Wild Garlic

Allium ursinum

Wild Garlic is a herbaceous perennial with glabrous, thick, broad leaves. Each plant can have up to twenty leaves sprouting from a single stalk. Small white flowers are clustered at the end of a long stem.

Wild Garlic grows widely in rural and urban ecosystems all over Europe. The plant thrives in damp ground and prefers to grow in shady areas.

The Latin name Allium ursinum means ‘bear garlic’ as brown bears like the eating the bulbs. Wild Garlic has been historically known and used in the diet of numerous European countries.

The species, especially when without flowers, can be easily confused with other plants such as Lily of the Valley or Arum maculatum, that are poisonous and potentially deadly. Incidents due to misidentification occur almost every year.

Traditional uses
  • As treatment for colds and bronchitis1
  • As treatment for indigestion and as anthelminthic1
  • Can reduce high blood pressure and blood cholesterol levels 2,3
Properties
  • Antiseptic activity 2 (in-vitro evidence)
  • Blood pressure lowering effect 3 (in-vivo evidence)
  • Reducing cholesterol in the blood2 (in vivo evidence)
 
How it can be used
  • Pulverized dried wild garlic leaves are used to prevent ischemic and arrhythmias disease4
  • Extract from the bulb are also used to treat blood pressure and platelet aggregation5
Precautions
  • Do not use if you are pregnant or breast-feeding
  • WARNING - Wild Garlic leaves can be easily confused with Convallaria majalis, Arum maculatum and Crocus autumnalis all poisonous plants, with potential deadly consequences. The leaves of Allium ursinum will release a garlic-like smell when you grind the leaves between your fingers.
The information provided here is only intended to augment people's awareness and knowledge of the properties and uses of some plants. This information is not intended to substitute advice from a physician and is not a substitute for professional medical care. The authors do not recommend collecting and using wild plants from an urban environment as these can be contaminated by several types of pollutants that are harmful to human health.

Although references are provided and information has been compiled with care, errors may be present. The remedies listed here should not be used without prior consultation with a qualified healthcare professional. The authors are not responsible for any adverse effect or consequences resulting from the use of the information published in this website.
References
  • In vitro evidence: evidence from studies using isolated components of living organisms such as cells or purified molecules
  • In vivo evidence: evidence from studies with whole living organisms
  • Clinical trial evidence: evidence from clinical trials conducted with humans
  1. Hatfield, G. Encyclopedia of Folk Medicine: Old World and New World Traditions. (ABC-CLIO, 2004).
  2. Reuter, H. D. Allium sativum and Allium ursinum: part 2 pharmacology and medicinal application. Phytomedicine 2, 73–91 (1995).
  3. Preuss, H. G., Clouatre, D., Mohamadi, A. & Jarrell, S. T. Wild garlic has a greater effect than regular garlic on blood pressure and blood chemistries of rats. Int. Urol. Nephrol. 32, 525–530 (2001).
  4. Ebadi Manuchair 2007 Pharmacodynamics basis of herbal medicine. Taylor & Francis Group LLC.
  5. Schults, Hänsle, Blumental, Tyler 2004, Rational Phytotherapy. Springer Berlin.
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