Herb: Crow Garlic

Latin name: Allium vineale

Synonyms: Allium kochii

Family: Alliaceae (Onion Family)

Medicinal use of Crow Garlic:

The whole plant is antiasthmatic, blood purifier, carminative, cathartic, diuretic, expectorant, hypotensive, stimulant and vasodilator. A tincture is used to prevent worms and colic in children, and also as a remedy for croup. The raw root can be eaten to reduce blood pressure and also to ease shortness of breath. 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:


60 cm
(2 feet)

to July

Habitat of the herb:

Fields and roadsides to elevations of 450 metres in Britain, often a serious weed of pastures.

Edible parts of Crow Garlic:

Leaves - raw or cooked. Rather stringy, they are used as a garlic substitute. The leaves are available from late autumn until the following summer, when used sparingly they make a nice addition to the salad bowl. Bulb - used as a flavouring. Rather small, with a very strong flavour and odour. The bulbs are 10 - 20mm in diameter. Bulbils - raw or cooked. Rather small and fiddly, they have a strong garlic-like flavour.

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 juice of the plant can be rubbed on exposed parts of the body to repel biting insects, scorpions etc.

Propagation of Crow Garlic:

Plants do not need any encouragement, they are more than capable of propagating themselves. Bulbils are produced in abundance in the summer and are the main means by which the plant spreads.

Cultivation of the herb:

Fields and roadsides to elevations of 450 metres in Britain, often a serious weed of pastures.

Known hazards of Allium vineale:

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.