Blog Herbs and Spices I

Indian cress facts and health benefits

Nasturtium, Tropaeolum majus, commonly referred to as Indian cress, is a very fashionable and cottagey plant, discovered in many gardens – however not usually regarded as an herb. It’s a species of flowering plant within the family Tropaeolaceae. The plant originated in South America in the Andes from Peru, Bolivia north to Colombia. It was introduced into Europe in the sixteenth century and elsewhere subsequently. A number of the most popular widespread names of the crops are Climbing Nasturtium, Widespread Nasturtium, Empress of India, Backyard Nasturtium, Indian Cress, Monks Cress, Nasturtium and giant Indian cress. It’s extensively cultivated, each as an ornamental and as a medicinal plant.

Genus identify comes from the Greek word tropaion which means a trophy and the Latin phrase tropaeum named by Linnaeus for its similarity to a classical trophy. Nasturtiums are warm weather annuals which were in style in herb gardens, cottage gardens and flower gardens for a few years. Cultivars and hybrids bought underneath the identify of Tropaeolum majus are usually known as widespread nasturtiums or garden nasturtiums. This herbaceous annual adds up rainbows of cheerful shade in annual beds and borders. Its trailing cultivars are used on low fences or trellises, on a gravelly or sandy slope, or in a dangling container. Nasturtiums aren’t only grown for their lovely flowers but in addition as a result of each their leaves and flowers are edible and utilized in salads, revealing a gently peppery style.

Plant Description

Indian cress is a sprawling or climbing, succulent annual or short-lived herbaceous, quick rising perennial herb that grows about 3–6 ft. (0.91–1.83 m) tall. The plant is found rising in disturbed sites particularly adjoining to gardens and dumps, shrub land, herb subject, wetland, stream sides, watercourses (i.e. riparian vegetation), city bush land, roadsides, railways and waste areas. The plant thrives in poor to average, slightly acidic soil and prefers well-drained soil. The stems and leaf stalks (i.e. petioles) are pale green in colour, hairless (i.e. glabrous) and considerably fleshy (i.e. succulent).


The inexperienced or barely bluish-green leaves are borne on stalks (i.e. petioles) which might be 5-30 cm lengthy which might be hooked up to the middle of the leaf undersides (i.e. the leaves are peltate). These leaves (Four-15 cm across) are rounded in shape (i.e. orbicular) with whole, wavy (i.e. undulate), or slightly lobed (i.e. sinuate) margins. Leaves are hairless (i.e. glabrous) and have quite a few outstanding veins that radiate outwards from the middle of the leaf blade.


Flowers are borne singly within the upper leaf forks (i.e. axils) on stalks about 15-25 cm lengthy. These flowers are 2.5-7 cm across and have five yellow, orange or pink petals which are 2.5-6 cm long and five sepals which are 1-2 cm long which are fused together at the base. One in every of these sepals is shaped right into a nectar-bearing spur (2.5-4 cm lengthy) that is either straight or slightly curved. Flowers also have eight stamens and an ovary topped with a method and stigma. Flowering happens principally in spring, but in addition in summer time and autumn. Flowers are seen blooming from July to September.


Fertile flowers are adopted by fruit that consists of a set of 3 indehiscent, 1-seeded carpels or nuts. They’re broadly ovate with outstanding longitudinal ridges. Each single nut is 9-14mm long and 6-8mm across, pale inexperienced at first turning pale brown when mature. They fall off without any mechanical dispersion, however since they will float, they are indifferent successfully by movement of water.

Fashionable sorts of Indian cress

Some readily available cultivars of Indian cress embrace:

a. Alaska collection

It has closely variegated leaves (green mottled with creamy white) on bushy crops with vibrant single flowers in quite a lot of colours held above the foliage.

b. Empress of India

It has an excellent single crimson purple flowers and dark, purplish foliage. It’s a basic compact variety that’s good in pots.

c. Gleam

It has double flowers in a mixture of colours on semi-trailing crops about 12 inches tall.

d. Jewel collection

It is a bushy, dwarf crops with double and semi-double flowers in pink, pink, yellow and orange. It has uncommon fluted petals that add curiosity to containers.

e. Jewel of Africa

It is a trailing sort with variegated leaves.

f. Peach Melba

It has semi-double yellow flowers with a red-orange throat. It’s a dwarf plant that is good in containers.

g. Tip Prime collection

It’s an improved ‘Alaska,’ with mottled and noticed leaves and brilliant flowers in yellow, purple and orange.

h. Tom Thumb collection

It’s a shorter (6-9”) sort with giant, vivid blooms in brilliant yellow, purple and orange. It is thought-about a sensible choice for smaller gardens.

i. Vesuvius

It has sensible deep orange flowers on compact crops.

j. Whirlybird’ collection

It’s a compact, mid-green crops (9-12”) with semi-double flowers in shades of orange, yellow, salmon, deep mahogany and rose. The ruffled flowers lack the standard flower spur, in order that they sit flat on the tops of the stems.

okay. Canary Creeper

It is truly a unique species (T. peregrinum) that may be a perennial vine in zones 9-11 or grown as an annual. It has vibrant yellow, fringed flowers that look considerably like fowl’s wings and 5-lobed, mild green leaves. It is rather fast rising.

Health Benefits of Indian cress

Both leaves and petals of the nasturtium plant are loaded with vitamin and include high levels of vitamin C. It has the power to enhance the immune system, tackling sore throats, coughs, and colds, in addition to bacterial and fungal infections. It also incorporates excessive quantities of manganese, iron, flavonoids, and beta carotene. Listed under are few of the popular health benefits of utilizing Indian Cress

1. Keep health of respiratory system

The plant has been recognized to be effective in treating issues associated to the higher respiratory system. It is among the greatest recognized cures for remedy towards cough and bronchitis.

2. Keep the health of urinary tract

It has been recognized to be efficient in treating quite a few urinary tract issues as it tends to possess anti-bacterial as well as anti-viral properties. It prevents improvement of any urinary tract infections and any symptoms associated to similar.

3. Keep digestive health

The herb has been recognized to advertise the digestive health of the body and helps in clean functioning of the body. The herb has been recognized to assist in straightforward absorption of vitamins and therefore keep the health of the overall system.

4. Wholesome functioning of mind

One of many lesser recognized advantages of this herb is its capacity to advertise wholesome functioning of mind. It tends to promote healthy sign transmission and subsequently also prevents points comparable to Alzheimer’s from occurring.

5. Useful towards insomnia

The plant has been recognized to be efficient in treating sleeping issues comparable to insomnia. It calms the nerves and thus promotes healthy sleep.

6. Selling New Blood Cells Formation

In far more critical case like blood disorder, utilizing nasturtium leaves as part of natural remedy is very beneficial as a result of years of expertise and current research discovered that nasturtium leaves could be very efficient in promoting the formation of latest blood cells in the physique.

7. Hair-growth Stimulation

Nasturtium plant isn’t only lovely to see but in addition rich of useful properties. One of the benefits of this plant is as pure hair remedy. Thinning hair may be not as critical as it sound however for ladies, this condition is a worst nightmare. It may be confirmed by how much money they’ll spend for wholesome hair. Applying the paste of nasturtium leaves in your scalp might assist stimulate the capillaries and improve the circulation of blood, vitamins and oxygen in your scalp. Good circulation means good hair progress.

8. Good for Pores and skin

Nasturtium leaves include antiseptic properties which might enable you to preventing micro organism successfully. Use it as masks might allow you to getting rid of pimples out of your face and the vitamin C contained on this flower crops might make the look of your pores and skin fairer and stability the tone of your pores and skin.

Traditional makes use of and benefits of Indian cress

  • It is utilized in Andean natural drugs as a disinfectant and wound-healing herb, and as an expectorant to relieve chest circumstances.
  • All elements of the plant look like antibiotic and an infusion of the leaves can be utilized to extend resistance to bacterial infections and to clear nasal and bronchial catarrh.
  • Treatment appears to both scale back catarrh formation and stimulate the clearing and coughing up of phlegm.
  • It’s used to treat wounds and infections of the urinary tract and the respiratory tract (comparable to bronchitis, anginas and flu).
  • Historically, Indian cress has been used as a stimulant for hair progress.
  • Ornamental flowers have been used as a topical wound remedy to stop the onset of infections.
  • Flowers are also notably effective in addressing numerous respiratory circumstances resembling bronchial asthma, bronchitis, inflammatory illnesses, and cough in addition to cold, flu, and emphysema.
  • Decorative flowers are found to enhance the physique’s digestive profile.
  • It is shown to spice up liver perform and performance in addition to enhance the organ’s bile secretion.
  • Plant’s antibiotic properties also help relieve sore throat.
  • Edible flower is proven to lower the danger of creating diabetes.
  • Nasturtiums are found to deal with numerous kidney and urinary tract illnesses.
  • Edible flower is traditionally used to relieve muscle ache and increase each physical and psychological health.
  • It’s recognized to manage menstrual cycles in ladies and enhance sex drive in males.
  • It is found to deal with numerous pores and skin issues reminiscent of impurities, rashes, and accidents in addition to relieve hair and scalp illnesses.
  • It’s also recognized to alleviate eye illnesses.
  • When utilized externally, it might additionally work towards numerous fungal infections, together with a yeast infection.
  • Moreover, it was used historically to treat muscular pain.
  • It has lengthy been used in Andean herbal drugs as a disinfectant and wound-healing herb, and as an expectorant to relieve chest circumstances.
  • All elements of the plant look like antibiotic and an infusion of the leaves can be used to extend resistance to bacterial infections and to clear nasal and bronchial catarrh.
  • Treatment seems to each scale back catarrh formation and stimulate the clearing and coughing up of phlegm.
  • Glycoside discovered within the plant reacts with water to supply an antibiotic.
  • Plant has antibiotic properties in the direction of aerobic spore forming bacteria.
  • Extracts from the plant have anticancer activity.
  • Plant is taken internally within the remedy of genito-urinary illnesses, respiratory infections, scurvy and poor pores and skin and hair circumstances.
  • Externally it makes an efficient antiseptic wash and is used within the remedy of baldness, minor injuries and pores and skin eruptions.
  • Plant is antiseptic, diuretic, antiscorbutic and expectorant and subsequently good for head colds.
  • Plant is ingested internally in the remedy of genitourinary illnesses, respiratory infections, scurvy and poor pores and skin and hair circumstances.
  • It is a medicinal herb popularly used in Brazil for remedy of inflammatory and cardiovascular illnesses.
  • It has lengthy been utilized in Andean herbal drugs as a disinfectant and wound-healing herb and as an expectorant to relieve chest circumstances by decreasing catarrh formation and stimulate the clearing and coughing up of phlegm.
  • Recent leaves have been used in conventional drugs for the remedy of contaminated wounds and the gall bladder, as diuretic, as aphrodisiac and as remedy towards continual illnesses similar to obstructive pulmonary illness, cystitis pyelitis and infections of kidneys and bladder.
  • Leaves are reported to own antibacterial, anti-fungal, antiseptic, aperient, depurative, diuretic, emmenagogue, expectorant, purgative, aphrodisiac, vulnerary, rejuvenative, anti-neoplastic, demulcent, laxative and stimulant activities.

Culinary Makes use of

  • Flower has most frequently been consumed, making for an particularly ornamental salad ingredient.
  • Unripe seed pods could be harvested and dropped into spiced vinegar to supply a condiment and garnish.
  • Leaves are used as flavoring in combined salads.
  • Chopped recent leaves may be added to cream cheeses and numerous egg dishes to offer a pepper-like taste.
  • Flowers look great as garnishes.
  • Fruits might be chopped and used as an alternative of horseradish when making a tartar sauce.
  • Leaves might be consumed uncooked and has scorching watercress.
  • Younger seed pods are consumed raw.
  • These are even hotter than the flowers or leaves.
  • They may also be harvested while immature and pickled to be used as a caper substitute.
  • Dried mature seeds may be floor right into a powder and used as a pepper substitute or pressed to make oil.
  • Nasturtium flowers bud and leaves have a peppery flavor just like watercress and could be eaten raw.
  • Nasturtium flower is likely one of the hottest and best-known edible flowers with engaging blossoms which have a candy, peppery spicy flavor just like watercress.
  • Buds and flowers could be added to salads, sandwich spread, vegetable dishes and butter and can be used to flavor vinegar or stuffed or crystallized.
  • Flowers combine properly with cream cheese or butter in canapés or in a cheese and tomato sandwich.
  • Buds can be utilized as caper substitute.
  • Blossoms make a nutritious addition to salads and could be a lovely, decorative garnish to steak and casseroles.
  • Leaves and young leafy shoots as well as pickled fruits and flower buds can be used for seasoning.
  • Some recipes with nasturtium flowers reported embrace nasturtium salad vinegar, nasturtium cheese dip and grilled aubergine salad with egg and nasturtium flowers.
  • Flowers make beautiful garnishes for meat, fish or vegetable dishes.

Different uses

  • Seeds yield a high proportion of a drying oil that can be used in making paints, varnish and so on.
  • An insecticide could be produced from an infusion of leaves and cleaning soap flakes.
  • Indian cress is usually planted in gardens and its leaves and flowers are used to embellish dishes or eaten with salad.
  • Indian cress is a well-liked decorative garden plant.
  • Indian cress are additionally extensively thought-about as useful companion crops as they repel many insect pests and appeal to useful predatory insects, they are also useful as lure crop towards black fly aphids.

Other Totally different uses for Indian cress

Nasturtiums are edible

Not solely do they appear good, however they taste great too. In truth, you possibly can eat all the plant! Leaves have a slightly warm peppery taste just like watercress. Flowers are milder and the seeds, although scorching and fragrant, are edible too. Phrases of warning nevertheless, by no means eat any flower or plant that has been handled with pesticides or different chemical compounds!

Wealthy in minerals

Leaves are excessive in vitamin C, iron and different minerals and the flowers are plentiful in nutritional vitamins B1, B2, B3 and C and additionally include manganese, iron, phosphorus and calcium.

Pest repellent

These herbs work in several ways to deter pests. Nasturtiums masks the scent of crops which might be commonly targeted by pests, disguise the leaves of meals crops that pests are in search of and actively repel certain pests and appeal to others as a lure crop.  They pack a real punch by secreting a mustard oil that some insects are interested in.

Medicinal health benefits

Leaves have highly effective antibiotic, antimicrobial, antioxidant and basic tonic actions, help digestion and have apparently been discovered to be effective towards some microorganisms which might be immune to widespread antibiotics, assist forestall and relieve coughs, colds and flu and eating 3 seeds day by day helps construct up resistance to viruses, colds and measles. One leaf eaten per hour as quickly as you get a sore throat can severely scale back the severity of the infection. Additionally it is used as an expectorant, anti-fungal and antiseptic.

Companion crops

In line with the helpful guide ‘Permaculture Plants’ nasturtiums additionally makes great companion crops to turnips, radishes, cucumbers and zucchini.

Appeal to useful bugs

Candy nectar in the flower attracts useful pollinating insects like bees and butterflies, hoverflies (that feed on pests) and nectar eating birds.

Nice worth area fillers for frugal gardeners

Wholesome plant can cowl three square meters so that you save heaps by not having to purchase a lot of other crops to cover the same area.

Cheerful reduce flowers

Decide them and pop in a vase in your eating table or kitchen bench with their engaging foliage they make a reasonably edible arrangement. They maintain nicely in water but even better, eat them or use as a garnish with each meal and then replenish from your backyard! The brilliant inexperienced rounded leaves are just as engaging because the flowers.

Long flowering plant

These annual prolific bloomers provide great worth flowering for extended durations a lot of the yr till frost.

Heaps of free seeds

You get a huge variety of new nasturtium crops from only one!  When the flower dies off, a seed head varieties. In the event you don’t decide and save these, they may voluntarily drop to the bottom and self sow.

Colourful plant

Nasturtiums should be probably the most cheerful flowers to have in your garden. Some varieties have variegated leaves so you’ll be able to take pleasure in stripy white and inexperienced colors as properly.

Dwelling Mulch/Floor Cowl

Due to the plentiful leaf progress, Indian cress makes fantastic mulch when you chop and drop it around your crops. Or develop nasturtiums as a ground cowl to shade your soil and scale back moisture loss. It’s going to break down and decompose at the finish of their life, including vitamins to your soil.

Fast flowers and dwelling paintings

Indian cress crops develop shortly and are an awesome selection for masking a horizontal or vertical space in a short area of time.

Taste improver

Indian cress is a wonderful companion for many crops, enhancing their progress and taste.

Great garnish

Each Indian cress leaves and flowers make fairly garnishes on any plate.

Weed out weeds

As soon as established, the thick cover of Indian cress leaves and flowers will present sufficient shade to beat most weed competition.

Poultry pharmacy

Sharp chooks will benefit from the strongly antiseptic and medicinal properties in the leaves. Given a chance your chickens will snack on the seeds and self-medicate. Indian cress is a vermifuge (de-wormer) so is sweet to use for worming your chickens. It’s also great for chooks with nervous ailments and melancholy. The robust scent also repels annoying insect pests. Toss them in together with your hen’s common feed.

Aromatic flowers

Mild spicy fragrance offers a fragile scent, notably planted near a seating space.

Make lovely pressed flowers

In case you are crafty or have youngsters, making your personal wrapping paper, playing cards and different craft is a good way to protect the great thing about these pretty flowers and leaves.

Ways to make use of nasturtium

Essential oils extracted from Indian cress can be used to deal with widespread colds, whereas tinctures constructed from the flower are effective in combating hair loss. Likewise, the flowers could be added to tub water to treat numerous skin issues. Edible flower may also be made into a strong tea to relieve pores and skin and eye circumstances. However, its leaves are a superb salad green while the small buds may be pickled. Leaves and stems also make for a really perfect pesto various.

Nasturtium Pesto



  1. Convey a large pot of water to a boil; put together an ice-water tub and put aside.
  2. Add nasturtium leaves to boiling water; prepare dinner for 10 seconds.
  3. Drain and switch to ice-water tub until cool. Drain and put aside.
  4. Place leaves, pine nuts, garlic, and oil in the jar of a blender; blend till clean.
  5. Switch mixture to a medium bowl and fold in stems and cheese.


  • If taken throughout early pregnancy, it’d induce menstruation and trigger a miscarriage.
  • Pregnant or breastfeeding ladies shouldn’t use this herb.
  • Individuals with kidney illnesses or ulcers of the stomach or intestinal tract shouldn’t use this herb in any type either.
  • Keep away from for infants or young children and sufferers with gastrointestinal ulcers or kidney illness, Irritation of the mucous membrane of the gastrointestinal tract.
  • Extra use might cause skin irritation.
  • Because of the high content material of oxalic acid within the leaves, it might be advised to be prevented by those affected by kidney stones.
  • Anybody presently taking treatment should seek the advice of their health care practitioner before including new compounds to their personal care routine, in case of attainable interactions or unwanted side effects.
  • It is unsafe for youngsters to use nasturtium by mouth. There’s additionally not sufficient details about the security in youngsters when applied on pores and skin instantly.
  • Avoid taking nasturtium if in case you have stomach or intestinal ulcers. It’s unsafe for you.
  • Nasturtium could be protected for adults when immediately utilized to the skin along with other natural cures. Nevertheless, it causes negative effects of pores and skin irritation if used for very long time.