Nifty Nasturtiums

Recently, as I was ‘weeding’ my garden, I found a little renegade nasturtium plant growing near my mint. I’ve always loved the vibrant orange flowers and so I decided to let it be and left it alone to grow and thrive. And boy, did it thrive! After just a few weeks I began to get worried by how much the plant was spreading. I recalled as a child being told that you could eat the leaves and so I thought this might be a way of limiting its growth spurt. But first I wanted to know what I was eating and so I looked it up – what an amazing little plant!

Easy to grow in the sun, it’s originally from South America and was traditionally used to help urinary tract infections, kidney problems and for their general antibiotic action.

The leaves have a high concentration of Vitamin C and also have natural antibiotic properties. It’s suggested that eating a few leaves when you first feel the flu coming on can actually stop the virus dead in its tracks. Because of its high Vitamin C concentration it has also been known to help with alleviating coughs and bronchitis.

The whole plant is edible – the leaves have a mild peppery flavour and are quite yummy in a salad. I also add the orange flowers to my salad because I believe the vibrant orange colour feeds my sacral chakra which is where I experience many of my creative impulses.

But it’s not only good for me it’s also good for my garden. I have a problem with woolly aphids and the nasturtium leaves allow me to make a natural insecticide to deter them. I  simply boil a cup of nasturtium leaves in a cup of water for ten minutes. I then strain it and dilute it with equal parts water and spray it on the affected plants. As with all natural insecticides it’s important to repeat the action a few times until the aphids are completely gone.

I’m no longer worried by how much the plant is growing, she’s so useful, I just can’t seem to get enough of her!

The following are links to delicious recipes for using this wonderful and uplifting plant!

Nasturtium Flower Vinegar: http://www.wikihow.com/Make-Nasturtium-Flower-Vinegar

Nasturtium Flower Sandwiches: http://www.wikihow.com/Make-Nasturtium-Flower-Sandwiches

Pickled Nasturtium Seeds (Like Capers) : http://www.wikihow.com/Pickle-Nasturtium-Seeds

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