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.
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.
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