Health benefits of Lady’s Bedstraw – Galium verum

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Lady's bedstraw Quick Facts
Name: Lady's bedstraw
Scientific Name: Galium verum
Origin Europe, North Africa, and temperate Asia from Palestine and Israel, Lebanon and Turkey to Japan and Kamchatka
Colors Black
Shapes Glossy, glabrous, 0.2 in. (5 mm) wide, black schizocarps often hairy
Taste Astringent, acidulous and bitterish taste
Health benefits Good for Skin health, Throat health, Maintain Kidney Health, cures rashes and skin allergies and Cure urinary issues
Galium verum popularly known as Lady’s Bedstraw, Yellow Spring bedstraw is a rhizomatous, perennial herb belonging to the Rubiaceae (Madder family) and is closely related to hedge bedstraw and cleavers. The plant is native to most of Europe, North Africa, and temperate Asia from Palestine and Israel, Lebanon and Turkey to Japan and Kamchatka. It is naturalized in Tasmania, New Zealand, Canada, and the northern half of the United States where it is typically found in a variety of locations including dry-sandy meadows, rocky outcrops, waste areas, roadsides, banks, dunes and seashores. It is considered a noxious weed in some places. Few of the popular common names of the plant are Lady’s Bedstraw, Yellow Spring bedstraw, Wirtgen’s bedstraw, Clivers, Goosegrass, Yellow Bedstraw, Maid’s Hair, Cheese Rennet and Hedge Bedstraw.

The name Cheese Rennet is so called as the plant has the capability to curdle milk and that in the 16th century it was used to turn milk into cheese. Galium, the genus name, comes from the Greek noun gala, meaning milk. It is a reference to the former use of flowers of various Galium species to help make milk coagulate during the process of making cheese. The specific epithet verum means true to type or standard. Yellow dye obtained from flowering stems has been used as a food coloring for cheese or butter. Red dye can be made from the roots. Roasted seed has been used as a coffee substitute. Plant material was reportedly used in the crib of Jesus Christ.

Lady’s Bedstraw Facts

Name Lady’s Bedstraw
Scientific Name Galium verum
Native Most of Europe, North Africa, and temperate Asia from Palestine and Israel, Lebanon and Turkey to Japan and Kamchatka. It is naturalized in Tasmania, New Zealand, Canada, and the northern half of the United States
Common Names Lady’s Bedstraw, Yellow Spring bedstraw, Wirtgen’s bedstraw, Clivers, Goosegrass, Yellow Bedstraw, Maid’s Hair, Cheese Rennet, Hedge Bedstraw
Name in Other Languages Albanian: Ngjitëse, ngjitësja e vërtetë
Arabic: Juisa  Khadhra,  Kish  El-Furash,  English: lady’s bedstraw, yellow bedstraw,  jawaysiat khudira (جويسئة خضراء), qash alfarash  (قش الفراش)
Azerbaijani: Əsl qatıqotu
Basque: Ziabelar hori
Bulgarian: еньовче, dragaĭka (драгайка), istinsko en’ovche (истинско еньовче), obiknoveno en’ovche (обикновено еньовче), sŭshtinsko en’ovche (същинско еньовче)
Catalan: Espunyidella groga, Espunyidella, Espunyidera, Gali, Herba de la mel, Herba formatgera, Quallallet, espunyidella vera, herba de talls, herba mosquera
Chinese: Péng zǐ cài  (蓬子菜)
Croatian: Ivanjsko cvijeće, prava broćika
Czech: Svízel syřišťový
Danish: Gul snerre
Dutch: Geel walstro, Geel walstro subsp. Maritimum, Geel walstro subsp. Verum, Echt walstro
English: Yellow Spring bedstraw, Lady’s bedstraw, Yellow bedstraw,
Estonian: Hobumadar
Finnish: Keltamatara, helokeltamatara
French: Gaillet jaune, Gaillet vrai, Caille-lait jaune, bonsang, caille vrai, caille-lait officinal, caillet-lait jaune, fleur de la Saint-Jean, gaille vrai, herbe à cailler, herbe à la vierge, petit muguet
Galician: Agana, Callaleite, Herba coalleira, Herba da agana, Herba do agano, Herba do rodicio, Herba dos aganos, Preseira, Presoiro, Rodesno
Georgian: Mindvrisnemsa (მინდვრისნემსა)
German: Echtes Labkraut, Gelbes Labkraut, Gelbes Waldstroh, Liebfrauenbettstroh, Liebkraut
Hebrew: Devekah amittit, דְּבֵקָה אֲמִתִּית
Hungarian: Tejoltó galaj
Icelandic: Gulmaðra
Irish: Boladh cnis
Italian: Caglio vero, Erba zolfina, Caglio zolfino, presuola
Japanese: Kawaramatsuba (カワラマツバ)
Korean: Sol na mul (솔나물)
Latvian: Istā madara
Lithuanian: Tikrasis lipikas
Macedonian: Ivansko cveḱe (Иванско цвеќе)
Malayalam: Gāliyaṁ veraṁ (ഗാലിയം വെരം)
Northern Sami: Fiskesmáđir
Norwegian: Jomfru Mariae seng-foor, Mari-fægre, Guul-mour, Mour, Opskred-fægre, Gulmaure
Occitan: Calha lach, Cirouso, Erbo de la ciro
Persian: شیرپنیر
Polish: Przytulia właściwa
Portuguese: Gálio-amarelo, gálio-verdadeiro, coalha-leite, erva-coalheira, erva-do-coalho, galião
Romanian: Sînziene galbene
Russian: Podmarennik zholtyy (Подмаренник жёлтый), Podmarennik nastoyashchiy (Подмаренник настоящий)
Serbian: Ivanjsko cveće (Ивањско цвеће), ivanjska broćika (ивањска броћика)
Shambala: Ivanjsko cvijeće
Slovak: lipkavec pravý, lipkavec syridlový, lipkavec syrišťový pravý
Slovene: Prava lakota
Spanish: Prava Lakota, agana, cuaja leche, cuajaleche, cuajaleches, cuaxaleche, galio de flor amarilla, galio, hierba cuajadera, hierba sanjuanera, presera,  quaxa  leche,  yerba cuajadera, yerba de la grama, yerba de la grana, yerba sanjuaner, cera virgin, galio Amarillo, lagrimera
Swedish: Gulmåra, Keltamatara, Jungfru Marie sänghalm, Honinggräs
Turkish: Sarı yoğurt out, boyalık
Ukrainian: Pidmarennyk spravzhniy (Підмаренник справжній)
Upper Sorbian: Žołty sydrik
Welsh: Briwydd felen
Plant Growth Habit Robust, frost tolerant wild, herbaceous perennial plant
Growing Climates Waste ground, roadsides, near sea, lawns, roadsides, open, disturbed areas, sandy and dry meadows, juniper groves, rocky outcrops, banks, dunes and seashores
Soil Requires a deep, light and rich loamy soil
Plant Size 60–120 centimeters (24–47 in) long
Stem Erect, 4-sided with rounded angles,  densely puberulent,  villosulous, or hirtellous  to  rarely glabrous and smooth, covered in short hairs to varying degrees, rarely hairless
Leaf 1–3 cm (0.39–1.18 in) long and 2 millimetres (0.079 in) broad, shiny dark green, hairy underneath, borne in whorls of 8–12
Flowering season July to August
Flower Yellow in color, and produced in dense clusters, 2–3 mm (0.079–0.118 in) in diameter, pointed, longer than they are wide, with 3 to 5 petals and 4 yellow stamens
Fruit Shape & Size Glossy, glabrous, 0.2 in. (5 mm) wide, black schizocarps often hairy
Fruit Color Black
Propagation By seed and by rhizomes
Taste Astringent, acidulous and bitterish taste
Plant Parts Used Leaves, flowers and whole plant
Available Forms Infusion, fresh juice, ointment
Season August to September
Health Benefits
  • Good for Skin health
  • Throat health
  • Maintain Kidney Health
  • Cures rashes and skin allergies
  • Cure urinary issues
Precautions
  • Avoid use during pregnancy and breastfeeding.

Plant Description

Lady’s bedstraw is a robust, frost tolerant wild, herbaceous perennial plant that normally grows about 60–120 centimeters (24–47 in) tall. The plant is found growing in waste ground, roadsides, near sea, lawns, roadsides, open, disturbed areas, sandy and dry meadows, juniper groves, rocky outcrops, banks, dunes and seashores. The plant requires a deep, light and rich loamy soil. Stem is erect, 4-sided with rounded angles, densely puberulent, villosulous, or hirtellous to rarely glabrous and smooth, covered in short hairs to varying degrees and rarely hairless.

Leaves

The leaves are whorled, very narrow, up to 1–3 cm (0.39–1.18 in) long and 2 millimeters (0.079 in) broad, shiny dark green, hairy underneath, borne in whorls of 8–12.

Flower

Flowers are yellow in color, and produced in dense clusters, 2–3 mm (0.079–0.118 in) in diameter, pointed, longer than they are wide, with 3 to 5 petals and 4 yellow stamens. Flowering normally takes place in between July to August.

Fruit

Fertile flowers give way to glossy, glabrous, 0.2 in. (5 mm) wide, black schizocarps often hairy and bristly clinging to clothes and animal hair. The fruits ripen in August-September. Each fruit contains a single brown seed.

Health benefits of Lady’s Bedstraw

Lady’s Bedstraw is an herb that was, and in some cases still is, widely used in not only medicinal way but also as a part of everyday lives. It is used as an incredible red dye, cheese and milk flavoring and followed by a variety of beliefs and folk stories; Lady’s Bedstraw has been used for thousands of years. Medicinally, it is used for the skin, throat and all the systems of liquids in the body. It doesn’t have a wide range of benefits but what it does, it does deeply and strongly. Listed below are some of the popular health benefits of Lady’s bedstraw

1. Natural Diuretic

Lady’s Bedstraw is considered a successful diuretic. Tea prepared from this herb helps detoxify the liver, kidneys, spleen and pancreas. It is advisable that people suffering from a lymphatic system disorder should drink this herbal tea every day.  It is used as a remedy in gravel, stone, cystitis or urinary disorders. Its diuretic properties help flush out the toxins from your body and along with them, the uric acid which the main cause of pain in gout and arthritis. Lady’s Bedstraw is widely used in folk medicine for treating swollen ankles.

2. Skin health

Lady’s Bedstraw is related with the treatment of many skin-related conditions. The herb helps to solve complaints of slow-healing wounds. When applied topically as a poultice on cuts, skin infections, ringworm, eczema, ulcers, scabies, boils, rashes, psoriasis, allergies, and slow-healing wounds, it calms the skin and reduces inflammation, helping the skin to heal. It also helps in reducing bleeding. Additionally, this tea is also a wonderful face wash and helps to firm up the facial skin, as well as helping with acne and blackheads.

3. Throat health

Lady’s bedstraw is helpful for various problems regarding the throat and the organs close to it. With this intention, you can use it as a tea or as a gargle. It helps with different cancers: skin, tongue and larynx. Thyroid issues, goiter, and vocal cords inflammations also benefit from this herb.

4. Helps Maintain Kidney Health

One of the prime uses of this herb includes improving as well as maintaining the health of kidneys. It helps in dissolving kidney stones and hence at the same time tends to be effective in cleaning it of any toxins.

5. Maintain the health of skin

Extract of this herb when applied topically has been known to be effective in treating issue such as rashes and skin allergies.

6. Cure urinary issues

The herb has been known to be effective in treating disease related to urinary tract. Extract from this herb has been known to kill bacteria in the intestine and can at the same time remove issues such as intestinal ulcers.

Traditional uses and benefits of Lady’s bedstraw

  • Lady’s bedstraw has a long history of use as an herbal medicine, though it is little used in modern medicine.
  • Its main application is as a diuretic and as a treatment for skin complaints.
  • Leaves, stems and flowering shoots are antispasmodic, astringent, diuretic, foot care, lithontripic and vulnerary.
  • Plant is used as a remedy in gravel, stone or urinary disorders and is believed to be a remedy for epilepsy.
  • Powder made from the fresh plant is used to soothe reddened skin and reduce inflammation whilst the plant is also used as a poultice on cuts, skin infections, slow-healing wounds etc.
  • It was applied externally in poultice, used for indolent tumors, strumous swellings and tumors of the breast.
  • Internally it was used in decoction sweetened with honey, for urinary stone complaints, scurvy, dropsy, hysterics, epilepsy and gout.
  • It was also used in the bleeding of the nose and stomach problems, and it was said that it peculiarly beneficial in scorbutic, scrofulous, and dropsical complaints.
  • Cut and dried aerial parts have been used for exogenous treatment of psoriasis or delayed wound healing or as a tea for the cure of pyelitis or cystitis.
  • The plant was also used in traditional medicine as an anticancer medicine applied in most cases as a decoction.
  • Tea made out of the leaves is known to be effective in curing urinary issues.
  • Lady’s bedstraw is used for treating cancer, epilepsy, hysteria, spasms, and tumors, loss of appetite & chest & lung ailments.
  • It is also used to increase urine output for relieving water retention, especially swollen ankles.
  • It is advisable that people suffering from a lymphatic system disorder should drink this herbal tea every day.
  • Tea is also useful for treating dropsy, anemia & suture in the side.
  • Yellow bedstraw can be used for treating conditions, such as hysteria, nervous disorders, St. Vitus dance or chorea, suppressed urine, stones & gravels in the bladder.
  • People suffering from goiter may find this herb beneficial if they gargle the tea throughout the day.
  • You can make pillows of bedstraw to combat sleeplessness.
  • Tea prepared with the herb is effective in cleansing the kidneys, liver, pancreas as well as the spleen of toxic materials.
  • Its tea is also used topically to heal skin complaints, boils, wounds as well as blackheads.
  • This tea is also a wonderful face wash and helps to firm up the facial skin.
  • Yellow bedstraw was extremely valued as a medication for women’s problems, particularly in treating uterus disorders.
  • The herb was also laid in the beds of women during childbirth as it was known to alleviate the difficulties endured during delivery.

Culinary Uses

  • Leaves can be consumed raw or cooked.
  • Yellow dye from the flowering stems is used as a food coloring.
  • Roasted seeds are considered a good substitute for coffee.
  • The seed is also said to be edible.
  • The chopped up plant can be used as rennet to coagulate plant milks.
  • The flowering tops are distilled in water to make a refreshing acid beverage.

Other Facts

  • Red dye is obtained from the root.
  • It is rather tricky to utilize.
  • Yellow dye is obtained from the flowering tops.
  • Dye is obtained from the foliage when it is boiled with alum.
  • Dried plant has the scent of newly mown hay; it was formerly used as a strewing herb and for stuffing mattresses etc.
  • It is said to keep fleas away.
  • A sprig in a shoe is said to prevent blisters.
  • The stem and leaves of this Galium yield good yellow dye, which has been used to great extent in Ireland.
  • In Denmark, the plant (known locally as gul snerre) is traditionally used to infuse spirits, making the uniquely Danish drink bjæsk.
  • In medieval Europe, the dried plants were used to stuff mattresses.
  • The coumarin scent of the plants acts as a flea repellant.

References:

http://www.theplantlist.org/tpl1.1/record/kew-87863

https://npgsweb.ars-grin.gov/gringlobal/taxon/taxonomydetail?id=70981

https://pfaf.org/User/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Galium+verum

https://www.missouribotanicalgarden.org/PlantFinder/PlantFinderDetails.aspx?taxonid=286667&isprofile=0&

http://www.floracatalana.net/galium-verum-l-subsp-verum

https://botanical.com/botanical/mgmh/b/bedlad25.html

https://plants.usda.gov/core/profile?symbol=GAVE

https://www.itis.gov/servlet/SingleRpt/SingleRpt?search_topic=TSN&search_value=34936#null

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Galium_verum

https://www.invasiveplantatlas.org/subject.html?sub=11551

http://biology.burke.washington.edu/herbarium/imagecollection/taxon.php?Taxon=Galium%20verum

https://www.researchgate.net/publication/324521615_GALIUM_VERUM-A_REVIEW

https://www.cabi.org/isc/datasheet/24776

https://www.wikidata.org/wiki/Q156854

http://www.narc.gov.jo/gringlobal/taxonomydetail.aspx?id=70981

https://gd.eppo.int/taxon/GALVE

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