Wild Garlic, Broad-leaved Garlic, Wood Garlic, Bear's Garlic.
Every spring brings new hope and warmth. We feel joy and our thoughts have wings, we are pleased about the first sign of green, the singing of the birds and feel with our whole heart that all this is a gift of our Creator. In view of all this new splendour we should cleanse our system and rid it of waste matters.
The green, shiny broad leaves are very similar to those of the Lily-of-the Valley. They grow from an elongated bulb, which is surrounded by layers of clear skin. The smooth, light-green stem, with its head of white flowers, grows to a height of 30 cm. Ramsons grows only in shady and damp woods. lts pungent garlic odour that has given it the name of Wild Garlic, is smelled long before the plants are sighted and prevents them from being mistaken for the Lilly-of-the-Valley or the Meadow Saffron (Colchicum autumnale).
ln early spring many damp woods are densely carpeted with the fresh green leaves of Ramsons. They start to grow in April and May, sometimes earlier, the f lowers from May to June. Powerful medicinal properties lie within Ramsons and it is related, that bears, after hibernation, seek it out to cleanse their system. Ramsons has similar medicinal properties to those of the Garlic, only greater. lt is therefore especially valuable for a “spring” course of treatment to cleanse the system and to aid recovery from chronic skin disorders.
Since the leaves, when dried, loose their medicinal properties, they are used fresh for a spring cleaning and waste removal course of treatment. They are finely chopped and laid on buttered bread, used uncooked as a seasoning in the daily soup and added to potatoes, dumplings and other foods, where normally Parsley is used. The leaves can also be prepared like spinach or salad. Since they have a biting taste when used in large amounts, they should be mixed with Stinging Nettle leaves when prepared as a spinach dish.
The young leaves are gathered in April and May before the time of flowering, the bulbs in late summer and autumn. These bulbs can be used the same way as garlic. People who have a sensitive stomach should pour warm milk over the finely chopped leaves and bulbs, infuse them for two to three hours and sip this liquid.
To have the Ramsons’ medicinal properties at home throughout the year, a Ramsons spirit is prepared (see “directions”). 10 to 12 drops of this are taken in water daily. These drops help to attain an excellent memory prevent arteriosclerosis and dispel many other complaints.
Ramsons is beneficial for the stomach and intestines. lt is most suitable for acute and chronic diarrhoea even when this is associated with flatulence and colic, as well as for constipation when this is caused by inactivity or sluggishness of the intestines. Worms, even maw-worms are expelled some time after eating Ramsons. Those complaints which occur in elderly or over-indulgent people, through sluggish or over-filled intestines, vanish with the improved intestinal activity. Heart complaint and sleeplessness arising from stomach trouble and those complaints, caused by arteriosclerosis or high blood pressure, as well as dizziness, pressure in the head and anxiety, diminish. The pressure decreases gradually. Ramsons’ wine (see “directions”) is a wonderful remedy for all old people with persisting phlegm in the chest and the connected shortness of breath. This remedy is also recommended for consumption and dropsy, from which old people often suffer. Leaves, used fresh, cleanse kidneys and bladder and increase the flow of urine. Badly healing wounds, brushed with the fresh juice, heal quickly. Even disorders of the coronary blood vessels can be relieved.
Ramsons, that has proved itself as a blood-cleanser for skin disorders, is not valued highly enough. The Swiss herbalist, Abbé Kuenzle especially praises the plant: “lt cleanses the whole body, rids it of stubborn waste matters, produces healthy blood and destroys and removes poisonous substances. Continually sickly people, as those with herpes and eczema, pale looks, scrofula and rheumatism, should venerate Ramsons like gold. No herb on this earth is as effective for cleansing the stomach, intestines and blood. Young people would burst into bloom like the roses on a trellis and sprout like fircones in the sun.” Kuenzle states further he knew families that, previously sickly, seeking remedy the whole year, covered in rashes, herpes, scrofula and pale faced, as if they had lain in the grave and been scratched out by the hens, became completely healthy and refreshed after long applications of this wonderful gift of God.
SEASONING: Fresh leaves, finely chopped like chives or parsley, are sprinkled on bread, in soups, sauces, salads and meat dishes.
RAMSONS' SPIRIT: A bottle is loosely filled to the neck with finely chopped leaves or bulbs, which are covered with 38% to 40% rye whisky or other grain alcohol and placed in the sun or near the stove for 14 days. 10 to 15 drops are taken in water 4 times daily.
RAMSONS' WINE: A handful of finely chopped leaves is boiled for a short time in approx. 1/t litre of white wine, sweetened to taste with honey or syrup and sipped slowly.