Well, here’s another plant we notice a lot now it has come into flower. Jack-By-The-Hedge or Garlic Mustard. There was certainly no shortage of Garlic flavouring around in the olden days. There’s no mention of bears digging this one up though.
Mrs Grieve (in the 1931 edition of A Modern Herbal) mentions that it was quite a useful plant medicinally – it can, for instance, be used to work up a sweat without all that exercise. She also says it is a ‘deobstruent’ for which Google suggests ‘aperient’ looking up aperient gave me a list of things such as “Constipation in Kids”, etc. – so I looked no further. She also mentions that eaten as a salad “. . . it warms the stomach and strengthens the digestive faculties”. Herbs that strengthened your ‘faculties’ were very common in the early 1900s.
It only flowers every second year and you can check to be sure it’s the right plant by – guess what? Crushing the leaves to see if they smell of garlic.
We’ll try it next time we see some.
PS The Wild Garlic smells of garlic – we tried crushing a leaf, it’s not a very strong aroma – but quite definite.
Edit: We tried some of the Garlic Mustard – and it is really tasty and tangy!