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Healing in your own backyard

Gaia's resident Naturopath & herbalist Beth Herlihy explains the benefits of the common garden flower Nasturtiums.

The old herbalists used to say that every herb you could possibly need, would be found within a 5 mile radius of you.  One of the common herbs found in many peoples gardens are Nasturtiums.  All parts of nasturtiums are edible and are rich in iron, vitamin C, minerals and trace minerals.

Nasturtiums are used in herbal medicine as digestive tonics.  They improve appetite and generally warm and stimulate digestion, so is useful for those with a sluggish system.  They also mildly increase circulation so will help transport nutrients around your body.  They are slightly bitter, so stimulate the release of digestive juices from the liver and pancreas.

As it is the cold and flu season, they also have antimicrobial properties along with a good amount of vitamin C which can help keep the bugs at bay.  All you have to do is add the flowers into your salads.  For stronger effects, you can make a tea of the flowers and leaves.  The unripe seeds are also used as a substitute for capers.  Lastly, the beautiful thing about nasturtiums, is that not only do they look great in your garden, they are also very easy to grow and are just as happy in a pot as they are in the ground.