Garden Nasturtium
Tropaeolum majus

Garden Nasturtium is an annual plant with shield-shaped leaves without leaflets, which are located on long petioles. The stem is fleshy, strongly branched, smooth and often grows up to 1 m in length. Flowers solitary, bisexual, zygomorphic, endowed with a pleasant aroma. Petals five, orange with red stripes, cilia along the base of the petals.

Fruit - dry, divided into three parts, one seed in each part. When ripe, the fruit splits open and the seeds spill out. The plant begins to bloom in early summer and continues to bloom until late autumn. All parts of the plant have a spicy smell and taste.

The above-ground part of the plant (leaves, flowers, fruits and seeds) is used for medicinal purposes. The leaves and flowers are used fresh throughout the summer. When harvesting the above-ground part of the plant, the leafy and flowering parts of the stems must be carefully cut. The stems are dried in the shade, in the fresh air. The collected material is spread on sieves, in a thin layer, regularly stirring the drug during drying.

Fruits for culinary purposes are harvested unripe, but for medicinal purposes they are harvested only ripe, after drying in fresh air or in forced dryers, not exceeding 40C temperature. After drying, remove the seeds from the boxes.

Garden Nasturtium is able to regrow quickly in the above-ground part, so it can be harvested twice and sometimes even three times during the season. The obtained drug is stored in cloth bags, in a dry and well-ventilated room. The drug can be stored for 2 years.

The chemical composition of Garden Nasturtium is currently insufficiently studied. However, it is known that the surface part contains a lot of vitamin C. Their quantity in fresh leaves tends to reach up to 45%, in stems 10-15%. The seeds contain an essential oil - benzyl nitrogen cyanate. In addition, Garden Nasturtium contains a lot of sulfur and carotene, iodine, potassium and phosphorus.

Medicinal significance

Garden Nasturtium is not used in official medicine, it is a distinct folk medicine. However, its medicinal properties are valuable: it has a beneficial effect on the nervous system, stimulates the immune system, improves the functioning of the cardiovascular system, improves appetite, accelerates the metabolism, helps to remove toxins and toxins from the body.

Few people in Latvia know that the Garden Nasturtium has many medicinal properties, because the plant is not local and can be found in nature, basically, only in gardens. Its homeland is South America and there it is used to treat more than 100 diseases.

Dried leaves and flowers are used to relieve depression, depression, increased irritability and nervous tension. Scurvy, anemia, skin rashes and kidney stone disease are treated with water solutions. Decoctions with honey are used to rinse the mouth to prevent various infectious diseases and stomatitis.

In Europe, this plant is used quite often and has its own contraindications. In Germany, Garden Nasturtium juice is used to treat chronic bronchial catarrh.

Mainly, preparations of Garden Nasturtium are used to treat lung diseases, colds, angina, respiratory diseases, lymph node inflammations, kidney and gallstone diseases, scurvy, weakness, vitamin deficiency, anemia, skin rashes, atherosclerosis, helminthosis, fever, intoxications, impotence, angina pectoris and cardiac ischemia, hypertension, cystitis, urethritis, burns, lipomas, warts, polyps, thyroid diseases, rheumatism, gout, diabetes, baldness, scabies, as well as during the climacteric period.

Not recommended for use

When using Garden Nasturtium in large quantities and often, it can irritate the mucous walls of the digestive tract, so people who suffer from stomach ulcers and gastritis should use this plant carefully.

The plant is not recommended during pregnancy and lactation, and it is also not recommended to treat small children with it. The plant can also cause an allergic reaction.

Importance of food

The above-ground part of Garden Nasturtium is edible, especially the leaves, flower buds and unripe fruits. Mainly, the harvested parts are used for salads. Wine extracts are also often prepared to obtain a vitaminized tonic.

The peculiarity of the plant is its mild spiciness and the acidity provided by vitamin C. Therefore, it is widely used as a supplement rather than as an individual food item.