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Uses

Toxic parts

The sap of the plant can cause contact dermatitis in sensitive people[1].

Edible uses

Notes

The tender young shoot tips - raw or cooked as a pot-herb[2][3][4][5][6][7][8]. A rather bitter flavour that some people find unpalatable[9], they are best used in the spring[10]. They make a useful addition to vegetable soups[3][9]. It is said that using this plant as a vegetable has a slimming effect on the body[11].

The roasted seed is a coffee substitute[12][4][6]. One of the best substitutes, it merely needs to be dried and lightly roasted and has much the flavour of coffee[13][14][8].

A decoction of the whole dried plant gives a drink equal to tea[12][13].

Unknown part

Leaves

Material uses

A red dye is obtained from a decoction of the root[13][3][15]. When ingested it can dye the bones red[13].

The dried plant is used as a tinder[16]. The plant can be rubbed on the hands to remove pitch (tar)[16].

The stems are placed in a layer 8cm or more thick and then used as a sieve for filtering liquids[13][14][7].

Medicinal uses(Warning!)

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[17].

The whole plant, excluding the root, is alterative, antiphlogistic, aperient, astringent, depurative, diaphoretic, diuretic, febrifuge, tonic and vulnerary[13][3][18][19][20][21][1]. It is harvested in May and June as it comes into flower and can be used fresh or dried for later use[13][11]. 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[13][3][9], and as a decoction for insomnia and cases where a strong diuretic is beneficial[13]. It has been shown of benefit in the treatment of glandular fever, ME, tonsillitis, hepatitis, cystitis etc[11]. The plant is often used as part of a spring tonic drink with other herbs[13]. A tea made from the plant has traditionally been used internally and externally in the treatment of cancer[13][21][1]. One report says that it is better to use a juice of the plant rather than a tea[17]. The effectiveness of this treatment has never been proved or disproved[3]. 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[11]. 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[11].

A homeopathic remedy has been made from the plant[3].

Ecology

Ecosystem niche/layer

Ecological Functions

Nothing listed.

Forage

Nothing listed.

Shelter

Nothing listed.

Propagation

Seed - best sown in situ as soon as the seed is ripe in late summer[22]. The seed can also be sown in spring though it may be very slow to germinate[22]. Once established, this plant does not really need any help to reproduce itself.

Practical Plants is currently lacking information on propagation instructions of Galium aparine. Help us fill in the blanks! Edit this page to add your knowledge.



Cultivation

Prefers a loose moist leafy soil in some shade[22]. Plants tolerate dry soils, but they quickly become scorched when growing in full sun[22]. They do not thrive in a hot climate[22]. Another report says that plants succeed in most soils in full sun or heavy shade.

A scrambling plant, the stems and leaves are covered with little hooked bristles by which it can adhere to other plants and climb into them[13].

A good species to grow in the wild garden, it provides food for the larvae of many butterfly species[23].

Crops

Problems, pests & diseases

Associations & Interactions

There are no interactions listed for Galium aparine. Do you know of an interaction that should be listed here? edit this page to add it.

Polycultures & Guilds

There are no polycultures listed which include Galium aparine.

Descendants

Cultivars

Varieties

None listed.

Subspecies

None listed.

Full Data

This table shows all the data stored for this plant.

Taxonomy
Binomial name
Galium aparine
Genus
Galium
Family
Rubiaceae
Imported References
Material uses & Functions
Botanic
Propagation
Cultivation
Environment
Cultivation
Uses
Edible uses
None listed.
Material uses
None listed.
Medicinal uses
None listed.
Functions & Nature
Functions
Provides forage for
Provides shelter for
Environment
Hardiness Zone
3
Heat Zone
?
Water
moderate
Sun
full sun
Shade
permanent shade
Soil PH
Soil Texture
Soil Water Retention
Environmental Tolerances
    Ecosystems
    Native Climate Zones
    None listed.
    Adapted Climate Zones
    None listed.
    Native Geographical Range
    None listed.
    Native Environment
    None listed.
    Ecosystem Niche
    None listed.
    Root Zone Tendancy
    None listed.
    Life
    Deciduous or Evergreen
    ?
    Herbaceous or Woody
    ?
    Life Cycle
    Growth Rate
    ?
    Mature Size
    Fertility
    Pollinators
    Flower Colour
    ?
    Flower Type

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    References

    1. ? 1.01.11.21.3 Foster. S. & Duke. J. A. A Field Guide to Medicinal Plants. Eastern and Central N. America. Houghton Mifflin Co. ISBN 0395467225 (1990-00-00)
    2. ? 2.02.1 Mabey. R. Food for Free. Collins ISBN 0-00-219060-5 (1974-00-00)
    3. ? 3.03.13.23.33.43.53.63.73.83.9 Chiej. R. Encyclopaedia of Medicinal Plants. MacDonald ISBN 0-356-10541-5 (1984-00-00)
    4. ? 4.04.14.2 De. Bray. L. The Wild Garden. ()
    5. ? 5.05.1 Harris. B. C. Eat the Weeds. Pivot Health (1973-00-00)
    6. ? 6.06.16.2 Elias. T. and Dykeman. P. A Field Guide to N. American Edible Wild Plants. Van Nostrand Reinhold ISBN 0442222009 (1982-00-00)
    7. ? 7.07.17.27.3 Schofield. J. J. Discovering Wild Plants - Alaska, W. Canada and the Northwest. ()
    8. ? 8.08.18.2 Facciola. S. Cornucopia - A Source Book of Edible Plants. Kampong Publications ISBN 0-9628087-0-9 (1990-00-00)
    9. ? 9.09.19.29.39.4 Phillips. R. & Foy. N. Herbs Pan Books Ltd. London. ISBN 0-330-30725-8 (1990-00-00)
    10. ? 10.010.1 Stuart. Rev. G. A. Chinese Materia Medica. Taipei. Southern Materials Centre ()
    11. ? 11.011.111.211.311.411.511.6 Bown. D. Encyclopaedia of Herbs and their Uses. Dorling Kindersley, London. ISBN 0-7513-020-31 (1995-00-00)
    12. ? 12.012.112.2 Hedrick. U. P. Sturtevant's Edible Plants of the World. Dover Publications ISBN 0-486-20459-6 (1972-00-00)
    13. ? 13.0013.0113.0213.0313.0413.0513.0613.0713.0813.0913.1013.1113.1213.1313.14 Grieve. A Modern Herbal. Penguin ISBN 0-14-046-440-9 (1984-00-00)
    14. ? 14.014.114.214.3 Johnson. C. P. The Useful Plants of Great Britain. ()
    15. ? 15.015.1 Grae. I. Nature's Colors - Dyes from Plants. MacMillan Publishing Co. New York. ISBN 0-02-544950-8 (1974-00-00)
    16. ? 16.016.116.2 Turner. N. J. Plants in British Columbian Indian Technology. British Columbia Provincial Museum ISBN 0-7718-8117-7 (1979-00-00)
    17. ? 17.017.117.2 Chevallier. A. The Encyclopedia of Medicinal Plants Dorling Kindersley. London ISBN 9-780751-303148 (1996-00-00)
    18. ? 18.018.1 Launert. E. Edible and Medicinal Plants. Hamlyn ISBN 0-600-37216-2 (1981-00-00)
    19. ? 19.019.1 Lust. J. The Herb Book. Bantam books ISBN 0-553-23827-2 (1983-00-00)
    20. ? 20.020.1 Mills. S. Y. The Dictionary of Modern Herbalism. ()
    21. ? 21.021.121.2 Duke. J. A. and Ayensu. E. S. Medicinal Plants of China Reference Publications, Inc. ISBN 0-917256-20-4 (1985-00-00)
    22. ? 22.022.122.222.322.4 Huxley. A. The New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. 1992. MacMillan Press ISBN 0-333-47494-5 (1992-00-00)
    23. ? Carter D. Butterflies and Moths in Britain and Europe. Pan ISBN 0-330-26642-x (1982-00-00)
    24. ? Clapham, Tootin and Warburg. Flora of the British Isles. Cambridge University Press (1962-00-00)

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