Garlic Mustard

Garlic Mustard

Alliaria petiolata

Medicinally, its leaves act as an antiseptic and have been used to treat leg ulcers, sores, bruises, common cold, and cough. Garlic mustard is also an excellent diaphoretic and can be used to reduce fever as it induces sweating.

  • Plant type: Perennial
  • Other names: Garlic root, Hedge garlic, Penny hedge
  • Medicinal: Yes
  • Culinary: Yes
  • Ceremonial: No
  • Parts Used: Flowers, Stems & Leaves
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About Garlic Mustard

Garlic mustard is an invasive biennial plant all across the Northwest, Northeast, and Midwest of the US. It has earned this interesting name due to the garlic-like odor its leaves impart upon crushing.

The shape of garlic mustard leaves is quite diverse. In the first year of its growth, they are round and appear in a rosette fashion above the ground. While in its second year, the leaves make way for the flowering stem which gives the plant a somewhat triangular, more like a heart-shaped, appearance. In spring, it produces gorgeous white flowers with four petals.

As much as it is hailed as a threat to biodiversity, its taste has led it to the recipes of dips, salads, sauces, and stir-fries. Medicinally, its leaves act as an antiseptic and have been used to treat leg ulcers, sores, bruises, common cold, and cough. Garlic mustard is also an excellent diaphoretic and can be used to reduce fever as it induces sweating. It helps with digestive issues, especially colic, and aids in dissolving the kidney stones.

 

Growing

Garlic mustard seeds flourish during spring. Being destructively invasive, it seems like a better option to grow it in a pot. Usually, it grows along forest edges or wherever the soil is moist and highly fertile but virtually it grows almost everywhere and doesn’t much fuss about its growing conditions.

During its first year of growth, garlic mustard develops seedlings and rosette. Then in the following year, it produces flowers. 

After the pollination, it generates hundreds of seedpods, and each seedpod bear around 22 seeds. These seeds quickly disperse to scatter their hold all across the area and snatch the space from the other plants in their neighborhood.

 

Harvesting

The best time to harvest garlic mustard is during its second year of growth when its buds are closed and the plant is about to bloom.

The whole plant of garlic mustard is harvested from the root to avoid scattering its evil spirit.

Garlic mustard leaves are used fresh, or they can be dried and used as seasoning. To dry the leaves, splay them on a screen and allow them to dehydrate until they are crisp to touch.

 

Usage

Garlic mustard is delicious yet devastatingly invasive. It is used raw or in different medicinal preparations to make use of its benefits.

  • Tincture - Dried garlic mustard leaves can be macerated in vodka for 4 to 6 weeks to form its tincture.
  • Tea - Dried garlic mustard leaves are crushed into powder and steeped in hot boiling water for 5 to 10 minutes to form a tea. 
  • Decoction - Dried garlic shoots are boiled in water for around 2 to 4 hours to form decoction.
  • Syrup - Dried or fresh garlic mustard leaves can be simmered in a sugar solution to form a syrup.
  • Infused Oil - Dried garlic mustard leaves are infused in olive oil for 2 to 3 weeks to form its infused oil.