Ramsons health benefits: for asthma, COPD and many other disorders

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Originally published on Herbal Medicine from Your Garden

Ramsons grow wild in damp woodland

Ramsons grow wild in damp woodland

Ramsons (always in the plural, presumably because of its invasive tendencies), Allium ursinum, also known as wild garlic, bear’s garlic and stinkin’ ingins (a Scots’ name meaning stinking onions), is a common sight in damp woodlands, where it carpets the ground if left to its own devices. When not in flower, it’s sometimes confused with lily of the valley (Convallaria majalis), which is poisonous, but easily distinguished by the strong garlicky scent which arises if you crush one of ramsons’ leaves. It is a useful addition to the salad bowl and for use in soups during the winter, and dormant in the summer months.

Ramsons is quite closely related to the cultivated garlic (even though they are completely different in appearance), and is a member of the onion family, all of which are well known for their health-giving properties.

The most important active constituent is not destroyed by conventional cooking but does not survive microwave cooking.

Boosts the immune system. Promotes general health. Medicinally, the bulb is the most active, although all parts of the plant can be used. Ramsons is antibacterial, antifungal, antiseptic and a good anti-oxidant. Useful as a tonic to prevent infection and for colds, coughs, flu and gastroenteritis. It also slows arteriosclerotic deterioration and lessens the risk of a heart attack. It’s very effective in reducing high blood pressure and lowering LDL cholesterol and blood sugar levels in diabetes, for digestive disorders including diarrhea, flatulence (“gas” or “wind“), colic, loss of appetite, and respiratory problems from asthma to bronchitis and COPD. It can also be used to treat threadworms. Use externally for skin problems, including fungal infections.

Ramsons can be mistaken for poisonous plants when not in flower

Ramsons can be mistaken for poisonous plants when not in flower

The juice can be used as a rub to treat joint pain, and can also apparently be used to aid weight loss, although how it is utilized for this purpose is not clear.

If you do not live close to woodland, or cannot make a confident identification – it is sometimes mixed up with Lily of the Valley or Meadow Saffron when not in flower, both of which are poisonous – you should ensure that you grow it organically, to avoid taking in concentrations of chemicals along with your remedy. For more information on growing organic Ramsons, visit the Gardenzone.

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