Maligned as a stubborn invasive, this common herb found along roadsides and edges between field and forest is an unsung hero for both planet and people. A pre-eminent Earth-healing plant, garlic mustard does not deplete but rather enriches soil, returning nutrients to worn-out, people-disturbed areas. Wherever one finds a stand of garlic mustard, underneath the soil will be richer and darker, and other plants in its vicinity will benefit from the added nutrition.
Garlic mustard is nutritious – and delicious — for people as well. Part garlic-tasting and part mustard-tasting when eaten raw in salads or as a pesto, it provides as much nutrition as any Brassica grown in the garden, rich in vitamins A and C. Cooked as a pot herb, it loses its pungency but retains most of its nutrition.
Medicinally, its pungent nature is warming and stimulating, promoting movement of qi, dissolving congestion, allowing for smoother flow of fluids and healthier-functioning mucous membranes. It enhances all aspects of digestion, assimilation and elimination, from stomach and liver to small and large intestines, stimulating release of digestive juices. It clears congestion and hoarseness from sinuses, throat and lungs, an effective treatment for enhancing lung health and capacity. It stimulates urination, and the seed helps dissolve urinary tract deposits. Taken hot it promotes circulation and opens the pores, promoting perspiration and the release of toxins. And seed and leaf are rich in antioxidants, helping to keep our blood clean and immune system strong.
Too good to ignore, insult, or abuse, Garlic Mustard quietly calls to us from the forest edges, asking us to generously partake of its food and medicine.
By Chris Marano, Founder of Clearpath Herbals: http://www.clearpathherbals.com