Allium sativum ophioscorodon
Herb: Serpent Garlic
Latin name: Allium sativum ophioscorodon
Family: Alliaceae (Onion Family)
Medicinal use of Serpent Garlic: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. The plant produces inhibitory effects on gram-negative germs of the typhoid-paratyphoid-enteritis group, indeed it possesses outstanding germicidal properties and can keep amoebic dysentery at bay. It is also said to have anticancer activity. It has also been shown that garlic aids detoxification of chronic lead poisoning. 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. Recent research has also indicated that garlic reduces glucose metabolism in diabetics, slows the development of arteriosclerosis and lowers the risk of further heart attacks in myocardial infarct patients. Externally, the expressed juice is an excellent antiseptic for treating wounds. The fresh bulb is much more effective medicinally than stored bulbs, extended storage greatly reduces the anti-bacterial action. The bulb is said to be anthelmintic, antiasthmatic, anticholesterolemic, antiseptic, antispasmodic, cholagogue, diaphoretic, diuretic, expectorant, febrifuge, stimulant, stings, stomachic, tonic, vasodilator.
Description of the plant:
Habitat of the herb:Not known in a truly wild situation.
Edible parts of Serpent Garlic:Bulb - raw or cooked. Widely used, especially in southern Europe, as a flavouring in a wide range of foods, both raw and cooked. Garlic is a wonderfully nutritious and health giving addition to the diet, but it has a very strong flavour and so is mainly used in very small quantities as a flavouring in salads and cooked foods. A nutritional analysis is available. The bulbs can be up to 6cm in diameter. Bulbils - raw or cooked. An excellent strong garlic flavour, though they are rather small and therefore fiddly to peel. Leaves - raw or cooked. Chopped and used in salads, they are rather milder than the bulbs. The Chinese often cultivate garlic especially for the leaves, these can be produced in the middle of winter in mild winters. The flowering stems are used as a flavouring and are sometimes sold in Chinese shops. The sprouted seed is added to salads.
Other uses of the herb:The juice from the bulb is used as an insect repellent. It has a very strong smell and some people would prefer to be bitten. The juice can also be applied to any stings in order to ease the pain. 3 - 4 tablespoons of chopped garlic and 2 tablespoons of grated soap can be infused in 1 litre of boiling water, allowed to cool and then used as an insecticide. An excellent glue can be made from the juice, when this is spread on glass it enables a person to cut clean holes in the glass, The juice is also used as a glue in mending glass and china. An extract of the plant can be used as a fungicide. It is used in the treatment of blight and mould or fungal diseases of tomatoes and potatoes. If a few cloves of garlic are spread amongst stored fruit, they will act to delay the fruit from rotting. The growing plant is said to repel insects, rabbits and moles.
Propagation of Serpent Garlic:Plant out the cloves in late autumn for an early summer crop. They can also be planted in late winter to early spring though yields may not be so good. Plant the cloves with their noses just below the soil surface. If the bulbs are left in the ground all year, they will often produce tender young leaves in the winter. Bulbils, harvested in late summer, are best sown immediately in pots in a cold greenhouse, planting out in late spring after the last expected frosts. They can also be stored in a cool place over the winter and then be planted outdoors like onion sets. They will not make such a big plant in their first year, however.
Cultivation of the herb:Not known in a truly wild situation.
Known hazards of Allium sativum ophioscorodon:There have been cases of poisoning caused by the consumption, in large quantities and by some mammals, of this species. Dogs seem to be particularly susceptible.
Plant information taken from the Plants For A Future.