Young leaves - raw or cooked as a potherb or as a flavouring in cooked foods. A mild garlic and mustard flavour, the leaves are also believed to strengthen the digestive system. They can be finely chopped and added to salads. The leaves are available very early in the year and provide a very acceptable flavouring for salads in the winter[K]. Flowers and young seed pods - raw. A mild, garlic-like flavour[K].
Garlic mustard has been little used in herbal medicine. The leaves and stems are antiasthmatic, antiscorbutic, antiseptic, deobstruent, diaphoretic, vermifuge and vulnerary. The leaves have been taken internally to promote sweating and to treat bronchitis, asthma and eczema. Externally, they have been used as an antiseptic poultice on ulcers etc, and are effective in relieving the itching caused by bites and stings. The leaves and stems are harvested before the plant comes into flower and they can be dried for later use. The roots are chopped up small and then heated in oil to make an ointment to rub on the chest in order to bring relief from bronchitis. The juice of the plant has an inhibitory effect on Bacillus pyocyaneum and on gram-negative bacteria of the typhoid-paratyphoid-enteritis group. The seeds have been used as a snuff to excite sneezing.
Seed - sow outdoors in situ either in spring or autumn.
Practical Plants is currently lacking information on propagation instructions of Alliaria petiolata. Help us fill in the blanks! Edit this page to add your knowledge.
Prefers a damp rich alluvial soil. Succeeds in damp shady places where few other herbs will grow. A good woodland edge plant, it also grows well in the bottom of hedgerows and will self-sow freely in suitable conditions. On a calm day the plant emits a strong smell of garlic. This is especially pronounced if the leaves are bruised. This species is an important food source for the orange-tip butterfly.
Problems, pests & diseases
Associations & Interactions
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Polycultures & Guilds
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