The exuberant flowers of the yellow bedstraw have a delicate scent that resembles that of honey. According to the advice of Gallen, these flowers have been used for more than 20 centuries to curdle milk (Greek gala/galaktos). Exquisite cheese like Chester is still made with it.
Yellow Bedstraw Scientific Facts
- Scientific Name – Gallum verum L.
- Other Names – Gaillet.
- Spanish – Galio.
- Environment – Common in forests and meadows all over Europe, it has been naturalized in many regions of America.
- Description – Vivacious plant of the Rubiaceae family, growing from 20 to 80 cm high, with small yellow flowers growing in terminal clusters.
- Parts of the plant used medicinally – The seeds.
The whole plant contains asperulosid, flavonic, and coumaric glycosides and small amounts of a milk enzyme whose action is enhanced by the plant’s citric and tannic acids. Its properties are as follows:
- Antispasmodic – Yellow bedstraw is recommended for functional dyspepsia (bad digestion caused by nervousness) due to its sedative and relaxing effects on the muscles of the digestive system.
- Diuretic – Its use is recommended for afflictions of the urinary tract (kidney stones or lithiasis, cystitis), dropsy, edema (retention of fluid in tissues), and obesity.
- Vulnerary – In external application, the yellow bedstraw helps heal wounds and bruises.
Yellow bedstraw is similar to another plant of the same botanical family, cleavers (Galium aparine L.), though the latter cannot curdle milk.
Cleavers is an excellent herbal remedy for fevers. It is highly recommended for inflammation of the kidneys and bladder, suppressed urine, scalding urine during gonorrhea, and obstruction of the urinary tract (stones and gravel). It is a potent diuretic and helps get rid of excess fluids. The herb also strengthens the liver and cleans the blood.
Combine it with equal parts buchu, uva ursi, and one-quarter marshmallow root for urinary conditions. Thanks to its potency as a diuretic, it is beneficial for treating edema and weight reduction. Cleavers is also good when taken internally for skin eruptions and diseases. In addition, the plants cooling properties make it excellent for fevers. The herb can be applied externally as a salve for burns, external tumors, and scalds.
Infusion: Let three ounces to two pints of cold water stand for three to four hours. Take three ounces (cold) three to four times daily or 1 ½ ounce to one pint of warm water. Steep for two hours. Take one cup three to four times a day. Tincture: Take ½ to one teaspoon daily. Powder: Take five to ten #0 capsules (30 to 60 grains) three to four times daily.
How to use Yellow Bedstraw
- Infusion with 10 to 20 grams of plant per liter of water. Drink up to three cups daily.
- Compresses soaked in a slightly more concentrated infusion (30 to 40 per liter), then applied to the affected skin area.
- George D. Pamplona-Roger, M.D. “Encyclopedia of Medicinal Plants.” George D. Pamplona-Roger, M.D. Encyclopedia of Medicinal Plants. Ed. Francesc X. Gelabert. Vols. 1 San Fernando de Henares: Editorial Safeliz, 2000. 361. Print.
- Vance Ferrell Harold M. Cherne, M.D. The Natural Remedies Encyclopedia [Book]. – Altamont, TN: Harvestime Books, 2010. – Vol. Seventh Edition: 7: pp. 152, 153.