Food Plants - PerennialHealth & DiseaseMedicinal Plants

Wild Garlic (Allium Ursinium) – a Culinary Delight

You will find wild garlic in full bloom and looking its absolute best around March/April in the UK. It’s one of those herbs which is available when there is not much else. Whilst taking a long walk in the peak district I happily stumbled across masses of this beautiful herb and decided to post something regarding its medicinal and culinary uses.

When to harvest?

Ideally, the leaves should be picked between March and May, before the plant flowers. The flowers can be eaten at any time, but later on in the season they taste much stronger than in the beginning of the season.

What parts can we eat?

The leaves as well as the flowers are edible. They can be eaten raw in salads or cooked. You could dig up a plant or two and eat the bulb but this would mean you lose a stunning looking and delicious tasting plant (although the bulb is most active). So… stick to the leaves and flowers. Use the leaves/flowers in pasta dishes, omelettes and anything else you can think of. Like the common form of garlic we use, it has many of the medicinal values but acts in a much milder way, making it an ideal accompaniment to any dish. I couldn’t think of an easier or tastier way to reduce blood pressure and high cholesterol.

Other medicinal uses (1)

Digestive tonic – eases stomach pains, wind, colic, indigestion and loss of appetite. An infusion can be used against threadworms (either ingested or given as an enema). The herb will also help with asthma, bronchitis and emphysema. The 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. Traditionally used in Scotland for treating kidney stones and gravel. It has been suggested it may also have antiviral properties. Very recent research has proposed Allium sativum as useful in cases of erectile dysfunction.




  1. Here in New Zealand I haven’t found wild garlic, but another wild allium is extremely common – onionweed, allium triquetrum. It tastes like a cross between mild garlic and spring onions, with a dash of leek thrown in. It is extremely vigorous and reproduces at the drop of a hat anywhere (to the fury of many gardeners). The bulbs make exquisite tiny pickled onions (fiddly but worth it) and the flowers are delicious fried in tempura batter. I don’t know about using it in herbal medicine but I would guess that its vigorous growth could mean it has good medicinal value.

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