Is Nasturtium Poisonous Or Edible?

Is Nasturtium Poisonous Or Edible?

What tastes pungent, bitter or otherwise “extreme” is quickly classified as inedible or even poisonous. In fact, poisonous plants usually signal the dangerous ingredients through their taste. But is the nasturtium also poisonous? Or is the decorative plant not edible after all?

Poisonous or not

South American blood flower is especially popular because of its bright, large-sized flowers. Whether in the garden, on the balcony or even the home windowsill, it delights countless amateur gardeners. But also hobby cooks profit from it. Especially the decorative blossoms are used in the kitchen to decorate salads with intense splashes of color, to garnish desserts or to enhance other dishes. Therefore, you can confidently assume that Tropaeolum should at least not be so dangerous that it can harm people.

This assessment is exactly right, because in fact, not only the decorative flower decoration can be safely eaten. In addition, all components of the nasturtium are not poisonous and therefore edible:

  • Roots
  • Stems
  • Leaves
  • Blossoms

NOTE: In Peru, the native country of the nasturtium, the bulbous root thickenings of the bulbous nasturtium Tropaeolum tuberosum are even cultivated and harvested specifically. Similar to potatoes, they can be boiled or roasted and eaten whole or as a paste. Thus, it used to contribute as a staple food to the sustenance of indigenous tribes.

The taste

In principle, edibility is of course first defined by whether a plant is toxic or harmless from a medicinal point of view. Beyond that, taste also determines whether a plant can actually earn a standing as a food. Various descriptions by testers, cooks and gardeners result in a rounded taste picture with the following characteristics:

  • Spicy
  • Slightly spicy
  • Similar to rocket (both cruciferous plants)

The pungency comes mainly from the mustard oils contained. This substance, which is actually contained as a protective mechanism of the nasturtium, is completely harmless to humans and even rounds out the portfolio of valuable contents. Beyond the mustard oils, these other substances are contained:

  • Vitamins, especially vitamin C
  • Minerals
  • Trace elements

NOTE: Originally, mustard oil is contained in the intact plant as mustard oil glycoside. Only when the cells are destroyed by tearing, chewing, etc. does the substance react with the enzyme myosinase, which is also present, to form mustard oil. It is the oil itself that causes the pungent taste. Although this is irrelevant to the eater, one could say that the nasturtium thus only becomes pungent through the eating process itself.

Health-promoting properties

Sometimes nasturtium is even described as a medicinal plant. This is because the combination of ingredients is said to have numerous positive effects on the human organism, which have also been repeatedly medically proven today:

  • Promotion of blood circulation
  • Stimulation of appetite and digestion
  • Promotion of blood purification
  • Stimulation of all organs

Antibiotic effect against bacteria, viruses and fungi due to mustard oil
However, the active ingredients of nasturtium can be obtained much easier today by other means, so that it is disappearing more and more as a widespread remedy and plays a role at most in naturopathy.

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