Local, Sustainable, Wildcrafted Nasturtium Tincture

Tropaeolum majus, otherwise known as Nasturtium was first introduced in Europe from Peru in the 1600s. It has been used for thousands of years as a medicinal plant, primarily for its healing and disinfectant properties. The Peruvian Indians utilized the natural antibiotic qualities of nasturtium leaves to treat coughs. The leaves were eaten fresh daily or consumed as a tea. This lovely medicinal herb grows abundantly in my backyard, and I try to lean on this herb more so than others because it is local and sustainable. 

Traditionally, nasturtium has been used to treat the following conditions:

-Minor scrapes and cuts  

-common cold and flu

-formation of red blood cells

-treatment against scurvy

-hair loss/stimulate hair growth

-fungal and yeast infections

-muscular pain

-urinary tract infections

-respiratory infections

The parts of the plant that are used include the leaves, flowers, and seed pods. Regardless of what you are trying to heal with nasturtium, it is most effective when it’s used fresh and made into a compress for external use or into an infusion for internal infections. My family eats the leaves and flowers in our salads. I advise not harvesting more than about ⅓ of the leaves and flowers from plants you intend to keep harvesting from, as taking too much can weaken it. Nasturtium leaves have a high concentration of Vitamin C. Eating a couple of the peppery leaves at the onset of a cold can stop it dead in its tracks. The gentle antibiotic reaction makes it ideal for treating minor colds and flu. However, I have been using it lately for its strong ability to relieve symptoms of hay fever, sinusitis, colds & flu, including nasal congestion, sneezing, watery & itching eyes & headaches. I made a lovely tincture (recipe shared below) to preserve these for use in off seasons when the fresh flowers are no longer in bloom. You can also make a lovely Nasturtium glycerite which are sweet herbal tinctures that are a good alternative for children, animals, and adults when palatability and alcohol sensitivities are primary considerations. 

When the flowers are in bloom and abundant, you can get really creative in how you incorporate Nasturtium into your daily life. This website shares recipes for many different fun ways of eating Nasturtium, including Nasturtium Herb Vinaigrette, Pickled Nasturtium Seeds, Stuffed Nasturtium Flower, and Nasturtium & Potato Soup. The Herbal Academy shares a great way to use Nasturtium to naturally keep aphids and other garden pests at bay. 

Simple Nasturtium Antibiotic Tincture

Ingredients:

-2 cups Garlic

-2 cups Rosemary

-2 cups Nasturtium leaves and flowers (cleaned)

-4 cups Vodka 

Instructions:

Clean and dry a large mason jar. Peel the garlic and cut it into thin slices. Put it in a jar and let it soak with the rosemary and nasturtium leaves and flowers. Add the Vodka and close lid tightly. Let the mixture soak for 14 days, and then strain. The appropriate dose of nasturtium may depend on several factors such as the age, health and ailment. Take about 20 drops 3 times per day to combat infections and viruses. Always dilute the tincture in a small glass of water. 

 

WARNING: Nasturtium contains mustard oil and when used topically can cause skin irritation. Pregnant or breastfeeding women should not use this herb. People with kidney diseases or ulcers of the stomach or intestinal tract should not use this herb in any form either. Always consult a trained herbalist, experienced alternative medicine practitioner or a healthcare provider before using herbs as medicine.