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Registered Medical Herbalist
Luzia Barclay
Tel: 01722 330663

Wild garlic – free food and medicine

There are many reasons for gathering and eating wild garlic or ramsons, as it is also known.

An old English proverb says:

Eat leeks in Lide (March) and ramsons in May.
And all the year after the physicians may play.
Wild garlic grows abundantly throughout the UK and also in Wiltshire.It prefers woods with semi-shade and moist conditions. In many areas it forms a dense carpet and can be invasive.

When foraging for this plant one has to be mindful not to pick the similar looking and toxic leaves of Lily of the Valley or of Lords and Ladies. The most important unique feature of wild garlic is its distinctive smell.

Wild garlic leaves can be picked from March until June; they taste best before the white flowers open and while the leaves are still dark green.

Traditional European medicine recommends wild garlic as a digestive stimulant, as an antibiotic remedy and as a preventative of heart and blood vessel related conditions like high blood pressure, high cholesterol and arteriosclerosis.

Pharmacological research during the last twenty or 30 years has confirmed these traditional indications.

Many in vitro and in vivo experiments have shown that wild garlic is effective in preventing and treating common cardio-vascular conditions.

It was also discovered that wild garlic reduces excess levels of insulin and excess cholesterol in the blood stream

It is illegal to dig up wild garlic bulbs. Its leaves however can be harvested.

You can eat them raw or cooked. Use them in salads, soups or as a vegetable.

The leaves make a most delicious pesto. Chop them thinly and make garlic butter.

Here is a wild garlic pesto recipe, from http://www.greatbritishchefs.com/recipes/wild-garlic-pesto-recipe

One large bunch wild garlic, one small bunch of parsley, 60g toasted pine nuts, 60g parmesan cheese, 150ml olive oil, some lemon juice, salt and pepper. Place all the ingredients into a food processor apart from the olive oil and blitz for a minute or two. Then, slowly pour in the olive oil until blended. Use for pasta, mash, dipping, and so on.
Wild Garlic - May 2010 Newsletter
Herbs For Healing Newsletter - Wild Garlic. Forage for food and medicine in the woods! Wild garlic can be used in salads, soups or mixed with vegetables. A potent medicinal herb. Find delicious recipes and advice about how and why to use wild garlic.
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