You have heard that nasturtium has been used for decades to treat infections because the mustard oils it contains can inhibit the multiplication of bacteria, viruses and fungi? But you are not yet convinced of the effect and would like to know more about the intake, scientific background and the criteria for buying nasturtium products?
This nasturtium test 2021 is about the products of the medicinal plant. Nasturtium is said to have a healing effect and is used in traditional medicine. In recent years, however, science has also devoted itself to the ornamental and useful plant and researched the various effects of its flowers and leaves.
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- 2 The most important facts
- 3 The Best Nasturtium: Our Picks
- 4 Buying and evaluation criteria for nasturtiums
- 5 Guide: Frequently asked questions about nasturtium answered in detail
The most important facts
- The large nasturtium is the medicinal plant of the year 2013. Its ingredients inhibit the multiplication of bacteria, viruses and fungi. For this reason, it is used to treat infections.
- The nasturtium has secondary plant substances that can protect people from diseases and can even act similarly to a conventional antibiotic. It contains a variety of minerals and health-promoting compounds with antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects.
- Preparations of nasturtium are also used to treat upper respiratory and urinary tract infections.
The Best Nasturtium: Our Picks
Buying and evaluation criteria for nasturtiums
In the following, we will show you which factors you can use to compare and evaluate nasturtium products. This will make it easier for you to decide whether a particular product is suitable for you or not. When buying nasturtiums, you can pay attention to various aspects, such as:
The individual purchase criteria are described in more detail in the following paragraphs.
Nasturtium is mainly available in a solid dosage form. The most important dosage forms include:
- Film-coated tablets: Film-coated tablets are tablets that are coated with polymer. This masks the smell and taste. This makes the tablets easier to swallow. In addition, the contents are protected from external influences. Taking film-coated tablets is usually easier as well as more pleasant.
- Capsules: Capsules are solid and single-dose forms of medicine. They consist of a capsule shell and a filling. Capsules come in different shapes and sizes. One advantage of capsules is that they can be taken quickly and easily. One problem can be the uncomfortable feeling in the throat when swallowing the capsules.
- Tablets: Tablets are solid and single-dose forms of medicine. They can be swallowed unchewed, chewed or dissolved in water. One advantage of tablets is their long shelf life. However, with tablets, the dose cannot be adjusted or can only be adjusted poorly.
- Tinctures: Tinctures are alcoholic extracts from plant and animal material. You can also make your own tinctures with simple means.
Each dosage form has its advantages and disadvantages. Here you have to decide which form you are most comfortable with and which you prefer.
The size of the pack is mainly based on the expected duration of treatment. In Germany, pack sizes are standardised. There are three pack size labels:
- N1: N1 forms a small pack size for acute therapy or for therapy adjustment. It is intended for a treatment period of ten days.
- N2: Size N2 is a medium package size for long-term therapy with special medical supervision. It is to be chosen for a treatment duration of 30 days.
- N3: N3 is a large package size for long-term therapy. Here, the treatment duration is 100 days.
The pack size is a major factor in the price of nasturtium products.
You can get safe and tested preparations at the pharmacy. The herbal remedies are available there in the same dosage and composition. You should also make sure that the preparations comply with the quality specifications of the German Pharmacopoeia. The reason for this is that medicinal plant extracts are mixtures of many substances. This means that the plant does not only contain one specific active substance, but many different ones.
Therefore, this can quickly become dangerous. The leaves, stems and stalks contain varying amounts of these substances. Standardised and controlled extracts are needed that always contain the same proportion of active substance. When buying nasturtium products, you should therefore pay attention to the quality specifications.
Guide: Frequently asked questions about nasturtium answered in detail
In order to inform you comprehensively about the efficacy of nasturtium products and to bring you closer to the current state of science, all important information is summarised in the following sections.
What is nasturtium and how does it work?
The flowers of the nasturtium are often used in human nutrition. It contains a variety of minerals and health-promoting compounds with antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects (3, 4, 5, 6, 7).
The ingredients of nasturtium, such as mustard oils, are what kill bacteria and viruses.
This is why nasturtium preparations are also used to treat infections of the upper respiratory tract and urinary tract (8, 9).
Nasturtium is effective against hospital pathogens
Scientists at the University of Freiburg have tested the effect against stubborn hospital germs. For this purpose, they tested an approved preparation, a mixture of nasturtium and horseradish, which is also used to treat infections of the upper respiratory tract and urinary tract. In the laboratory, the researchers tested a variety of hospital pathogens, both resistant and non-resistant bacteria.
They found that these pathogens reacted very sensitively and were killed (1). These results show that nasturtium may be an alternative to conventional antibiotics in the future. However, it will be some time before the corresponding preparations made from the ingredients of nasturtium are available for purchase. More research is needed here.
Nasturtium is as effective as antibiotics
A clinical study has investigated the efficacy and safety profile of a herbal medicine containing nasturtium and horseradish root for acute sinusitis, acute bronchitis and acute urinary tract infection in comparison with standard antibiotic therapy. The results suggest that therapy with the herbal medicine is comparable in efficacy to treatment with standard antibiotics (2, 11).
Treatment of upper respiratory and urinary tract infections
Another clinical trial has shown the efficacy and safety of a combination herbal medicine made from nasturtium and horseradish for the prophylactic treatment of patients with respiratory tract infections (10).
When and for whom is it useful to take nasturtium?
The flowers, leaves and seeds of the nasturtium are also used in herbal medicine. The mustard oils they contain are effective against viruses and infections.
Adults should take four tablets three times a day after meals, depending on the package leaflet. Nasturtium products should not be used if you suffer from kidney disease, stomach or intestinal ulcers. If your symptoms persist for a long time, you should always consult a doctor. Also check with the manufacturer of your nasturtium product.
Which parts of the nasturtium plant are used?
An alternative is to use the leaves and flowers to coat your salad, soup or dessert. They also make a nice garnish for cakes and pastries. You can also use nasturtiums to make a smoothie or pesto.
How should nasturtiums be dosed?
In the case of fresh plant pressed juice from leaves and flowers, no more than 30 grams should be taken in three individual doses per day. The mustard oil released by nasturtium is a kind of irritant drug for the mucous membrane. Therefore, nasturtium products should not be used for longer than four to six weeks.
What are the side effects of nasturtium?
Mustard oils can also cause inflammation of the mucous membranes (stomach/intestinal complaints) in sensitive people (e.g. nausea, diarrhoea, flatulence or heartburn). To minimise these complaints, you should take the preparations after meals with plenty of liquid. There are also preparations in enteric-coated capsules to protect the mucous membrane. Because of their irritating properties, preparations containing mustard oil should not be used for longer than four to six weeks.
Picture source: madeleinesteinbach/ 123rf
Conrad A, Biehler D, Nobis T, Richter H, Engels I, Biehler K, Frank U. Broad spectrum antibacterial activity of a mixture of isothiocyanates from nasturtium (Tropaeoli majoris herba) and horseradish (Armoraciae rusticanae radix). Drug Res (Stuttg). 2013 Feb;63(2):65-8. doi: 10.1055/s-0032-1331754. Epub 2013 Jan 17. PMID: 23447075.
Goos KH, Albrecht U, Schneider B. Wirksamkeit und Verträglichkeit eines pflanzlichen Arzneimittels mit Kapuzinerkressenkraut und Meerrettich bei akuter Sinusitis, akuter Bronchitis und akuter Blasenentzündung im Vergleich zu anderen Therapien unter den Bedingungen der täglichen Praxis. Ergebnisse einer prospektiven Kohortenstudie [Efficacy and safety profile of a herbal drug containing nasturtium herb and horseradish root in acute sinusitis, acute bronchitis and acute urinary tract infection in comparison with other treatments in the daily practice/results of a prospective cohort study]. Arzneimittelforschung. 2006;56(3):249-57. German. doi: 10.1055/s-0031-1296717. PMID: 16618018.
Navarro-González I, González-Barrio R, García-Valverde V, Bautista-Ortín AB, Periago MJ. Nutritional composition and antioxidant capacity in edible flowers: characterisation of phenolic compounds by HPLC-DAD-ESI/MSn. Int J Mol Sci. 2014 Dec 31;16(1):805-22. doi: 10.3390/ijms16010805. PMID: 25561232; PMCID: PMC4307276.
Jurca T, Baldea I, Filip GA, Olteanu D, Clichici S, Pallag A, Vicaş L, Marian E, Micle O, Crivii CB, Mureşan M. A Phytocomplex Consisting of Tropaeolum majus L. and Salvia officinalis L. Extracts Alleviates the Inflammatory Response of Dermal Fibroblasts to Bacterial Lipopolysaccharides. Oxid Med Cell Longev. 2020 May 21;2020:8516153. doi: 10.1155/2020/8516153. PMID: 32566105; PMCID: PMC7261326.
Barros RGC, Andrade JKS, Pereira UC, de Oliveira CS, Rafaella Ribeiro Santos Rezende Y, Oliveira Matos Silva T, Pedreira Nogueira J, Carvalho Gualberto N, Caroline Santos Araujo H, Narain N. Phytochemicals screening, antioxidant capacity and chemometric characterization of four edible flowers from Brazil. Food Res Int. 2020 Apr;130:108899. doi: 10.1016/j.foodres.2019.108899. Epub 2019 Dec 24. PMID: 32156350.
Jakubczyk K, Janda K, Watychowicz K, Łukasiak J, Wolska J. Garden nasturtium (Tropaeolum majus L.) - a source of mineral elements and bioactive compounds. Rocz Panstw Zakl Hig. 2018;69(2):119-126. PMID: 29766690.
Jurca T, Baldea I, Filip GA, Olteanu D, Clichici S, Pallag A, Vicas L, Marian E, Micle O, Muresan M. The effect of Tropaeolum majus L. on bacterial infections and in vitro efficacy on apoptosis and DNA lesions in hyperosmotic stress. J Physiol Pharmacol. 2018 Jun;69(3). doi: 10.26402/jpp.2018.3.06. Epub 2018 Sep 28. PMID: 30279303.
Conrad A, Kolberg T, Engels I, Frank U. In-vitro-Untersuchungen zur antibakteriellen wirksamkeit einer Kombination aus Kapuzinerkressenkraut (tropaeoli majoris herba) und meer- rettichwurzel (armoraciae rusticanae radix) [In vitro study to evaluate the antibacterial activity of a combination of the haulm of nasturtium (Tropaeoli majoris herba) and of the roots of horseradish (Armoraciae rusticanae radix)]. Arzneimittelforschung. 2006;56(12):842-9. German. doi: 10.1055/s-0031-1296796. PMID: 17260672.
Albrecht U, Goos KH, Schneider B. A randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial of a herbal medicinal product containing Tropaeoli majoris herba (Nasturtium) and Armoraciae rusticanae radix (Horseradish) for the prophylactic treatment of patients with chronically recurrent lower urinary tract infections. Curr Med Res Opin. 2007 Oct;23(10):2415-22. doi: 10.1185/030079907X233089. PMID: 17723159.
Fintelmann V, Albrecht U, Schmitz G, Schnitker J. Efficacy and safety of a combination herbal medicinal product containing Tropaeoli majoris herba and Armoraciae rusticanae radix for the prophylactic treatment of patients with respiratory tract diseases: a randomised, prospective, double-blind, placebo-controlled phase III trial. Curr Med Res Opin. 2012 Nov;28(11):1799-807. doi: 10.1185/03007995.2012.742048. Epub 2012 Oct 31. PMID: 23083066.
Goos KH, Albrecht U, Schneider B. Aktuelle Untersuchungen zur Wirksamkeit und Verträglichkeit eines pflanzlichen Arzneimittels mit Kapuzinerkressenkraut und Meerrettich bei akuter Sinusitis, akuter Bronchitis und akuter Blasenentztündung bei Kindern im Vergleich zu anderen Antibiotika [On-going investigations on efficacy and safety profile of a herbal drug containing nasturtium herb and horseradish root in acute sinusitis, acute bronchitis and acute urinary tract infection in children in comparison with other antibiotic treatments]. Arzneimittelforschung. 2007;57(4):238-46. German. doi: 10.1055/s-0031-1296611. PMID: 17515295.