Synonyms: wild garlic, broad-leaved garlic, bear's garlic; botanical name Allium ursinum



Ramsons is presumed to come from Asia. It was planted in cloister gardens in the Middle Ages. Today it grows wild almost everywhere in Europe. Particularly in the moist humus of deciduous forests it covers large areas. Ramsons is chiefly a wild herb and is rarely cultivated.


It is mainly the green leaves of ramsons that are used, but the bulbs are also edible. It can be collected from April to May in deciduous forests or under hedges. This is also when the fresh leaves are sold at the market. The bulbs can be harvested until autumn.

Appearance, taste, characteristics

The ramsons plant belongs to the leek family and produces two 10- to 20-cm-long light-green leaves. These closely resemble the poisonous leaves of the lily of the valley and of the deadly meadow saffron or autumnal crocus. However, ramsons has a characteristically intensive garlic-like smell that is especially noticeable when the leaves are rubbed together. In this way, confusion with other plants can be excluded with relative certainty.

Ramsons tastes slightly pungent and reminds one of garlic. The advantage is that ramsons is somewhat milder than garlic and does not have the unpleasant effect of garlic on the breath after it is eaten. The bulbs have a stronger aroma than the leaves.

A plant similar to ramsons is the North American ramps, or wild leek (Allium tricoccum). This did not originate in Asia but in the moist North American forests and it has broad green leaves that taste like a mixture of garlic and onions. This plant can be used like ramsons.


Ramsons contains allicines, such as alliine, which give it its characteristic aroma. Iron, magnesium, manganese, and vitamin C are also present in ramsons.

Ramsons leaf
Energy (kcal)
Water (g)
Protein (g)
Fat (g)
Carbohydrates (g)
Fiber (g)
Vitamin C (mg)
Potassium (mg)
Calcium (µg)
Magnesium (mg)
Manganese (mg)
Iron (mg)
Phosphorous (mg)

Harmful substances

Sensitive persons can react to eating large amounts of ramsons with irritation of the stomach. No problems are to be expected, however, with the normal amounts used for seasoning.

Quality criteria, optimal storage conditions

Ramsons should be harvested before it blossoms. The fresh leaves can be stored in the refrigerator, wrapped in cling film, for 1–2 weeks. It can also be deep-frozen, but it is not suitable for drying.

Presumed effect on health

Ramsons is said to have a healing effect on disorders of the stomach and intestinal tract. It is supposed to inhibit the growth of harmful intestinal bacteria without affecting the healthy intestinal flora. Ramsons stimulates the production of digestive juices and is thought to stimulate the appetite and promote digestion.

In naturopathy it is also given for high blood pressure and recommended to prevent arteriosclerosis.

Form of consumption, use, processing, practical tips for preparation

Ramsons leaves taste best when they are used fresh. Drying robs them of their aroma. The leaves and bulbs can be used similar to chives.

Ramsons is good for seasoning salads, soups, vegetables and many potato dishes. Ramsons butter is also quite delicious and can be frozen without any problem. Curds mixed with herbs, noodle dishes, omelettes, and fish and meat dishes are enhanced by ramsons. Goat's and sheep's milk cheese seasoned with ramsons is a delicacy.

The intensive smell of the fresh leaves changes to a mild, garlic-like aroma when they are heated. They can be steamed as a vegetable or used as an ingredient in risotto or pasta.

Ramsons bulbs can be used like garlic cloves. The blossoms are sometimes used to decorate salads.





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