Herb of the Week: Garlic Mustard

Our herb of the week is Garlic Mustard. Alliaria petiolata is a biennial member of the brassica family. It is not native to North America, but is prolific in some areas, including here in central Massachusetts. It is an edge or marginal plant and prefers moist shade. You can see it growing in abundance on the roadside here. In it’s native range of Europe and Asia (and Norther Africa), it like forest edges and hedgerows.

Herb of the Week: Garlic Mustard

All arial (above ground) parts are edible and quite delicious. They’re a really nice snack on a hike. They can be eaten raw or cooked in salads, sauces, soups, and spreads.

Medicinally, they are bitter, so an excellent digestive herb. It is rich in Vitamin C as well, which may contribute to its usefulness as a vulnerary (wound healer). It’s also been used for asthma, an antiseptic, , and a remedy for skin complaints – especially eczema. Probably most unique among plant medicines, it has been used to clear blockages of ducts in the body. Decocted roots can be used for lung complaints.

Herb of the Week: Garlic Mustard

Once the plants have flowered, they lose medicinal potency until the seed pods arrive. Those can be harvested when they’ve drid, then ground up and used for a snuff to induce sneezing. They can also be used as a spice.

In folk practice, the herb is used for increase and abundance. It may be associated with Jupiter and the element Fire.

Herb of the Week: Garlic Mustard

Garlic Mustard is considered an invasive species here in the northeast. I don’t love that categorization, generally. However, it means that we can forage to our heart’s content and barely make a dent in it. It is seriously delicious.

Be sure to check out the recipe for Garlic Mustard Pesto!

Herb of the Week: Garlic Mustard

RenaissanceMama

Just a woman trying to leave this place better than she found it. Farmer. Teacher. Creator. Cook.

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