Wild Garlic

lily of the valley, flowers, convallaria majalis

In spring there are places in the forest that smell strongly of garlic. It is there that wild garlic grows, sometimes in large families, because once it has become native somewhere, it likes to spread lavishly.

A herbal quark with plenty of wild garlic is one of the most delicious spring experiences and is also very healthy. It not only aids digestion, but also prevents arteriosclerosis and lowers blood pressure and can thus even prevent heart attacks and strokes. This makes wild garlic the purest rations against most diseases.

Plant description

Wild garlic prefers shady deciduous forests and humus-rich locations. It is often found in riparian forests near rivers. It is a perennial plant that reappears year after year.

At first, the leaves of the bear’s garlic grow in spring, from about March onwards. In the beginning they are very small. In the course of a few days, the leaves grow and become 25 cm long on average. It is the leaves that are harvested, preferably before flowering, because then they are tender and tasty.

Later in the spring, one or more stems grow from the leaf rosette, which carries the white, airy wild garlic flower. The wild garlic flowers are richly flowered pseudo umbels and the individual flowers look like little stars.


Scientific name
Allium ursinum.

Plant family

Other names
Ramsons, buckrams, broad-leaved garlic, wood garlic, bear leek, bear’s garlic.

Used plant parts

Allicin, vitamin C, essential oil: vinyl sulfide, mercaptan, mineral salts, iron, mucilage, sugar.

Harvest period
April and May.

Medicinal properties

Main uses: Arteriosclerosis & Spring cure.

Because of its garlic-like substances, wild garlic has a similar effect to garlic. It cleanses the blood vessels and thus acts against arteriosclerosis. As a result, wild garlic can prevent strokes and heart attacks. It help against the more everyday consequences of arteriosclerosis, whether it is high blood pressure, cold feet or hands, poor skin healing due to poor blood circulation, headache tendency, dizziness, some memory disorders, pain when walking or poor performance.

Bear’s garlic also has a strengthening effect on the metabolism and digestion. It can also be used against spring tiredness. It is even said to help the bears get back on their feet after their hibernation and give them new strength. The bear’s garlic therefore gives bear strength.

Healing effects

        • Astringent
        • Tonifying
        • Stimulating
        • Antibiotic
        • Blood-purifying
        • Lowering cholesterol levels
        • Stimulates the blood circulation
        • Anti-inflammatory
        • Biliary
        • Diuretic
        • Expectorant
        • Sweetener
        • Metabolical stimulating

Areas of application

        • Circulatory problems
        • Arteriosclerosis
        • Fever
        • Memory loss
        • Loss of appetite
        • Asthma
        • Flatulence
        • High blood pressure
        • Heart attack
        • Bronchitis
        • Diarrhea
        • Cold hands
        • Cold feet
        • Headaches
        • Lack of performance
        • Rheumatism
        • Poor wound healing
        • Skin
        • Indigestion
        • Worms

Forms of preparation

The bear’s garlic cannot be dried, because then its active ingredients are lost. Therefore it is best to use it fresh. You can use the youngest possible wild garlic leaves, even the buds also taste good. The leaves can be used in many recipes and the buds can be pickled like capers or simply eaten, e.g. in salads.


As a tea, the bear’s garlic is not so suitable due to its delicate garlic aroma, but it is more suitable for the spring kitchen or the medieval kitchen.


The wild garlic in herb curd cheese tastes particularly delicious, as it can be served together with potatoes or simply used as a spread on bread. Cut into narrow strips, wild garlic also tastes great on sandwiches or as a garnish for cheese bread, tomato bread, etc. Wild garlic is also popular in gnocchi, noodles, pasta, spaetzle, quiche, risotto.


It can also be used as a tincture against arteriosclerosis and indirectly against high blood pressure. To make a wild garlic tincture yourself, pour double-grain or ethyl alcohol over wild garlic leaves in a screw-cap jar until all parts of the plant are covered and leave the mixture closed for 2 to 6 weeks. Then strain and pour into a dark bottle. Take 10-50 drops of this tincture one to three times a day. If the tincture is too concentrated, you can dilute it with water.


Because of the health effects of wild garlic, there are some ready-to-use preparations containing wild garlic. With these preparations the garlic taste is avoided, because many people do not like garlic.

There are, for example, wild garlic capsules, some of which are also available as fresh leaf capsules, which contain fresh leaf granules. The effect of the wild garlic capsules corresponds approximately to the effect of fresh bear’s garlic. They help against arteriosclerosis and its secondary diseases.


It is not so easy to preserve the wild garlic. The fresh leaves unfortunately only last one or two days, in the refrigerator a little longer. Because the bear’s garlic season is short, the desire to preserve the garlic quickly arises.


If you dry it yourself, it usually becomes strawy and does not taste much like wild garlic. Professionally dried, the taste can be retained to some extent in good products.


You can freeze the wild garlic relatively well. Frozen, wild garlic does not taste as good as fresh, but it tastes much better than dried. To freeze it, you first wash it, then dry it and cut it into small pieces. Then fill it into small portion bags or into an ice cube form and place it in the freezer. If necessary, take out a portion and defrost it.


Wild garlic pesto is a classic method of preserving it. Pureed wild garlic is mixed with roasted pine nuts, parmesan cheese and olive oil. In the refrigerator such a bear’s garlic pesto can be kept for several weeks.


Wild garlic is found in large parts of Europe and in some places in northern Asia. In Asia it is found almost exclusively in the Caucasus and occasionally in western Russia.

In Europe, bear’s garlic is found mainly north of the Alps, in the Balkans and in southern Eastern Europe, except in the Hungarian lowlands. In England and Ireland, bear’s garlic is common, except in northern Scotland. In France, is common almost everywhere. In Italy, however, wild garlic is rather rare and in Spain it is very rare. In Scandinavia, is found in southern Norway and in a strip in southern Sweden. In Germany, wild garlic is more common in the south than in the north. In principle, it is most frequently found in the riparian forests around large rivers.

Collection Tips

Depending on the area, the harvest time for wild garlic is between the beginning of March and the beginning of May. As wild garlic has become increasingly popular in recent years, one should be cautious when collecting it and take into account that the plant spreads only slowly. In general, one should only harvest in large stands and only where it is permitted. Leave at least two thirds of the individual leaf rosette, so that the plant has enough leaf mass to last until the next year.

Thanks to its great popularity, wild garlic can be bought fresh in the shops more and more often during the season, which often comes from targeted cultivation. Before plundering scarce stocks in the forest, and damaging them in the long run, it may be better to buy fresh wild garlic.

The identification of wild garlic is also very important. The leaves clearly smell of garlic. If this is not the case, the leaves are not bear’s garlic.

Cultivation Tips

For the cultivation of wild garlic in your own garden you need a half-shaded corner, preferably under deciduous trees. Bear’s garlic likes humus-rich, moist soil, which should be as calcareous as possible. It is good to have many rotten leaves that have fallen from the deciduous trees. Wild garlic does not like pure sandy soil.

It is very good to have plenty of space for the wild garlic, because when it feels comfortable, it starts to grow vigorously after a few years. To prevent the wild garlic from spreading throughout the garden, a rhizome barrier in the ground is useful, unless you want the wild garlic to spread everywhere.

Once the bear’s garlic feels at home in the garden, it is very easy to care for and can give you pleasure for many years. They always should be kept relatively moist, as they do not like to dry out.

From bulbs

The cultivation of wild garlic is relatively simple from the wild garlic bulbs. As with other bulb plants, they are simply stuck into the ground. The tip should point upwards and be covered with earth for one to two centimetres. It is best to put two to five bulbs together in groups. The individual groups should be about thirty centimetres apart.

From young seedlings

The easiest way to grow them is with the help of ready-made plants. The plants are planted in early spring, preferably in March.

Place the plants at a distance of about thirty centimetres from each other. They should be planted so deep that the bulbs are about one or two centimetres below the surface of the soil. After planting, the plants are watered vigorously. Afterwards, make sure that the plants do not dry out for at least a week.


Wild Garlic (Wiktionary)



Cognate with French ail sauvage, Portuguese alho selvagem.


wild garlic (countable and uncountable, plural wild garlics)

  1. ramsons (Allium ursinum)
  2. Allium vineale


  • garlic
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