watercress; the Cabbage family (Brassicaceae), or Cruciferae; watercress is medicinal
It is rare, but sometimes it happens that the Latin name of the plant completely matches the Russian or Ukrainian equivalent. However, it is even rarer that Latin and Ukrainian generic names coincide, and in Russian they mean a completely different plant. In the case of medicinal nasturtium, this is exactly what happened. Its Latin generic name is Nasturtium, that is, nasturtium, although the plant that is called nasturtium in Russia (Tropaeolum majus) does not look like it at all. Such interesting overlays sometimes occur with the scientific names of plants.
Medicinal nasturtium is a herbaceous perennial 10-60 cm tall, with a hollow, ascending, branched stem. It is lying and rooted near the base. The leaves are pinnately dissected, the lower ones have three, and the upper ones have three to seven pairs of oblong, notched, ridged lateral lobes. The apical part of the leaf is rounded or ovate. Four-petalled, white flowers, collected in short tassels, bloom from May to September. The fruit is a pod. The plant grows near streams, springs, in swamps, and sometimes in the water itself. It occurs quite rarely, more often in the southern regions of Russia, and in Ukraine – in the Carpathians, in the west of the forest-steppe and southwest of the steppe zone, in the mountains and the southern part of Crimea, in Roztochchi-Opilla.
Nasturtium is used only in traditional medicine, and more often — fresh plant, because it loses most of its active substances when dried. The grass is harvested during the flowering period, cutting it with a knife or sickle.
Fresh raw materials contain essential oil, glycoside gluconasturcin, organic acids, tannins, sugars, carotene (provitamin A), ascorbic acid (vitamin C), vitamins B1, B2 , E, macro- and microelements, including iodine (5 mg %).
Nasturtium has many valuable medicinal properties: diuretic, anti-inflammatory, mild laxative and anti-allergic. It has been experimentally proven that it also has an anthelmintic effect.
Thanks to the essential oil, similar in composition to mustard, high content of various vitamins, macro- and microelements, products from the fresh plant are recommended for the treatment of various skin diseases, especially itchy eczema. Medicinal nasturtium also helps with diseases of the thyroid gland, it is used to treat severe bronchitis with purulent sputum. But these are not all the healing properties of the plant. It is used for gastritis, acute and chronic nephritis, gallstone and urolithiasis, jaundice, scurvy, anemia. The most convenient form of nasturtium consumption is a salad of fresh leaves (hence the name watercress salad) or fresh plant juice.
The plant is cultivated as a spice (for seasoning) in Western Europe and the USA.
Fresh leaf salad. 1-2 handfuls of fresh leaves, chopped as a salad, once a day for 3-4 weeks.
Fresh plant juice. 1 teaspoon 3 times a day.