Field Garlic

Field Garlic

Allium sativum

Field garlic poses a plethora of medicinal benefits. It is an efficacious blood purifier, anti-asthmatic, diaphoretic, expectorant, stimulant, diuretic, cathartic, carminative, vermifuge, and vasodilator.

  • Plant type: Perennial
  • Other names: Wild garlic, Stag’s garlic, Onion grass, Crow garlic
  • Medicinal: Yes
  • Culinary: Yes
  • Ceremonial: No
  • Parts Used: Leaves & Bulb
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About Field Garlic

Field garlic is a lawn weed. It is a perennial that grows in clumps and all parts of this plant emit a garlic-like odor. It is considered a substitute for traditional garlic (Allium sativum) but certain differences make it the all-new species. It is comparatively resistant to herbicides, hailed as an invasive weed, and when livestock grazes on it they impart the same garlic-like odor. And all these attributes are very much unlike Allium sativum.

Field garlic develops an underground bulb that has fibrous layers around it. Its leaves depict slender hollow tubes, which grow on a 12-24 inch tall stem. It has an umbel/bell-shaped inflorescence that is surrounded by a bract that withers as soon as the flower blooms. Surprisingly, the field garlic plant also features yellowish-brown bulbils.

Field garlic poses a plethora of medicinal benefits. It is an efficacious blood purifier, anti-asthmatic, diaphoretic, expectorant, stimulant, diuretic, cathartic, carminative, vermifuge, and vasodilator. It reduces blood pressure that ultimately reduces the chances of contracting stroke and heart diseases. 

Its pungency and garlic-like taste make it suitable for many savory dishes, such as pasta, curries, soups, boiled vegetables, pesto, and whatnot.

 

Growing

Field garlic can be grown from seeds in autumn or early winter. It remains dormant throughout summer so it needs to be established before it approaches warmth. Its seeds are usually sown indoors in potting mix and given a temperature of 60 to 70 degrees F. 

Field garlic is mostly preferred to be an indoor plant as the outdoor one can be quite invasive and gives other plants a run for nutrients, resulting in their death. As an indoor plant, it requires plenty of water during dry spells, feed, and shade.

Field garlic seeds germinate within 10 to 14 days. The plant develops a bulb and aerial leaves that can burn off in the presence of the sun. It enters its blooming phase in July-August.

Field garlic flowers are attended by bumblebees for the pollination, after which it transforms into a capsule-like fruit that bears seeds. In the wild, the propagation isn’t brought about by seeds, but it is those bulbils that get detached from the parent plant and propagate to start a new life.

 

Harvesting

Field garlic bulbs are harvested in spring.

The whole plant of field garlic is harvested by making use of sharp spades to loosen up the soil around it and detach it from the ground. Usually, its underground bulb is more sought after so it is further separated from the plant with sharp knives or gardening shears.

Field garlic leaves can be stored in the fridge for 2 to 3 days after a thorough wash. Its stem can be placed in water to keep it fresh. Field garlic bulb, on the other hand, can be dried in a dehydrator or oven, but it is preferably used fresh due to a much stronger taste.

 

Usage

Field garlic is an easy plant to forage for. It is used in various medicinal preparations to cater to several ailments.

  • Tincture - Field garlic leaves or bulbs are chopped and topped with 80% alcohol or vodka for 14 days. The bottle must be kept on a sunny windowsill. Strain away the plant material and transfer the filtered tincture to a sterilized glass container.
  • Tea - Fresh field garlic leaves are chopped, placed in a cup, and steeped in hot boiling water for 5 to 10 minutes to yield a field garlic tea.
  • Decoction - Field garlic stems and bulbs are simmered in water for not more than 2 hours to formulate a decoction.
  • Syrup - Field garlic bulb is minced and added to the simmering solution water, white wine, raw honey, and apple cider vinegar to make a syrup.
  • Infused Oil - Minced field garlic bulb is infused with a carrier oil for 1 to 2 weeks on a sunny windowsill to form an infused oil.