Nasturtiums – Not Just a Pretty Face

Nasturtiums can grow just about anywhere, despite originating in sub-tropical climates. Nasturtiums can be grown in the UK but will be more of an annual than a perennial plant. You need to ensure that they get sun for most of the day for best results. It is a great idea to have nasturtiums as a pot plant near your kitchen. They can grow in almost any soil but rich soil means that the plant produces more leaves than flowers. Not only will their sunny flowers provide a great show, you will find that they make a great addition to summer salads.

Their peppery flavour makes for a great contrast with lettuce. There are a lot of health benefits when it comes to nasturtiums and you can use almost all parts of the plant. The flowers and leaves are full of vitamin C and make a colourful addition to salads. Substitute rocket for nasturtium leaves for a healthy boost. The leaves are a very strong natural antibiotic and, if you eat one every hour at the onset of a sore throat, they will reduce the duration and severity of the infection. The leaves were traditionally used to treat urinary tract infections and for respiratory tract infections and also for flu, sore throats and bronchitis.

The leaves have been used as a remedy for scurvy and blood disorders. In ancient times, South Americans would use the nasturtium to stimulate hair growth. Science has recently proven that they were correct and that the sap from the flowers and buds can stimulate hair growth by stimulating the capillaries in the scalp that feed the hair follicles. To make a refreshing air treatment, mix one cup each of nettles, rosemary and nasturtiums. Place in two litres of water and bring to the boil. Allow to simmer for fifteen minutes. Allow it to cool down and then strain off the plant matter. Massage properly into the scalp, leave on for a little while and then rinse out.

Keep whatever is left over in the fridge. For a quicker version, simply use a mix of one cup of flowers and buds in a litre of water and then follow the rest of the steps as described again. The humble nasturtium can truly be thought to be the king of flowers.

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