Nasturtiums: Edible Magic for Women's Hormones!

August 5, 2022

Nasturtiums: Edible Magic for Women's Hormones!

Dr. Nicole Sundene

Female Hormone Specialist

Nasturtium flowers are an edible, powerful, delicious "food as medicine" natural remedy for Women's Health and Hormones! Did you know the Nasturtium is actually part of the cabbage family and therefore has many similar magical powers along with a few of its own?

Today we will discuss the latest Nasturtium research I didn't even know about in the works such as potentially benefiting pulmonary fibrosis and lung damage!

I love to decorate my food with fresh edible flowers because it makes it indulgent and pretty without the calories. The best thing about nasturtiums is they grow easily on a drip line, need little maintenance, and look indulgent so your inner child will be happy eating less junk food and more pretty flowers!

Whenever I feel blah and tired I love to pick some fresh nasturtium flowers and leaves and eat them for an instant energy boost. 

The rich orange pigment in the flowers and greens has a mild peppery flavor that pairs well with most salads and dinner dishes or serves as beautiful edible decor to make teas, drinks, and desserts fun and beautiful.  Indulging in beautiful flowers is healthy and disease and inflammation reducing per my recent research we will discuss today. 

Nasturtium is not only nutritious food but a rich source of glucosinolates which become the estrogen-lowering molecule sulforaphane once chewed. Eating as many plants as possible that reduce estrogen is important for women with estrogen-dominant conditions such as PMS, PCOS, Hashimoto's, Thyroid disease, and Perimenopause. 

Herbalists have traditionally used Nasturtium officinale or “watercress” as we commonly know it to treat high blood pressure, diabetes, liver detox, and kidney disease. 

The research studies below demonstrate that nasturtium is a cruciferous vegetable with potent antioxidant and anti-inflammatory benefits similar to the rest of the cabbage family. The phenylpropanoids are most concentrated in the flowers, second to the leaves, and least in the stems. 

No wonder I always feel so amazing when I eat some fresh nasturtium flowers as their magical healing components are in a higher concentration in the flowers, although the leaves are delicious in salads and an easy green leafy veggie to grow!

The anti-inflammatory benefits of nasturtium are shown to be beneficial when applied topically and taken internally. 

Nasturtium contains flavonoids, anthocyanins, glutathione, SOD (super oxide dismutase), and isoflavones that are also helpful for women against breast cancer, weight loss, chronic bladder problems, and anti-aging.

Scientists are currently studying how some of the properties of Nasturtium may have neuroprotective and anti-inflammatory properties that are specifically helpful to the nervous system and brain. The antioxidant properties in nasturtiums may be protective towards the liver and helpful against decreasing high LDL or “bad cholesterol” that causes heart disease as well as helpful for reducing post exercise induced inflammation in athletes. 

Preliminary studies show the antioxidants in nasturtium improved collagen deposits in the lung condition pulmonary fibrosis, and while more studies are warranted to understand the mechanism and dosing it is generally a safe and harmless “food as medicine,” for patients with pulmonary fibrosis. Since many efficacious treatments are lacking for pulmonary fibrosis this warrants a full randomized control trial to determine dose, safety, and efficacy. 

Patients that are physically disabled benefited from taking nasturtium in a research study and consumption resulted in fewer markers of inflammation including oxidative stress and c-reactive protein. Therefore nasturtium may also be beneficial for chronic pain via blocking COX pathways and demonstrates also antimicrobial properties against gram-positive bacteria in vitro.  The isothiocyanates in nasturtium have been shown to be beneficial against UTI- Urinary Track Infections. 

Nasturtium was found to be protective against gentamycin induced kidney damage and may have a future role in how we treat cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy. 

While cancer patients and kidney patients deserve more research on nasturtium to understand the most efficacious dose, since nasturtium is essentially a food it should be fine to add more to the diet but as with any new herbal medicine always check with your Naturopathic Doctor!

If you need my help with your nutrition, hormones, women's health, or any of the aforementioned conditions simply pop over to my SCHEDULE page to treat yourself to a Naturopathic visit.  

Dr. Nicole Sundene

(480) 837-0900

Dr. Sundene is a Naturopathic Doctor in Scottsdale, Arizona, and is a Female Hormone Expert in Women's Health and Bioidentical Hormones. She specializes in Holistic Women's Health for Menopause,  Thyroid,  Hashimotos,  PMS, PerimenopauseAutoimmunePostpartumChronic Fatigue, DepressionAnxiety, Food Allergies,  DigestionDermatology, AcnePsoriasis Eczema, and Adrenal Hormonal Conditions. In 1999 she began working for a Hormone Doctor prior to starting Naturopathic Medical School. With over 23 years of experience in both Prescription and Natural women's health and hormones, she presents to women the best-integrated health solutions for their Chronic Disease. 

She has been an Herbalist for over 28 years and enjoys teaching women how to use herbs to balance their hormones, nutrition and optimize their health. Dr. Sundene relies on blood testing for her hormone metrics. The hormone testing is covered per the patient's insurance plan (not Medicaid) and conducted at certain points in the woman's menstrual cycle. To learn more about Hormone Testing for Women Visit: Bioidentical Hormones. Follow Dr. Sundene on InstagramTwitter, and Facebook for more tips on Women's Health, Female Hormones, and Naturopathy!

References: 

  1. Clemente M, Miguel MD, Felipe KB, Gribner C, F Moura P, R Rigoni AA, B Parisotto E, T Piltz M, Valdameri G, Henneberg R, B Schonhofen C, S Carvalho JL, Fernandes LC, G Miguel O. Biomarkers of oxidative stress and inflammation in people witha physical disability treated with a standardized extract of Nasturtium officinale: A randomized, double-blind, and placebo-controlled trial. Phytother Res. 2020 Oct;34(10):2756-2765. doi: 10.1002/ptr.6718. Epub 2020 Jun 8. PMID: 32510696.
  2. Clemente M, Miguel MD, Felipe KB, Gribner C, Moura PF, Rigoni AAR, Parisotto EB, Henneberg R, Dias JFG, Piltz MT, Clemente EF, Schonhofen CB, Carvalho JLS, Fernandes LC, Miguel OG. Effect of watercress extract supplementation on lipid profile and oxidative stress markers in overweight people with physical disability: A randomized, double-blind, and placebo-controlled trial. Phytother Res. 2021 Apr;35(4):2211-2219. doi: 10.1002/ptr.6979. Epub 2021 Jan 28. PMID: 33507592.
  3. Shokraei S, Khandouzi N, Sina Z, Nasrollahzadeh J. The acute effect of incorporating lettuce or watercress into a moderately high-fat meal on postprandial lipid, glycemic response, and plasma inflammatory cytokines in healthy young men: a randomized crossover trial. Lipids Health Dis. 2021 Jul 15;20(1):66. doi: 10.1186/s12944-021-01487-9. PMID: 34261489; PMCID: PMC8281573.
  4. Fogarty MC, Hughes CM, Burke G, Brown JC, Davison GW. Acute and chronic watercress supplementation attenuates exercise-induced peripheral mononuclear cell DNA damage and lipid peroxidation. Br J Nutr. 2013 Jan 28;109(2):293-301. doi: 10.1017/S0007114512000992. Epub 2012 Apr 5. PMID: 22475430.
  5. 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.
  6. Klimek-Szczykutowicz M, Szopa A, Ekiert H. Chemical composition, traditional and professional use in medicine, application in environmental protection, position in food and cosmetics industries, and biotechnological studies of Nasturtium officinale (watercress) - a review. Fitoterapia. 2018 Sep;129:283-292. doi: 10.1016/j.fitote.2018.05.031. Epub 2018 May 28. PMID: 29852261.
  7. Camponogara C, Silva CR, Brusco I, Piana M, Faccin H, de Carvalho LM, Schuch A, Trevisan G, Oliveira SM. Nasturtium officinale R. Br. effectively reduces the skin inflammation induced by croton oil via glucocorticoid receptor-dependent and NF-κB pathways without causing toxicological effects in mice. J Ethnopharmacol. 2019 Jan 30;229:190-204. doi: 10.1016/j.jep.2018.10.011. Epub 2018 Oct 17. PMID: 30339978.
  8. Tran HT, Márton MR, Herz C, Maul R, Baldermann S, Schreiner M, Lamy E. Nasturtium (Indian cress, Tropaeolum majus nanum) dually blocks the COX and LOX pathway in primary human immune cells. Phytomedicine. 2016 Jun 1;23(6):611-20. doi: 10.1016/j.phymed.2016.02.025. Epub 2016 Mar 18. PMID: 27161402.
  9. Clemente M, Miguel MD, Felipe KB, Gribner C, F Moura P, R Rigoni AA, B Parisotto E, T Piltz M, Valdameri G, Henneberg R, B Schonhofen C, S Carvalho JL, Fernandes LC, G Miguel O. Biomarkers of oxidative stress and inflammation in people witha physical disability treated with a standardized extract of Nasturtium officinale: A randomized, double-blind, and placebo-controlled trial. Phytother Res. 2020 Oct;34(10):2756-2765. doi: 10.1002/ptr.6718. Epub 2020 Jun 8. PMID: 32510696.
  10. Clemente M, Miguel MD, Felipe KB, Gribner C, Moura PF, Rigoni AAR, Parisotto EB, Henneberg R, Dias JFG, Piltz MT, Clemente EF, Schonhofen CB, Carvalho JLS, Fernandes LC, Miguel OG. Effect of watercress extract supplementation on lipid profile and oxidative stress markers in overweight people with physical disability: A randomized, double-blind, and placebo-controlled trial. Phytother Res. 2021 Apr;35(4):2211-2219. doi: 10.1002/ptr.6979. Epub 2021 Jan 28. PMID: 33507592.
  11. Fogarty MC, Hughes CM, Burke G, Brown JC, Davison GW. Acute and chronic watercress supplementation attenuates exercise-induced peripheral mononuclear cell DNA damage and lipid peroxidation. Br J Nutr. 2013 Jan 28;109(2):293-301. doi: 10.1017/S0007114512000992. Epub 2012 Apr 5. PMID: 22475430.
  12. Freitas E, Aires A, de Santos Rosa EA, Saavedra MJ. Antibacterial activity and synergistic effect between watercress extracts, 2-phenylethyl isothiocyanate and antibiotics against 11 isolates of Escherichia coli from clinical and animal source. Lett Appl Microbiol. 2013 Oct;57(4):266-73. doi: 10.1111/lam.12105. Epub 2013 Jun 20. PMID: 23682789.
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