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Discover the potential of the medicinal bear garlic plant (Allium ursinum)

In this article we are going to talk about a medicinal plant closely related to common garlic. In fact, it is commonly known as bear garlic, although its scientific name (so as not to generate confusion) is Allium ursinum.

Its measuremental properties are closely related to garlic, which we all know its benefits and we usually incorporate it into our diet.

Therefore, we will try to inform you with all the details of bear garlic, both its cultivation, climatology, soil, water, pests and diseases and, of course, the potential for medicinal use.

Active ingredients of bear garlic

Its nutritional and medicinal properties come from the concentrations of these elements:

  • Flavonoids
  • Antioxidants (diosgenin)
  • Lectins
  • Pigments
  • Carotenoids
  • Trace elements (even in greater quantity than ordinary garlic)
  • Vitamin C
  • Allyl sulfide (the particular garlic flavor)

This makes that in terms of taste and nutritional properties, provide more than just ordinary garlic and be more digestible or less heavy consumption.

Bear garlic (Allium ursinum) is a plant that can reach up to 30 centimeters in height and has a very peculiar white flowering. It has long leaves of intense green (full of chlorophyll) that cover a large area.

That is why this plant is also suitable for decoration of all types of gardens, arranged heterogeneously and in groups of 1 or 2 floors, being able to locate it in some urban environments.

It belongs to the family of Amaryllidaceae, which is known for having a great diversity of plants with a spectacular flowering (red, violet, yellow tones, etc.). We can find in this family horticultural crops as typical as the onion or the garlic.

This family also highlights the phytochemical potential of most of its plants. They are rich in lectins (such as bear garlic), allyl sulfides and flavonoids that are related (and today used in pharmacy) in defense of human diseases.

bear garlic growing spontaneously
Bear garlic (Allium ursinum) growing spontaneously in padded, moist soil

Cultivation of Allium ursinum

Bear garlic is a crop that usually lives in shaded areas, with relative humidity. The range of temperatures on which it moves to survive is also quite embedded, not withstanding either extreme temperatures in the summer months (hence the shade condition) or untimely frosts.

Due to the climatic conditions in which it lives, in Spain it has been located in the North zone (in the National Park of the Picos de Europa, Vitoria, Sierra de Ancares, etc.).

His flowering occurs between spring and summer, specifically in Spain, occurs between April and July. Therefore, it can be interesting to intersperse in an ornamental garden, bear garlic (with whitish flowering) with another type of lily of bluish or pink flowering liliaceae.  The effect will be very interesting.

Soil characteristics

Because of its need to keep moisture constant, it prefers those soils rich in clays. In terms of pH, it exceeds a wide spectrum that makes it viable to grow on all types of surfaces, as it covers 5.5-8.5.

Important, as a summary. Padded soils, with some organic matter and that for the most part keep some moisture. Hence the importance of growing in areas of shade or semi shade.  An example would be the image above.

Water and fertilizer

Allium ursinum it should have a constant volume of moisture in the soil, so that it does not grow with stress. The fertilizer is also important to have the largest vegetative volume of the plant, but an adequate level of organic matter will suffice, since the resources it extracts in terms of nutrients are not many.

Pests and diseases of Allium ursinum

In terms of pests, it does not usually have many problems, except for aphid polyphages, which adapt to all types of plants, as long as other crops, such as horticultural crops, are scarce.

A type has also been identified, apart from aphids. specific moth, which attacks leaves, scientifically known as Acrolepiopsis betulella.

In diseases, several types of fungi have been diagnosed, such as rust and botrytis, which are described as follows:

  • Sclerotinia globose (sclerotinia)
  • Puccinia sessilis (rust)
  • Botrytis aclada (botrytis)
sale of bear garlic leaves in traditional market
Sale of bear garlic leaves (Allium ursinum) in traditional market

Known medicinal properties

Known as bear garlic, its medicinal properties are similar to those of ordinary garlic, although in lower concentration. In fact, the bulbillo it produces tastes very similar, although it is complicated to collect.

Stimulates digestion

The intake of this plant, either through infusion of its leaves or with the intake of bulbils (such as small garlic), promotes intestinal transit and activates metabolism. This favors that the meals are less heavy and reduces future flatulence.

Even if you carry sulphurous compounds, its continuous intake accustomed to the body and forms a microbiology in the stomach that reduces this type of problems or discomfort.

Activates the immune system

It has always been awarded to all plants of the bear garlic family and common garlic (Amaryllidaceae), properties that activate the immune system. That is because it reduces the action of certain bacteria that do not commonly inhabit our body and because it improves the circulation of the cardiovascular system.

Allicin, a main compound in bear garlic, reduces the activity of fungi and bacteria and improves their eradication. Therefore, it is a strong preventive (in addition to its high content of vitamin C) against colds and flus.

Antioxidant effects

The garlic of the bear (Allium ursinum) has a large number and quantity of vitamins, which reduce the effects of free radicals, have platelet and antiplatelet properties.

Fights skin infections

Rubbing your face with the bulb of bear garlic or putting on compresses with the juice of the infusion helps to improve the skin and reduce oily skin, acneic or with disorders.

The phytochemical contents of this plant have antimicrobial action, reducing skin conditions.

It is advisable, after rubbing the skin with the bulbillo (it can also be done with common garlic), to clean the remains with soap and water, completely eliminating the smell.

Helps to stop and fight diarrhea

The intake of infusions or bulbillos improves intestinal transit and helps to strengthen and adapt the microbiology of the stomach. This encourages adequate conditions to cut diarrhea.

Protector of the cardiovascular system

The intake of bear garlic activates the cardiovascular system, improving blood circulation, reducing cholesterol and increasing the thickness of arteries and veins.

Helps to lose weight (diet supplement)

Bear garlic, taken as an infusion, helps as a supplement in diets to reduce weight. Its purifying properties activate the body’s metabolism, which accelerates fat burning and facilitates faster digestion.

To prepare an infusion of bear garlic it will be enough to boil a handful of leaves for 15 minutes and temper then. You can take a glass every day, after getting up, mixed with honey, chamomile or lemon.

Then we can have breakfast as usual.

Products containing bear garlic with medicinal properties:

In some restaurants, bear garlic leaves are collected and selected to complement dishes and salads. They have a taste very similar to that of garlic, but much more subtle and without the subsequent digestive problems that it causes many people. It also combines perfectly with the plant dandelion.

About Laurie Cullen

Laurie Cullen is a renowned wellness specialist committed to holistic health and well-being. With extensive training in nutrition, fitness, and mindfulness practices, she empowers individuals to lead healthier lives. Laurie's approach focuses on creating sustainable lifestyle changes, emphasizing the importance of balanced nutrition, regular exercise, and stress management. Her guidance has transformed the lives of many, helping them achieve optimal physical and mental health. Laurie's dedication to holistic wellness and her ability to inspire and educate others have solidified her reputation as a trusted source of guidance in the pursuit of healthier, happier lives.

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