Bear’s garlic flooded the Czech Republic. When collecting, watch out for poisonous confusion

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This year, nature woke up a few weeks earlier than usual. That is also why you can come across one of the messengers of spring – wild garlic. The herb, which contains a number of beneficial substances, has experienced a boom in the Czech Republic in the last twenty years. However, when collecting, people should be careful not to confuse them with poisonous plants. Especially with lily of the valley and honeysuckle.

When preparing the Easter stuffing this year, Michaela Holanová did not have to hunt for any dried herbs from the stuffed bag she brought to her forest cabin near Hradec Králové. It was enough for her to go out of the miniature kitchen and pick a handful bear garlic. “Every year, fields of garlic grow here and we always have a harvest. This year it’s a little earlier, but that’s good,” said Holanová over the bunches of the herb, whose growth period is listed as April to June.

Bear’s garlic is also a good helper for her when preparing spreads or grilling. “The advantage is that it grows here simply everywhere. When preparing meat for the grill, it is enough to take a few steps and I immediately have a delicious ingredient,” added Holanová.

Beware of picking bear’s garlic in protected locations and its possible confusion with poisonous plants:

Czechs gamble when collecting wild garlic. There is a risk of fine or poisoning

Curator of the botanical and mycological collection Museums of Eastern Bohemia in Hradec Králové Věra Samková commented on the herb that its boom in the Czech Republic has occurred in the last twenty years. “It is a native plant in our country, which is found in deciduous forests on moist, nutrient-rich soils. In the past, garlic was mainly used, but in recent years, bear’s garlic has also become popular in Czech cuisine,” said the botanist.

She picked up its life-giving effects. “Among other things, it has antibiotic, detoxifying and disinfecting effects and a high content of vitamin C. The components contained in bear’s garlic support lowering blood pressure and lowering cholesterol in the blood. They also help purify the body and improve digestion, so they strengthen immunity and treat stomach problems and skin ailments,” mentioned Samková. However, people who have gall bladder problems should stay away from this plant.

Beware of confusion

However, the biologist also drew attention to the possible confusing popular herbs with poisonous plants. “People can easily mistake wild garlic for lily of the valley or dogwood. I also experienced a case when a family turned to us saying that they had almost poisoned a dog by mistaking it for ocún,” the botanist recalled.

Occun is a highly poisonous plant containing more than 20 alkaloids, the most dangerous of which is colchicine and its derivatives. Symptoms of poisoning appear several hours after ingestion. These include burning and pain in the throat, nausea, vomiting, colic or diarrhea. Later comes anxiety, convulsions or paralysis of breathing.

Bear’s garlic is an herb containing vitamin C and other health-promoting substances:

Messenger of Spring: Do you collect the real one or the Ukrainian one? In Ireland it was stolen, here it is free

If people mistake wild garlic for lily of the valley, they will experience symptoms such as nausea, indigestion, dizziness, cramps and the urge to urinate more often.

So how does bear garlic from poisonous plants recognize? “If we rub the leaf in our hands, it should smell strongly of garlic,” advised Samková. Less experienced foragers should collect wild garlic in bloom, as lily of the valley has easily distinguishable flowers and sedum does not bloom until autumn.

The article is in Czech

Czechia

Tags: Bears garlic flooded Czech Republic collecting watch poisonous confusion

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