Herb: Leek


Latin name: Allium porrum


Synonyms: Allium ampeloprasum porrum


Family: Alliaceae (Onion Family)



Medicinal use of Leek:

This species has the same medicinal virtues as garlic, but in a much milder and less effective form. These virtues are as follows:- Garlic has a very long folk history of use in a wide range of ailments, particularly ailments such as ringworm, Candida and vaginitis where its fungicidal, antiseptic, tonic and parasiticidal properties have proved of benefit. It is also said to have anticancer activity. Daily use of garlic in the diet has been shown to have a very beneficial effect on the body, especially the blood system and the heart. For example, demographic studies suggest that garlic is responsible for the low incidence of arteriosclerosis in areas of Italy and Spain where consumption of the bulb is heavy. The bulb is said to be anthelmintic, antiasthmatic, anticholesterolemic, antiseptic, antispasmodic, cholagogue, diaphoretic, diuretic, expectorant, febrifuge, stimulant, stomachic, tonic, vasodilator. The crushed bulb may be applied as a poultice to ease the pain of bites, stings etc.

Description of the plant:



Plant:
Bulb


Height:
90 cm
(2 feet)

Flovering:
July to
August

Habitat of the herb:

Not known in wild.

Edible parts of Leek:

The leaves and long white blanched stem are eaten cooked. They can also be cut into thin slices and be added to salads. A mild onion flavour with a delightful sweetness. Bulb - raw or cooked. The bulb is produced in the plants second year of growth (that is, after it is normally harvested). The bulb is somewhat larger if the plant is prevented from flowering. Flowers - raw. Used as a garnish on salads, though they are rather on the dry side and less pleasant than many other members of the genus.

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.

Propagation of Leek:

Seed - for an early crop, or for larger plants, sow the seed in early spring in a greenhouse and plant out in May. For smaller or later plants, sow April in an outdoor seedbed and plant out as space permits in July or even August.

Cultivation of the herb:

Not known in wild.

Known hazards of Allium porrum:

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.