Healing Weeds - Getting a closer contact with the healing world of herbs and wild plants.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013


Tropaeoulum majus

NL: Oost-Indische Kers / F: Capucine

This cute climbing plant comes originally from the Andean region, but it seem to do pretty well in most climates. It is praised as much for its ornamental aspect as it is for its culinary and medicinal uses.

Its hot-pungent taste, a little stronger than watercress at times,  makes it a delicious - and cute! - salad ingredient. Leaves, flowers and seeds are all edible, very rich in vitamin C. I like using the larger leaves (when they grow in shadowy places the leaves can get as large as 15cm of diameter!) in my green smoothies, leaving the sweet flowers to salads. The young seeds are even hotter than the flowers and leaves and they can be ground, added as spice to salad dressings or stews, or they can be prepared as capers. The mature seeds contain more than 25% of protein and they can be dried and ground to be used as a healthier pepper substitute.

In medicinal herbalism is nasturtium mostly known as an expectorant and disinfectant. Its antibacterial, anti-fungicide and antibiotic properties make it an amazing plant to help relieve infections, both internally as externally, as in disinfecting wounds and cuts. Its high content of vitamin C together with other phytonutrients make it a good herb to treat scurvy.

Nasturtium clears out mucous conditions, which combined with its antibiotic properties allows it to be effectively used to treat bronchitis, respiratory infections and to relieve chest conditions in general.

It is also acclaimed for its healing work in ailments of the urinary tract and as depurative. 

Nasturtium is another great garden companion-sacrificial plant, protecting the neighboring plants from pests. It is particular great to grow next to plants from Cucurbitacea family, such as pumpkins, melons, cucumber, as well as plants from the Brassicacea family - cabbages, broccoli, radishes, etc. 

The leaves can be prepared in a strong decoction to be used as insecticide. 

The links below will take you to two short videos that help you to recognize nasturtium and use it:

Learning about Nasturtium - Nicola Chatham

Here is one short video that tells you how to collect and store the seeds of the nasturtium:

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