In the Andes, in Bolivia, in Peru and in Columbia, nowdays people still use the essential oil and the antibiotic-effect mustard-oil for wound-healing, extracted from its leaves, flowers and buds.
Also known as Indian cress, it is very versatile: not only adorning the garden with its bright flowers, and it’s not a coincidence that it has earned the title: ‘Herb of the year’ in 2013 in Germany.
The famous impressionist painter, Claude Monet also grew nasturtium along the way to his home. We can see the line of the short-grown, orage nasturtium in the beautiful Giverny’s Garden in 1895.
Tropaleolum majus L., tropaleoum, nasturtium, Indian cress is belongs to the Tropaeolaceae family. It’s native to Peru, South-America, it’s hardy annual, its seeds are sowed directly in the garden in mid-April, and flowers bloom constantly from May to October.
These plants feature showy, long-stalked, spurred, funnel-shaped, 5-petaled flowers in shades of red, orange, yellow and cream. Flowers have a spicy fragrance. Rounded, long-petioled (about 30cm high) parasol-like leaves of these plants are peltate. Often called as the ‘dream flower of gardens’ as it barely needs nurturing: propagate by seeds and it will self seed anually.
Tropaeolum majus: phytochemical examination showed the presence of: glucotropaeolin, flavonoids (quercetin and kaempferol glycoside) anthocyanins (delphinidin, cyanidin and pelargronidin derivatives), carotenoids (lutein, zeaxanthin, carotene) phenol acids (chlorogenic acid) and vitamin C. Therefore, the essences of Tropaeolum majus L. shows antioxidant and anti-inflammatory actions in the experimental models and according to researches, it is able to kill more then 40 types of bacteria, e.g. Staphylococcus.
Every aboveground part of the plant is edible, but it only has its antibacterial effect when raw-extruded. Out of all edible plants, nasturtium contains the most lutein (45mg/100gr). Due to its pleasant taste and vitamin C, iron and calium content, it is perfect for consumption.
If we keep the buts in vinegary-salty liquid, we get a highly seasoned spice. The taste of its flower reminds of pepper, ruccola or radish. Often consumed with cheese and salad.
In the garden it can be partnered with cucurbitaceae, tomatos and celery. Nasturtium protects them from aphides, because it attracts them with its young, juicy chits, but it banishes the cabbage-butterflies, thrips, ants, snails. Putting them around fruit trees, it keeps woolly aphids away. It’s also effective in the expulsion of worns, snails, ants and gophers.
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- Jurca T,Baldea I, Filip GA, Diana Olteanu D, Clichici S, Pallag A, Vicaş L, Marian E, Micle O, Crivii CB, Mureşan M, A Phytocomplex Consisting of Tropaeolum majusL. and Salvia officinalis L. Extracts Alleviates the Inflammatory Response of Dermal Fibroblasts to Bacterial Lipopolysaccharides, Oxidative Medicine and Cellular Longevity, Volume 2020, p.1-14, https://doi.org/10.1155/2020/8516153.