Herb: Canadian Garlic
Latin name: Allium canadense
Family: Alliaceae (Onion Family)
Medicinal use of Canadian Garlic:The plant is antiasthmatic, carminative, cathartic, diuretic, expectorant and stimulant. A tincture is used to prevent worms and colic in children, and also as a remedy for croup. Although no other specific mention of medicinal uses has been seen for this species, members of this genus are in general very healthy additions to the diet. They contain sulphur compounds (which give them their onion flavour) and when added to the diet on a regular basis they help reduce blood cholesterol levels, act as a tonic to the digestive system and also tonify the circulatory system.
Description of the plant:
Habitat of the herb:Sandy soils in low woods, thickets and meadows.
Edible parts of Canadian Garlic:Bulb - raw or cooked. It can be used as a vegetable, or as a flavouring in soups and stews, and can also be pickled. The bulb is up to 30mm in diameter, it is crisp, mild and with a pleasant flavour. Used as a leek substitute according to one report, it is a garlic substitute according to others. Leaves - raw or cooked. A delicious mild flavour, they are available from early spring until the autumn. They make a very acceptable salad and can also be used as a greens or as a flavouring in cooked foods. Flowers - raw. A little bit stronger flavour than the leaves, especially as the seeds begin to form, they can be used as a flavouring and garnish on salads. Some forms of this species produce bulbils. These top-setting bulbils make a fine onion flavoured pickle. They are said to have a superior flavour to other pickled onions.
Other uses of the herb:The juice of the plant is used as a moth repellent. The whole plant is said to repel insects and moles. The plant can be rubbed on exposed parts of the body to protect them from insect bites and the bites of scorpions, lizards etc.
Propagation of Canadian Garlic:Seed - sow spring in a cold frame. Prick out the seedlings into individual pots when they are large enough to handle - if you want to produce clumps more quickly then put three plants in each pot. Grow them on in the greenhouse for at least their first winter and plant them out into their permanent positions in spring once they are growing vigorously and are large enough. Division in spring. Very easy, the plants divide successfully at any time in the growing season and the divisions can be planted straight out into their permanent positions if required. Bulbils planted in situ when ripe.
Cultivation of the herb:Sandy soils in low woods, thickets and meadows.
Known hazards of Allium canadense:Although no individual reports regarding this species have been seen, there have been cases of poisoning caused by the consumption, in large quantities and by some mammals, of certain members of this genus. Dogs seem to be particularly susceptible.
Plant information taken from the Plants For A Future.