Known to botanists and herbalists as Tropaeolum majus, nasturtium is a lovely plant with flowers in deep and vibrant colors that was once a common feature of every garden. Not to be confused with Nasturtium officinale (watercress), this plant with round and peppery leaves is less of a salad ingredient and more of a natural remedy. Meso-Americans and other civilizations have used the plant for its antibiotic properties, to heal urinary tract conditions, and to prevent scurvy. In medieval times, nasturtium was known as Indian cress and served as a staple of a healthy diet.
Rich in vitamin C, nasturtium is a fantastic adjuvant. Whenever you feel a cold coming on, chew some nasturtium leaves or make yourself a warm tea from its flowers to ward off the sniffles. While vitamin C helps your immune system fight bacteria, viruses, and fungi, doctors do not recommend nasturtium as a long-term solution. Instead, people should take it as a prophylactic. It’s a hardy plant that can grow in poor soil, so don't be surprised if you spot it in gardens around the city.
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