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What Are Ramsons?

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  • Written By: Sara Schmidt
  • Edited By: Andrew Jones
  • Last Modified Date: 17 November 2014
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Many different wild plants and herbs can be used for medical purposes. Ramsons, or wild garlic, is a popular plant used as such in the United Kingdom, Russia, and many other areas. Its medicinal properties range from lowering cholesterol to preventing blood clots. Ramsons are also often used in cooking.

Health properties of ramsons are similar to those of cultivated garlic. It is largely used for its antifungal and antibacterial properties. Wild garlic has been found to be effective in lowering blood pressure if used on a regular basis.

In the diet, wild garlic is considered a very healthy food. It contains many antioxidants that can help protect cells from free radical damage. It can help lower blood cholesterol, prevent plaque buildup and blood clots, and protect against poison. A juice made from the herb can be used as a natural household disinfectant.

Ramsons features fully edible leaves. These cooking herbs are used in spices, salads, and soups. They make a powerful flavoring agent for homemade pesto, and some cooks opt to use it instead of basil. Wild garlic can also be boiled and eaten as a vegetable. In Russia, it is popular to salt and preserve wild garlic stems and eat them in salads.

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Wild garlic flowers may be eaten as well. These are considered very tasty. The leaves of the plant can be used to feed cows and other livestock. Cows that eat wild garlic are known to produce garlic-flavored milk, which has been used in making garlic butter in Switzerland.

Cultivated in deciduous forests, wild garlic grows best in moist, slightly acidic soil in semi-shaded areas. Its aroma, similar to the scent of household garlic, can usually fill their area of growth. Wild garlic blossoms early in the spring before most other deciduous trees. It features triangular stems and do not contain bulbs. Instead, their flowers are bell-shaped, much like the lily of the valley.

Considered very invasive, wild garlic can create a full blanket of dense growth if left to grow uncontrollably. Because of its similarity to other bell-shaped flowers, ramsons can be mistaken for several poisonous plants. Ramsons can be distinguished from other plants by its garlic aroma when rubbed between the fingers. An herb should never be eaten unless properly identified.

The Latin name for wild garlic is Allium ursinum. Ramsons are also known as buckrams, sremus, wood garlic, broad-leafed garlic, and bear's garlic. A wild relative of chives, the plant is known to be favored by the brown bear and wild boar. Ramsons were first used by humans in an ancient Mesolithic settlement of Denmark.

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