Nasturtium - colorful, healthy and flower of love
The Nasturtium combines good taste, beautiful flowers and healing power, thrives in the shade, on the balcony as well as in the garden and requires little maintenance. It is easy to plant and keeps predators such as insects and snails away. So all in all a dream plant for the herb garden. Here are the most important facts:
- Nasturtium contains mustard oil glycosides that inhibit inflammation and act against bacteria, fungi and viruses.
- In addition, the plant tastes very good and almost all parts are edible.
- As a strongly climbing plant, nasturtium is also ideal for greening garages, backyards, balconies or house walls and it produces aesthetically pleasing flowers.
Nasturtium contains iron, potassium, magnesium, sulfur and phosphorus as well as vitamin C. It is therefore suitable for a healthy diet. Their pungent taste continues to show the mustard oil glycosides present. These serve to prevent microbes that damage the plant and act against bacteria, fungi and viruses. This also helps people who eat the plant: mustard oil glycosides are effective against staphylococci, coli bacteria and even against flu viruses. In envelopes on the skin, they stimulate blood circulation. The body breaks down the glycosides in the body through enzymes, and these benzyl soils irritate the tissue. Nasturtium acts as a natural antibiotic without any evidence of resistance developing.
Mustard oil glycosides
Mustard oil glycosides are chemical compounds that contain nitrogen and sulfur, which are formed from amino acids. They are secondary plant substances. They provide the typical taste of radish, mustard, horseradish, cabbage and nasturtium - hot and bitter at the same time. Mustard oil glycosides act to a large extent against bacteria. These substances, obtained from nasturtium and horseradish, are used in medicine to prevent respiratory diseases and urinary tract infections. They also inhibit inflammation. In Central Europe, these substances originally only occur in cruciferous vegetables, which do not include nasturtiums. In other words, the taste of nasturtium is somewhat reminiscent of local mustard varieties, but the plants are not closely related. The mustard oil glycoside glucotropaeolin (GTL) present in the nasturtium is otherwise found in garden cress, garlic tendril, horseradish tree and maca.
Applied externally, nasturtium helps against inflamed airways, sinus infections, bronchitis and urinary tract infections, improves the healing of wounds, relieves digestive problems and works against mild skin injuries, rashes and acne.
The plants originally come from South America. The Incas used it as a medicinal herb and placed the leaves on wounds to promote healing. The Spanish conquerors brought them to Europe. This is where the nasturtium got its name because the calyxes reminded one of the hoods of the nasturtium. This association also led to names such as Pfaffenkapp, Mönchskapüzchen or Kapuzinerli. Salad flower and cress show that they have been used as food since their arrival in the Old World.
The "flower of love"
Benzyl isothiocyanate reduces tolerance to alcohol. Although you should avoid eating the plant and drinking alcohol at the same time, this disinhibition in the past led to the fact that nasturtium was considered an aphrodisiac - as a Flor de Amor or "flower of love". Good for general health that this once popular effect of nasturtiums is now almost forgotten.
The plant became popular in the 19th century. Doctors now knew that the "sea sickness" scurvy was due to a lack of vitamin C. That contains the South American herb in quantities. The seeds are easy to store, and capuchin presses can also be pulled on ships with the right soil, as well as in the apartment blocks of the poor, where the lack of vitamins was widespread among residents. In 1958, a Dr. Winter that the benzyl mustard in flowers and leaves are a remedy for infected urinary and respiratory tract.
Tea for colds
Nasturtium can be used in many ways for medicinal purposes. A proven home remedy is a tea of the dried leaves for colds. These are grated and about two teaspoons of it are added to hot water. This then takes ten minutes and we drink the tea two to three times a day during a cold. To prevent a cold, you can regularly eat fresh leaves and flowers of the plant.
Nasturtiums can also be eaten raw. As a medicine, you can also make a tincture from 100 grams of fresh herbs, which you put in about 400 milliliters of clear schnapps. Seal the mixture tightly in a jar and let it rest for ten days. Then strain the liquid. For digestive problems, inflammation of the respiratory tract and other internal complaints, adults can take three drops three times a day.
How do I recognize nasturtiums?
Nasturtium can be easily recognized by its round leaves. The leaf blades have the shape of shields and are split like the fingers of a hand, botanists call this lobed. These leaves fall off in late summer, and flowers in yellow, orange to dark red emerge on the escalating tendrils, which seem almost too beautiful for a medicinal plant. Nasturtium climbs or creeps, depending on the possibilities for the tendrils. With appropriate fences, metal arches, walls, trees or house walls, the plants can grow up to three meters in height.
What types are common?
Around eight of the ninety or three types of nasturtium are cultivated as ornamental plants, but above all the large nasturtium, particularly as a medicinal and nutritional herb. Its young leaves spice salads, the flowers decorate soups, salads and main dishes, the closed buds can be soaked in vinegar or salt. The bulbous nasturtium plays a role in South America as a food, in Europe it is rather rare.
If you start as a hobby gardener, the nasturtium is an ideal beginner plant because it hardly demands anything. It likes the sun, but also prefers partial shade or even shade, but it does not proliferate as much. She likes less sandy and dry soils, but a layer of house compost helps to get over it easily.
A dark germ
Nasturtium is a dark germ, you press the seeds about 2 cm deep into the earth. The results quickly become apparent: the first cotyledons appear after a week or two, and a few weeks later you see an abundance of tendrils. You can also grow the seeds on the windowsill from March - normal garden soil is enough.
Moisture, no moisture
Nasturtium does not need any water, it can even damage the flowers. Both of you don't like dryness and waterlogging, the floor should always be slightly damp. Do not use fertilizer unless the soil is extremely lean. Then compost is enough. Due to its large leaves, the nasturtium evaporates a lot of water in summer. In Germany, this is usually not a problem thanks to the thunderstorms, but you should water early in the morning or in the evening if the drought is prolonged. Do not pour over the leaves, but near the ground.
A little tip: The wild nasturtium grows in the rocky area of streams in a stony environment. So if you don't have time to water, for example because your garden is separate from your apartment, you can also place the nasturtium around a garden pond or swamp bed. This also lends itself aesthetically if you have created this wetland and don't want to look at the pond liner: in a few weeks a layer of leaves will cover the new plant. It is even better if you plant the plant directly at the water connection in your garden or backyard and kill two birds with one stone: garden hose and faucet are rarely aesthetically pleasing - firstly, the nasturtium now benefits from the water that automatically drains off when you do it Fill watering can, secondly, it covers the technical part of the garden with a green and colorful blanket. From the beginning of June to September, you will be faced with a splendor of flowers that is almost too good to pick from simple turnouts. In Germany, not in their home country, the nasturtium is annual because the plant does not survive frost. In the vegetable patch, it is a good neighbor for all types of cabbage.
Since nasturtium grows quickly and forms dense leaves, it is ideal as a privacy screen and quickly fills up climbing aids both in height and in width. It is also ideally suited to transforming bare balcony grilles into a mini jungle and adorns garden gates as well as pavilions. Nasturtium is an insider tip for raised beds. Regardless of whether they are made of dead wood, metal, planks or plastic, the tendril soon covers the frame and is just as much a kitchen plant as the vegetables in the bed itself. For the yield zone, you ensure optimal use and good looks at the same time. Close meshed trellis nets are best, forming standing rectangles instead of squares. The young shoots pull up well on bamboo sticks and branches. The tendrils are thin, the plant juicy and soft without a woody structure - that's why it needs support with binding material, preferably elastic cords.
Nasturtium has an effective arsenal of "weapons" against harmful microorganisms, but the black aphids make it difficult. Remedies for these troublemakers are ladybird larvae, lacewings and nettle stock. Some gardeners even plant the abundant nasturtium as a catch for aphids. Instead of various, sometimes more sensitive plants, the masses of the eaters then concentrate on the nasturtium and are easy to strip off.
Cooking with nasturtiums
Nasturtium is food as well as spice - the taste is peppery. That is why nasturtium is not recommended as the main ingredient in salads or soups, but as the icing on the cake. Then she refines quarks, yoghurts and dips, gives soups and sauces that certain something and enriches bland raw salads.
Wild herbs Salad
In the natural kitchen, nasturtium is a star in the wild herb salad. For example, it can be combined well with Giersch, Swiss chard, spinach, lamb's lettuce, tomatoes, cucumbers and pumpkins. The seasoning goes well with pasta, potatoes, Jerusalem artichokes and rice. A flower pot pourri on such a wild herb salad is not very common. In addition to the flowers of the nasturtium, you can take the flowers of dandelions, daisies and daisies and as a basis, for example, Giersch, dandelion leaves (then you need sweetener in the dressing), steamers, raw chard or spinach. If you use dandelion flowers, you must collect and freeze them in April - when the nasturtium blooms, the dandelions are long gone in all winds.
A salad made from mango, mint and nasturtium is unusual, but delicious. To do this, cut the mango into cubes and pluck the leaves from mint and cress, stir in a dressing made from a little vegetable oil and balsamic vinegar, pour it over the mango cubes and sprinkle the leaves over it. A tomato salad also wins with nasturtium. To do this, cut several tomatoes into quarters, a cucumber and a spring onion into slices. Do not use ordinary onions because the nastiness of nasturtium and onion are too much of a good thing. You mix tomato, cucumber and spring onions, sprinkle the leaves of the nasturtium over them and top it off with an oil-balsamic dressing. The recipe also works with flowers of the nasturtium, whereby yellow and orange flowers harmonize very well with the red of the tomatoes and the green of the cucumber.
Herb butter and scrambled eggs
Herb butter with nasturtium is also a good change. To do this, allow a pack of butter to warm up, preferably in a water bath, and sprinkle the shredded leaves or flowers into it. You can also add other culinary herbs: fit parsley and chives. Nasturtium is ideal for scrambled eggs and generally for egg dishes (such as omelets), for casseroles, salmon and trout, for poultry and game dishes.
Bread with nasturtium: This medicinal herb works well on a cold platter with sandwiches. Traditionally, instead of the usual parsley, you can sprinkle the nasturtium leaves over buns with hard-boiled eggs or put the leaves in a mayonnaise, which you place on cooked turkey breast.
You can also make a pesto by mixing the shredded leaves with garlic, parmesan and pine nuts, adding olive oil, mashing everything in a blender and sealing in a jar. Variants are a pesto with nasturtium, Giersch and walnuts as well as pesto with nasturtium and basil or pesto with nasturtium and dried tomatoes.
A healthy alternative to mayonnaise-heavy potato salad is a light version with nasturtium. Here, boil jacket potatoes until they soften, then peel and cut into slices. Prepare a dressing from vinegar and oil and season with salt and nasturtium. You can also add peppers such as tomato cubes, cucumber pieces or boiled pumpkin balls.
For a soup you can boil, for example, young nettle leaves, potatoes, carrots and greed, add nasturtiums to the finished soup and puree everything in the blender. With soups with nasturtiums, the possibilities are immense: you can use potatoes, carrots, peas, lentils or chickpeas as a basis, lovage, parsley or marjoram as an additional seasoning. Basically, boil everything together with the nasturtium and then puree it in the blender.
Who should avoid nasturtiums?
Mustard oils - and therefore all the plants they contain - are too spicy for infants and young children. Nasturtium is also unsuitable if you suffer from gastric and intestinal ulcers and stomach inflammation. (Dr. Utz Anhalt)
Author and source information
This text corresponds to the specifications of the medical literature, medical guidelines and current studies and has been checked by medical doctors.
Dr. phil. Utz Anhalt, Barbara Schindewolf-Lensch
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