The Medicinal Herb Info site was created to help educate visitors about the often forgotten wisdom of the old ways of treating illnesses. Many of today's drugs and medicines were originally derived from natural ingredients, combinations of plants and other items found in nature.

We are not suggesting that you ignore the help of trained medical professionals, simply that you have additional options available for treating illnesses. Often the most effective treatment involves a responsible blend of both modern and traditional treatments.

We wish you peace and health!

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Leek

Scientific Names

Leeks

  • Allium porrum L.
  • Allium tricoccum Ait.
  • Lily family

Common Names

  • Common leek
  • Ramp
  • Wild leek

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Parts Usually Used

Bulb, lower stem
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Description of Plant(s) and Culture

Leek is an annual, or sometimes perennial, plant; its linear leaves dilate at the bottom into leaf sheaths that surround the stem. The round stem grows from a slightly bulging bulb and is topped by a globular, umbellate cluster of white to light red flowers, with some small bulbs growing among the blossoms. Flowering time is June and July.

Another variety: Wild leek or Ramp (A. tricoccum) is strongly onion or leek scented; is similar to cultivated leek. Cherokees ate the leaves for colds, croup, and as a spring tonic. Warm juice of leaves and bulbs used for earaches. Similar to garlic in medicinal uses but less potent. Do not confuse Ramp with the poisonous Lily-of-the-Valley that it resembles.
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Where Found

Usually grown by cultivation. Native to the moist woodlands of eastern-to-midwestern North America.
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Medicinal Properties

Diuretic, stimulant
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Legends, Myths and Stories

The word leek comes from the Anglo-Saxon name for the plant, leac. The leek, like its relatives the onion and garlic, has been known as a food plant for thousands of years. Over 1,200 years before Christ, the Israelites in the Sinai wilderness longed for the leeks, onions, garlic, meat and other foods they had known in Egypt (Numbers 11:4-6).

The emperor Nero ate great quantities of leeks under the delusion that they improved his voice.

Beginning in antiquity, soldiers of many centuries believed that carrying a leek in battle would assure safety and victory. In the 6th century, St. David, the patron saint of Wales, directed the Welshmen to wear leeks in their caps to identify themselves in their successful battle against Saxon invaders. To commemorate the victory, the leek was made the national emblem of Wales.
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Uses

Leek has about the same properties as garlic, but to a lesser degree. It also stimulates appetite and helps to relieve congestion in the respiratory passages. Leek makes a good, non-irritating diuretic. The crushed leaves can be used externally to ease the sting of insect bites. Leeks are good for keeping blood vessels elastic and preventing premature aging. Eating plenty of the Allium varieties, such as chives, garlic, leeks, etc. will result in intestinal worms being eliminated.
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Formulas or Dosages

Eat leeks lightly steamed or fresh in a salad.
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Nutrient Content

Leek nutrition

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How Sold

In the supermarket produce section.
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Warning

Do not confuse leek with the poisonous Lily-of-the-Valley that it resembles.
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Bibliography

Buy It! Culpeper’s Complete Herbal & English Physician: Updated With 117 Modern Herbs, by Nicholas Culpeper, Meyerbooks, publisher, PO Box 427, Glenwood, Illinois 60425, 1990, (reprint of 1814)

Buy It! Eastern/Central Medicinal Plants, by Steven Foster and James A. Duke., Houghton Mifflin Company, 215 Park Avenue South, New York, NY 10000

Buy It! The Herb Book, by John Lust, Bantam Books, 666 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY. copyright 1974.

Herbal Gardening, compiled by The Robison York State Herb Garden, Cornell Plantations, Matthaei Botanical Gardens of the University of Michigan, University of California Botanical Garden, Berkeley., Pantheon Books, Knopf Publishing Group, New York, 1994, first edition

Buy It! How Indians Use Wild Plants for Food, Medicine & Crafts, by Frances Densmore, Dover Publications, Inc., 180 Varick Street, New York, NY 10014, first printed by the United States Government Printing Office, Washington, in 1928, this Dover edition 1974

Buy It! The Nature Doctor: A Manual of Traditional and Complementary Medicine, by Dr. H.C.A. Vogel; Keats Publishing, Inc., 27 Pine Street (Box 876) New Canaan, CT. 06840-0876. Copyright Verlag A. Vogel, Teufen (AR) Switzerland 1952, 1991

Buy It! Planetary Herbology, by Michael Tierra, C.A., N.D., O.M.D., Lotus Press, PO Box 325, Twin Lakes. WI 53181., Copyright 1988, published 1992

Buy It! Webster’s New World Dictionary, Third College Edition, Victoria Neufeldt, Editor in Chief, New World Dictionaries: A Division of Simon & Schuster, Inc., 15 Columbus Circle, New York, NY 10023

Buy It! The Rodale Herb Book: How to Use, Grow, and Buy Nature’s Miracle Plants (An Organic gardening and farming book), edited by William H. Hylton, Rodale Press, Inc. Emmaus, PA, 18049., 1974

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