Med Plant Data Base


Moldo-german project 10.820.09.09GA
«Evaluation of the pharmaceutic potential
of medicinal plants from natural habitats from Republic of Moldova


Galium aparine

KINGDOM: Plantae » Class: Magnoliopsida » Order: Rubiales » Family: Rubiaceae

Galium aparine


Galium aparine


Kingdom: Plantae

Class: Magnoliopsida

Order: Rubiales

Family: Rubiaceae

Genus: Galium

Species: G. aparine

Plant description

This native annual plant is
about 1-3' long and unbranched, except where the flowers occur. It has a weak
central stem with whorls of 6-8 leaves that are rather widely separated from
each other. Both the central stem and leaves have stiff hairs that point
downward; this enables the plant to cling to adjacent vegetation for support.
The central stem is 4-angled and furrowed. Short secondary stems often
develop from the upper half of the central stem; they terminate in small
cymes of flowers. The leaves are up to 3" long and ¼"
across. They are linear-oblong, smooth along the margins (except for stiff
hairs), and sessile. Each leaf has a single central vein along its length.
Above the upper whorls of leaves, single flowers and/or small cymes of 2-3
flowers are produced. Sometimes panicles of cymes are produced, although the
total number of flowers remains small. At the base of each cyme, there are
1-4 secondary leaves (or leafy bracts); they are smaller than the whorled
leaves of the central stem. Each flower is about 1/8" across. It
consists of 4 white petals with pointed tips, 4 stamens, 2 styles, and a pair
of green carpels that are joined together at the base of the flower. The
sepals are tiny and insignificant. The carpels are covered with stiff hooked
hairs and have a bur-like appearance; together, they are about ¼"
across when fully developed. The blooming period occurs from late spring to
mid-summer and lasts about 1-2 months. After the petals fall off, the carpels
eventually turn brown. Each carpel contains a single greyish brown seed that
is notched on one side. The root system is branching and shallow. This plant
spreads by reseeding itself.

A centuries-old treatment for skin diseases and blood purification,
cleavers is still a popular "spring cleansing" tonic. Culpeper
recommended it as a good remedy "to cleanse the blood and strengthen the
liver, thereby to keep the body in health, and fitting it for that change of
season that is coming". It is native to Europe, where it grows in moist
waste places. A trailing annual, it has leaves and stems covered in fine
hooks that cling to anything they touch.

Diffusion area

A common hedgerow plant
throughout Britain, Europe, Canada, the eastern half of the USA and the
Pacific coast of that continent


The species inhabits fields and
pastures, occurring in abundance in humid, fertile, and rich limy soils,
including fresh argillaceous and loamy soils. In the zone of irrigated
agriculture, it grows in vineyards, along banks of canals and irrigation
canals, though rarely in fields. Seeds germinate at depths of 8-9 cm or more
at temperatures of +1-2°C. Dry years are less favorable for germinating than
humid ones. Seeds remain viable for 5 years.

Therapeutic actions

Increases urine production;
astringent; stimulates lymphatic drainage. Alterative;  Antiphlogistic;  Aperient; 
Astringent;  Cancer;  Depurative; 
Diaphoretic;  Diuretic;  Febrifuge; 
Homeopathy;  Skin; 

Tonic;  Vulnerary.

Goosegrass has a long history of domestic medicinal use and is also used
widely by modern herbalists. A valuable diuretic, it is often taken to treat
skin problems such as seborrhoea, eczema and psoriasis, and as a general
detoxifying agent in serious illnesses such as cancer. The whole plant, excluding
the root, is alterative, antiphlogistic, aperient, astringent, depurative,
diaphoretic, diuretic, febrifuge, tonic and vulnerary. It is harvested in May
and June as it comes into flower and can be used fresh or dried for later
use. It is used both internally and externally in the treatment of a wide
range of ailments, including as a poultice for wounds, ulcers and many other
skin problems, and as a decoction for insomnia and cases where a strong
diuretic is beneficial. It has been shown of benefit in the treatment of
glandular fever, ME, tonsillitis, hepatitis, cystitis etc. The plant is often
used as part of a spring tonic drink with other herbs. A tea made from the
plant has traditionally been used internally and externally in the treatment
of cancer. One report says that it is better to use a juice of the plant
rather than a tea. The effectiveness of this treatment has never been proved
or disproved. A number of species in this genus contain asperuloside, a
substance that produces coumarin and gives the scent of new-mown hay as the
plant dries. Asperuloside can be converted into prostaglandins (hormone-like
compounds that stimulate the uterus and affect blood vessels), making the
genus of great interest to the pharmaceutical industry. A homeopathic remedy
has been made from the plant. A popular "Spring-cleansing" tonic,
cleavers has been used for centuries to purify the blood and treat skin
disease. The whole herb is now given by herbalists for eczematous rashes,
swollen lymph glands, and urinary tract problems.

Biologically active substances

Iridoid coumarins, including
asperuloside; flavonoids; tannins, citric acid, gallotanic acid.

Indigenous medicinal plants in databases

Talpa gastii – Leonurus cardiaca

 Tataneasa – Symphytum

officinale Lepech.

 Tei – Tilia cordata L.

 Traista ciobanului – Capsella bur

pastoris L.

 Trei frati patati – Viola tricolor L.

 Troscot – Polygonum aviculare L

 Turita – Agrimonia eupatoria L.

 Tintaura – Centaurium

umbellatum Gilib.

 Urzica – Urtica dioica L.

 Verigar – Rhamnus cathartica L.

 Vetrice – Tanacetum vulgare L.

 Vasc – Viscum album L.

 Vinarita – Asperula odorata L.

 Volbura – Convolvulus arvensis L.

 Zmeur – Rubus idaeus L.

Centers, institutes, research labs of medicinal plants

1. Key Laboratory of Chemistry
for Natural Products of Guizhou Province and Chinese Academy of Sciences,
Guiyang, China.

2. University of Lincoln, Faculty of Health, Life and Social Sciences,
Department of Biological Sciences, Brayford Pool, Lincoln

3. BASFAgricultural Center Limburgerhof, Limburgerhof, Germany

4. Vascular plant collection database

5. Prelude Medicinal Plants Database


1. Artokhin K.S. 2004. Atlas of
weed plants. Rostov-na-Donu. 144 p. (in Russian).

2. Bazdyrev G.I., Zotov L.I., Polin V.D. 2004. Weed plants and their
control in modern agriculture. Moscow: MSKHA , 288 p. (in Russian).

3. Chesalin G.A. 1975. Weeds and their control. Moscow: Kolos. 256 p. (in

4. Komarov V.L., ed. 1958. Flora of the USSR. Moscow & Leningrad: AN
SSSR. V. 23, 776 p. (in Russian).

Genetic characteristics

2n=42 chromosomes.

Gathering place (figure should be increased)

Galium aparine
DLE íîâčíęč

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