Common names: Clivers, Goosegrass, Yellow Bedstraw, Maid’s Hair, Cheese Rennet, Hedge Bedstraw and Lady’s Bedstraw.
Yellow Bedstraw is a herbaceous perennial plant of the family Rubiaceae, native to Europe and Asia. It is a low scrambling plant, with the stems growing to 60-120 cm long, frequently rooting where they touch the ground. The leaves are 1-3 cm long and 2 mm broad, shiny dark green, hairy underneath, borne in whorls of 8-12. Its small, bright yellow flowers are are 2-3 mm in diameter closely clustered together in dense panicles at the tops of the wiry, square, upright stems, which are 1 to 3 feet high, and bear numerous very narrow, almost thread-like leaves, placed six to eight together in whorls. This plant exudes a strong honey-like odour and is best gathered in July.
Maria Treben wrote in her fascinating book “Herbs from God’s Pharmacy”
Bedstraw tea cleanses the liver, kidney, pancreas and spleen of toxic wastes. When suffering from a disorder of the lymphatic system, one should drink this tea daily.
It is also beneficial for anaemia, dropsy and stitch in the side.
Used externally this tea is of benefit in many skin disorders, wounds, boils and blackheads.
It makes an excellent wash for the face as it tightens the skin. The freshly pressed juice of Bedstraw, brushed on the affected parts of the skin and left to dry, is very beneficial.
In popular medicine Bedstraw is recommended for epilepsy, hysteria, St. Vitus dance, nervous complaints, surppressed urine, gravel and stones.
For goitre, gargling with this tea throughout the day is effective. A woman told me she had not only lost the goitre, but her thyroid gland is now also working normally.
In old times, Bedstraw was very much esteemed by women for disorders of the uterus. To ease childbirth, it was laid in the bed in their difficult hours.
As the story goes, this was later attributed to the Virgin Mary. As “Our Lady’s Bedstraw”, She placed it in Her bed. From another legend, She placed it as a soft pillow in Jesus’ crib. A Silesian legend tells that She took it, as it was not eaten by the donkey. There is truth in this.
Although cows like to eat it, pigs and donkeys won’t touch it.
The Abbe Kuenzle tells in his writings of a 45 year old man who suffered from a serious kidney disorder which worsened. Finally one kidney had to be removed, the other one was also affected and did not function normally. The man then began a treatment with Bedstraw tea. Daily he drank 4 cups of the previously mentioned tea mixture of Bedstraw, Golden Rod and Yellow Dead Nettle. Frequently he sipped his tea, whereupon his complaint completely cleared up. This same tea mixture is used for all kidney disorders.
While the noted botanist, Richard Willfort, in his book “Health through Medicinal Herbs” points out that rinsing with and drinking Bedstraw tea is an excellent remedy for cancer of the tongue, just as the freshly pressed juice mixed with butter is a remedy for cancerous growth and cancer-like skin disorders, Dr. Heinrich Neuthaler writes in “The Herb Book” the following about Bedstraw: “The white flowering Bedstraw is recommended for cancer in some districts even today – a nonsense that cannot be opposed strongly enough.”
For your judgement on this matter, I would like to place before you, esteemed reader, a few experiences with Bedstraw.
About 10 years ago I learned of a dentist who suffered from cancer of the tongue. After the operation he lost a lot of weight and was to have had X-ray therapy in Vienna. I recommended gargling with Bedstraw tea. A week later I learned that the therapy was no longer necessary and that he recovered more and more from the illness. In a short time he was well.
Somewhat later I heard from a 20 year old woman who also suffered from cancer of the tongue. She was advised to consult a doctor in Carinthia (Austria). He promised her that she would get well within 5 years and gave her a herb tea which she showed me one day. I recognized it as Bedstraw. To save her the expense of going to Carinthia, I showed her the Bedstraw growing wild, so that she could gather it herself. She recovered from this terrible illness.
Still another example: It was at the end of March when a young woman from Vienna told me that her mother, 63 years old, was very ill and was to have a second operation on April 19. Six months before, a cancer-like tumour suddenly grew in her larynx. The doctor had hidden the truth from her, telling her it was a goitre and thus she had her first operation. For six months everything went well. But then she experienced terrible pain in her left arm which continued day and night. Her hand was swollen, arm and hand were without feeling so that she could not even hold a piece of paper. To ease her pain, the doctor who performed the first operation advised a second operation on April 19, as previously mentioned, in which he intended to cut the nerves between the neck and the collar bone to at least free her from the worst of the pain. He said that medically there was no other help. Despite that, I recommended that the woman drink Bedstraw tea and gargle with it. Besides, I recommended a tea mixture of 300 gm. Calendula, 100 gm. Yarrow and 100 gm. Stinging Nettle (11/2 litre per day, every 20 minutes 1 sip) and also rubbing with Bedstraw ointment. You can imagine my happy surprise when I learned that the pain had subsided after 4 days. Up to April 19, the woman had regained feeling in her arm and hand and was able to move both. The doctor was astounded when the daughter asked him not to perform the second operation. He was visibly impressed when she gave him an accurate account of the herb treatment. He said: “Your mother should continue with it.” After a time, I was told the woman was doing very well and looking after her family of six.
By treating cancer-like growths healing is possible.
In recent times there has been an increase in malignant skin disorders that show as dark, sharply outlined rough marks. Presumably it is a question of infection. In this case treatment with fresh juice of Bedstraw and Calendula ointment is successful. Without doubt, a blood cleansing tea of Calendula, Stinging Nettle and Yarrow should be used with it.
A woman from Upper Austria had a small lump on the floor of the palate and terrible pain in the whole area of the mouth. Through rinsing with Bedstraw tea, the lump disappeared after four days and with it the pain. The assertion that the use of Bedstraw for such illnesses is nonsense cannot be justified.
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.
If you feel like following Maria Trebens instructions, try the folllowing:
Infusion: 1/4 litre of boiling water is poured over 1 heaped teaspoon of Bedstraw, infused for a short time.
Fresh Juice: Fresh Bedstraw is washed and, still wet, put into the juice extractor.
Ointment: Sufficient fresh juice is stirred into butter (room temperature) to provide an ointment-like consistency. Store in refrigerator.
The hungarian herbalist Gyorgy Szabo recommends to drink a cup of Bedstraw tea 2-3 times a month before meal to prevent diseases and cleanse the kidneys.
Lady’s bedstraw has a number of other uses besides being used medicinally. Chopped up flowering tops mixed with milk are used like rennet (which is usually animal based) to curdle milk as the first stage in cheese making, hence the name cheese rennet. Roasted seeds can be used as a coffee substitute, and both a red dye (from the roots) and a yellow one (from the tops plus alum as mordant) can be obtained from it.
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