlings are slowly starting to poke their little heads up. I have made three new garden beds this winter, and I can't wait to get out there, but this skin stuff and my own detox is my real challenge.

I am grateful for you all.

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fatamorgana2121(Zone 5/6)

Both the naturopath I studied with and various Native American herbalists that I've heard speak talk about what you need most is right around you - some say it's the first thing you see. I must say that through my own experiences, I find that to be true as well. What you need is there growing for you and not some endangered plant from the other side of the planet. If nettle is there for you, perhaps it is what you need.

Nettle is one of the few herbs that I use medicinally. I find it helps to relieve some of the symptoms/takes the edge off my nasal allergies. I would caution not to over do it. It can elevate blood pressure and is a diuretic (it is one of those "pee tea" herbs along with cleavers) as you already know.

I've not done or heard of juicing cleavers but I know people do use it in teas. Teas are a mild way to try to get the benefits of herbs like cleavers. It air dries very well and easily even in my moist climate.

My own biggest "herb" use is through the foods I eat. Many culinary items have great herbal qualities, use those in your foods. Think of onions, garlic, ginger, and so many more foods and seasonings that are truly medicinal herbs. Use them! Many ethnic dishes from around the world make great use of these medicinal foods.

Eat whole foods. Lots of good quality, organic or home-grown if possible, foods - especially fruits, veggies, lean meats, whole grains. Cook from scratch and avoid processed foods. I try to follow Hippocrates' "let food be your medicine and medicine be your food" as much as possible and suggest it to everyone. Combine healthy eating with adequate sleep, water, and exercise and you will give your body and whatever else you are doing to help yourself the best chance for success.

I wish you all the best and hope you find relief.


    Bookmark   March 9, 2011 at 12:24PM
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Thank you, Fata ......But do you know how to make skin cream from cleavers? From my research, I have seen all kinds of "recipes". Last time I was in the states, I pickled up brown pure beeswax, blocks of paraffin, and little bottles of glycerin. I haven't the faintest idea where to get lanolin here, waterless or any other, though I could ask around. Most recipes call for some kind of emulsifying agent or benzoin tincture, which my American books say "can be found in any pharmacy". Not here!

I know enough not to take both cleaver tea and nettle tea in the same week, and to combine them would be overkill (over-pee, actually, and to make sure that any effects can be attributed to only one herb), so I will probably switch off by the week. When you say overdo it, just what does that mean in terms of amount?
I have used the services of herbalists, homeopaths, acupuncturists, etc since the 70's, but I can't afford them here, and I *should* know enough to do a little detoxing all by myself. Anyone with any suggestions would be welcome!

    Bookmark   March 10, 2011 at 8:10AM
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fatamorgana2121(Zone 5/6)

I've never made any salves with cleavers. I regularly do calendula and plantain salves. They are *very* simple. I put the herbs in olive oil and keep in a warm place for about 2 weeks, gently rocking (not a shake!) each day. Some people warm the oil on a stove to speed the process but I like the slower, more gentle approach. Those that I learned the technique from say you should of think about the healing nature of the salve when rocking it each day. Focusing your mind on healing can never be a bad thing so I would suggest that as well.

Strain the herbs/oil in cleesecloth or coffee filters. Coffee filters are much finer and keep more particulates out. Cheesecloth and then coffee filters is my approach.

Warm the oil, just hot enough to melt grated/small pieces of beeswax. Add beeswax until you have the desired consistency - place a drop of the oil/beeswax on a very cold surface and see if that is stiff enough for you. Keep adding beeswax until it is.

I use dried herbs so I don't have spoilage concerns. And if I recall correctly, when you use the fresh herbs you will have to add other ingredients to retard microbial growth but I could be misremembering.

As far as too much nettle, when I get really suffering from allergies, I will drink multiple cups a day of nettle tea. Sometimes too many - yeah, my bad. But since over-the-counter allergy medications cause too many other complications for me, nettle tea is one of my few options and I'll forget myself at times. I don't have blood pressure issues but it will boost my blood pressure if I drink multiple cups (3 or more/day) over a series of days. One to 2 cups/day over any given period has never bothered me but each person is different so make sure to listen to what your body tells you.


    Bookmark   March 10, 2011 at 9:31AM
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