The irony of cleavers is perfect.

A plant whose sticky, bendable tendrils will grab the pant leg of any passerby is the same plant whose benefits both physically and energetically clear out the non-beneficial parts of ourselves. Derived from an Olde English word meaning “to cleave” loosely meaning “to cling or latch onto”, Cleavers are an auspicious, hearty springtime plant, slyly shooting up near water and weaving their way through other plants and crops, encouraging the cleansing of our bodies and souls.

The fresh Cleaver is the most potent for its internal and topical healing properties, used in a tincture or infusion (as well as a topical poultice for skin irritations), and the dried cleavers have been used throughout history from being a coffee substitute to stuffing the inside of mattresses. From western and Chinese medicine to Shamanism and multicultural folklore, Cleavers have had quite the presence in human history.  In an energetic sense, connected to spirituality and dream space, Cleavers urge us to release and let go of our parts that are no longer needed, patterns and stories that no longer serve a purpose in our lives. Physically, this crafty earth creation is helpful for the cleansing and detoxifying of the kidneys, liver and most importantly, the lymphatic system.

A useful diuretic, this green goddess offers a way for the body to free itself from harmful toxin build up and clear the bloodstream for optimal immune health. She is especially beneficial for clearing cysts and edema, offering relief to the imbiber with the promise of less pain and swelling.  This last year with the pandemic and delving deep into our human history of inequality and oppression, we as a collective have much to release and heal from.  From the physical traumas and sedentary lifestyles to the anguish and heartaches, now is an excellent time to introduce Cleavers to your world.

The Cleavers' Word

The Cleavers’ Word

The Cleavers’ Word


  • 3/4 oz. gin
  • 3/4 oz. Maraschino liqueur
  • 1 oz. Green Chartreuse
  • 3 or 4 fresh Cleaver shoots
  • 5 or 6 Cleveland (or culinary) Sage leaves
  • 3/4 oz. Meyer lemon juice
  • Fresh Cleavers or Sage leaf for garnish

Preparation: Muddle fresh plant material in mixing tin. Add spirits and citrus. Fill with ice and shake with intent. Double strain into “up” glass of choice. Let 2 cleavers intertwine around the glass for garnish and/or drop a fresh sage leaf in the cocktail for added cleansing benefit. Imbibe, cleanse and release!