Wild Garlic is a monocot bulbous, perennial herbaceous plant that grows about 12 feet (3.7 m) tall. The plant is found growing in moist deciduous forests, valleys and along streams and normally favors moist soils, preferring slightly acidic conditions. The plant has upright and thin bulb that is white or yellow in color. The plant produces small rounded bulbs on branched rhizomes. The stem is triangular in shape and the leaves are similar to those of the lily of the valley. Every year, leaves appear in late winter, flowers bloom in spring, and seeds mature by mid-summer at which point the plants die back and go dormant until the following late winter.
The plant consists of bright green, entire, elliptical leaves that are long, pointed and oval in shape with untoothed margins up to 25 cm long x 7 cm wide with a petiole up to 20 cm long. Leaves grow from the plant base, from the bulb of the plant itself. If bruised or crushed, the foliage emits a strong onion/garlic-like aroma. Wild garlic plants typically have 2 or 3 leaves, but older, well-established plants may have more.
Bear’s garlic (Wild Garlic) boasts a very long history of use. The 1st-century Greek botanist Pedanius Dioscorides stated it in his five-volume herbal encyclopedia, describing its effectiveness for the cleansing and detoxification of the body. During the middle Ages, King Charlemagne of present-day France classified the plant in his Capitulare de Villis imperialibis, a guide that highlighted the medicinal properties of common herbs.
In 1992, bear’s garlic was named Plant of the Year by the Society for the Protection and Investigation of European Flora. Although easily overshadowed by its more lucrative relatives, bear’s garlic still holds the same wonderful health benefits that initially earned it the esteemed title. Today it is found in several parts of the world due to its wonderful health promoting benefits and amazing addition to different cuisines.
Flower & Fruit
The inflorescence is an umbel of six to 20 white flowers only, lacking the bulbils. The flowers are star-like with six white tepals, about 16–20 mm in diameter, with stamens shorter than the perianth. Six petals make up a flower, with around 25 of these forming the rounded shaped flower cluster. Flowers are on leafless stalks. Umbellate garlic-scented flowers produce capsules which has black seeds inside.
Leaves and flowers may be eaten raw in the form of salads or cooked as an addition to soups, sauces or stews. Leaf flavor begins to drop as the flowers start to bloom. Underground bulbs can also be eaten raw or cooked.
Health benefits of wild garlic
Garlic is widely known for its antibacterial, antibiotic and possibly antiviral properties, and contains vitamins A and C, calcium, iron, phosphorus, sodium and copper. Studies have also shown that it may help reduce blood pressure, thereby reducing the risk of stroke and heart disease. Interestingly, although all types of garlic have these benefits, wild garlic is thought to be the most effective at lowering blood pressure.
Although we can eat wild garlic bulbs, they tend to be too small to be of much use and digging them out would remove the plant for foraging next year. It’s their leaves that are worth harvesting, preferably before too many of their pretty white flowers have appeared which can signal the arrival of tougher leaves and a slightly bitter taste. Eaten raw, the leaves are delicious, but can pack quite a powerful and pungent punch. When cooked, they mellow considerably while still retaining that gorgeous garlic flavour and scent. The flowers are edible, too, so why not add a handful to garnish your spring salad?
Health benefits of Wild Garlic
Medicinally speaking, there are several remarkable uses for wild garlic, including in the treatment of high blood pressure, high cholesterol, stomach upset, and chronic disease, among others. This particular garlic can be used internally or topically as an herbal supplement or added to poultices and other home remedies. Listed below are some of the well-known health benefits of using wild garlic in your everyday routine
- Treats Chronic Diseases
Active ingredients in wild garlic have the ability to neutralize free radical activity before it can lead to cellular mutation and oxidative stress in different parts of the body. This can help to lower your risk of cancer and other chronic diseases, such as heart disease or arthritis.
- Improves Heart Health
Garlic is known to have a soothing effect on high blood pressure, which can lessen your risk of atherosclerosis, heart attacks, and strokes. Additionally, wild garlic is able to lower overall cholesterol levels, keeping your heart in good shape as you age.
- Treats Stomach Issues
Antibacterial and anti-fungal compounds found in this wilder form of garlic can help to re-balance the bacterial flora in your gut, which helps to calm inflammation, bloating, cramping, constipation, and other stomach issues you may be handling.
- Antibacterial effect
It was already shown that garlic has strong antibacterial effects. But the effect is to feel really strongly, take fresh, rough leaves. Wild garlic helps to cleanse the stomach-intestinal system of microbes and bacteria. So, its regular consumption can be used as prophylaxis against serious illnesses, including cancer.
- High cholesterol and blood pressure
Due to the presence of some important minerals Wild garlic leaves still young is recommended to people who suffer from high cholesterol level and triglycerides in their blood, as well as high blood pressure. This plant has a beneficial effect to the arteries and it can also prevent atherosclerosis.
- Inflammations and infections
Consumption of fresh wild garlic has a beneficial effect on the parasites in the intestines. It helps to prevent the intestines from irritations and also protects the organism from colds and flu. It helps in the treatment of bronchitis, because it clears the airways, relieves breathing and decreases cough.
- Good for the skin
Wild Garlic in the form of bath is ideal for everyone who suffers from problematic skin, inflammatory processes on the skin, skin irritation, eczema and dermatitis.
- Decrease aggravations and allergies
Utilization of crisp wild garlic has a profitable impact on the parasites in the digestion tracts. It keeps the digestion tracts from issues such as ulcers furthermore shields the living being from colds and influenza. It helps in the treatment of bronchitis, since it clears the berating routes, mitigates breathing and prevents cough.
- Helps in Detoxification
Recuperating properties of wild garlic are additionally proficient for purifying the body from poisons. To be more exact, wild garlic cleans the liver, kidneys, insides and nerve bladder.
- Against fatigue
Fatigue during season changes afflicts many people. It is often the lack of certain vitamins – calcium, potassium, iron, etc. fatigue can be overcome very well and quickly with the help of the Bärlauchs. The plant has these and many other important vitamins and minerals in itself.
Ramsons produce sulfide compounds similar to those found in garlic and onions, and appear to have similar medicinal effects, including antifungal and antimicrobial properties and cardiovascular benefits.
It is particularly effective in reducing high blood pressure and blood cholesterol levels.
It is recognized as having a good effect on fermentative dyspepsia.
Plant is anthelmintic, antiasthmatic, anticholesterolemic, antiseptic, antispasmodic, astringent, cholagogue, depuritive, diaphoretic, diuretic, expectorant, febrifuge, hypotensive, rubefacient, stimulant, stomachic, tonic and vasodilator.
Ramsons ease stomach pain and are tonic to the digestion, so they can be used in the treatment of diarrhea, colic, wind, indigestion and loss of appetite.
Whole herb can be used in an infusion against threadworms, either ingested or given as an enema.
Herb is also beneficial in the treatment of asthma, bronchitis and emphysema.
Juice is used as an aid to weight loss and can also be applied externally to rheumatic and arthritic joints where its mild irritant action and stimulation to the local circulation can be of benefit.
Bear garlic is a wonderful Immune booster.
It combats heart disease like Angina and Palpitation.
Asthma and bronchitis are effectively treated by bear’s garlic.
It takes good cure of the stomach and helps in treating indigestion, Anorexia and stomachache.
It is applied on the skin to alleviate skin rashes.
Garlic chives improve kidney function and are used to treat urinary incontinence, kidney and bladder weakness
Seeds can be used to treat nausea and vomiting
Leaves can be made into a poultice together with Gardenia Augusta and used to treat knee injuries.
If you have problems with high blood pressure, try adding wild garlic to your spring diet.
Wild garlic can provide help to people with frequent migraines.
Juice can be used as a rub to treat joint pain, and can also apparently be used to aid weight loss.
Bear’s garlic wine is an extremely healing agent for the elderly suffering from persistent pulmonary catarrh and related breathing problems.
It is also recommended in cases of pulmonary tuberculosis and dropsy, from which older people often suffer.
It has beneficial effects on the urinary system.
Bear’s garlic can be used as a bath for treating eczema, dermatitis, hematomas and wounds.
Pulverized dried wild garlic leaves are used to prevent ischemic and arrhythmias disease.
Extract from the bulb are also used to treat blood pressure and platelet aggregation.
Ramsons leaves are edible; they can be used as salad, spice, boiled as a vegetable, in soup, or as an ingredient for pesto in lieu of basil.
Stems are preserved by salting and eaten as a salad in Russia.
Bulbs and flowers are also very tasty.
Flowers or buds can be eaten in salad, and the bulbs are also edible.
Ramsons are eaten as a spring tonic, to cleanse the system in Germany.
Flowers in small quantities make a decorative and very tasty addition to salads.
Small green bulbils are used as a caper substitute.
Small bulbs can be minced or added to a stir-fry for an extra kick of flavor.
More mature leaves are great in Italian style preparations: pesto, risotto, polenta, fritatta etc or chopped and tossed with warm Jersey Potatoes and sautéed bacon.
Young shoots which look similar to chives work well in Asian style cookery, sautéed in peanut oil with ginger and finished with a little soy sauce.
You can also use wild garlic to make a great late night snack by slipping a couple of leaves between a slice of toast and a slice of cheddar style cheese before melting under the grill.
Bold, oniony taste of fresh bear garlic bulbs makes it attractive as a boiled vegetable ingredient in hot soups.
How to Consume Bear Garlic
While fresh bear’s garlic lends itself to the best of the herbs various medicinal preparations, it can also be dried or its oils extracted.
Main preparations: Capsules, tinctures, decoctions
Every part of the bear garlic plant holds medicinal value. Commonly ingested as a capsule or liquid extract, remedies made from bear’s garlic contain its powerful, concentrated ingredients.
Capsules: Capsules are stuffed with the dried leaves of the bear garlic plant to provide a consistent, easily-ingestible dosage of cholesterol-lowering herbal treatment.
Tinctures: Ingesting about 30 – 60 drops of bear garlic tincture twice daily can provide the body with all it needs to recover from illness.
Decoctions: Often overlooked in medicinal preparations, the stems and bulbs of bear’s garlic make excellent ingredients for slow-brewing homemade decoctions.
- Toasted linguine with wild garlic
Toasting pasta gives it a nutty flavor that perfectly suits wild garlic, and in this recipe complements the toasted almonds. When it isn’t in season, use a few cloves of finely sliced garlic and a handful of chopped parsley.
400g linguine, snapped in half
3 tbsp olive oil
3 large red onions, peeled and finely sliced
1 tbsp white wine vinegar
100ml white wine or dry cider
200g wild garlic, trimmed, washed and shredded
40g raisins, soaked in boiling water for 10 minutes
40g blanched whole almonds, toasted and roughly chopped
60g parmesan, grated
Salt and black pepper
Preheat the oven to 170C/325F/gas mark 3. Put the linguine on an oven tray, sprinkle 1 tbsp olive oil and rub into the pasta. Spread it out into an even layer and bake for 10 minutes.
Give the tray a good shake, turn it round and do it again. By now the pasta should be a rich, golden brown.
Meanwhile, put the rest of the olive oil and the butter in a heavy-based pan with a lid, add the onions and bring them up to a sizzle. Add a pinch of salt, pop the lid on and turn it right down.
Leave the onions to soften for 10 minutes. Once meltingly soft, take the lid off, turn the heat up and add the vinegar and wine. Simmer until the liquid has nearly evaporated. Throw in the wild garlic, put the lid on again and leave it to wilt for a few minutes.
When the pasta is toasted, add it to a pan of boiling water and cook for 7-10 minutes, bearing in mind it will take a little longer than usual. Add the raisins, stir and taste for seasoning.
Drain the pasta, return to the pan and tip in the dressing. Mix thoroughly, check the seasoning, and add the almonds and pile on to plates with parmesan.
- Wild garlic juice
For the preparation of this juice you need wild garlic leaves that you’ll chop finely and squeeze the juice out of them using a juicer or a strainer. Keep the acquired juice in a small bottle or glass jar. You can consume 1 teaspoon of wild garlic juice three times a day which you’ll add in a glass of water, tea or yogurt.
- Wild garlic honey
To prepare wild garlic honey, you’ll the need the formerly mentioned wild garlic juice that you’ll add into natural bee honey. Mix the ingredients in the following quantity: 300 ml of wild garlic juice in 1 kg of honey. You can consume 1 tablespoon of this wild garlic honey, 3 times a day with a little bit of water.
- Wild garlic wine
For the preparation of this wine you need the following ingredients:
50g of wild garlic leaves
250 ml of white wine
Put the finely chopped wild garlic leaves in an adequate bowl and pour them with white wine. Cover and filtrate after 20-30 minutes. Consume the acquired wine in small sips during the day. Wild garlic wine is ideal for the decomposition of accumulated mucus in the lungs and its secretion.
- Wild garlic leaves tincture (wild garlic drops)
For the preparation of this tincture you need the following ingredients:
20g of wild garlic leaves
1l of grape brandy
Put the finely chopped wild garlic leaves in a bottle and then pour them with grape brandy. Let it rest for 20 days in a closed bottle and shake it from time to time. After it has stayed for a while, filtrate the acquired liquid and pour it into a dark glass dish, covered with a lid, which you’ll keep in a dark place. You can consume 1 teaspoon of this tincture in the morning and at night. You may add it in half a glass of cold milk or yoghurt.
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