Nasturtium – More Than Just a Pretty Face!

In hot sun Nasturtium flowers are said to emit sparks due to their high phosphoric acid content.

I love having Nasturtium (Tropaeolum majus)  rambling around my herb beds. Not only do the flowers look so pretty, they also have excellent medicinal properties.

Nasturtium was first introduced to Europe from Peru by the Conquistadores.  It is said that on hot summer days sparks are emitted from the heart of the flower due to its high phosphoric acid content.

Nasturium is particularly well indicated for respiratory infections.  It can be especially helpful where resistance to antibiotics has become a problem, for example in cases of Pseudomonas infection.  I would not be without a good stock of Nasturtium tincture in my clinic as I have learned to value it highly in these situations.  There is long standing empirical evidence for the efficacy of Nasturtium and recent scientific research has backed this up by finding that it contains a glycoside called glucotrapaeoline which hydrolises to yield anti-microbial sulphur compounds.  

Nasturtium flowers and leaves add a peppery tang to salads.

You can enjoy the health benefits of your own home grown Nasturtiums by adding the flowers and leaves to salads.  They give a delicious peppery tang to the the salad with the added benefit of helping your respiratory system at the same time.  You can also dry them to use as herb teas during the winter.

Last summer I experimented with making a herb vinegar using Nasturtium flowers.  I was so pleased with the result and its effectiveness against catarrh that I shall definitely be making a larger batch this year.   All you need to do is take two teaspoons a day if you have a stubborn cold or lingering catarrh.

Here’s the recipe:

Pick one cup of Nasturtium flowers and put them in a bottle with a peeled garlic clove. Pour over 500ml cider vinegar and ensure that all the herb material is covered by the liquid.  Leave for four weeks in a cool dark place and then strain and bottle.  A teaspoon of this vinegar twice a day will help ease stubborn catarrh. 

Nasturtium vinegar (on the right) with a mixed herb vinegar for dressings.

To find out more about Myrobalan Clinic please visit


About myrobalanclinic

I am a registered medical herbalist who uses a unique approach combining Tibetan Medicine with Western Herbal Medicine. I love my job - it is so rewarding seeing people taking control of their health and feeling healthier and more positive. I like to think that I help people get more out of life.
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7 Responses to Nasturtium – More Than Just a Pretty Face!

  1. Lucinda says:

    Very interesting. I haven’t really used nasturtiums in clinic before but started having a play with them last summer. Do you make your tincture with just the flowers or flower and leaf?

    • Hi Lucinda, I make a tincture using flowers and leaves, macerated in 25% HGNS alcohol. I was very excited by the results it brought in a patient suffering from long term Pseudomonas aeruginosa who could no longer tolerate antibiotics and in any case the antibiotics were not effective. It definitely helps to bring up stubborn sputum! It is wonderful to think that such a common garden herb has such amazing properties 🙂

      • Jesien says:

        Hello, I have read your interesting post. However, I wonder why did you macerate in alcohol then later use cider vinegar instead of other liquid?

      • Hi – In my blog I explained that I usually prepare the Nasturtium as a tincture for use in my herbal clinic as I work with tinctures blending them for individual patients. The Nasturtium vinegar described here in the blog is a different product. The flowers are macerated in vinegar from scratch, no part of this being previously macerated in alcohol. I am sorry if you found this confusing.

  2. Very interesting! I was wondering, since the glucotrapaeoline hydrolises to yield anti-microbial sulphur compounds, would this still be appropriate for people with sensitivities to sulphur pharmaceuticals? Thank you so much for sharing this wonderful information on such a beautiful flower:)

    • I am glad you enjoyed the post. Re your question it is often the case that people are able to tolerate whole plant extracts much better than individually isolated compounds. It would have to be a case of trying and seeing though, as everyone is different.

  3. That was kind of my thought train also, but wanted to get your input! Thank you so much!

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