Nature’s Gift of Nasturtiums



Musings from 20th Street

Now with summer here, I am following Dr. Adiel Tel-Oren’s suggestion to liberally incorporate flowers into my eating. We NYC urban dwellers are so fortunate to have farmers’ markets scattered around the city. I go to the Union Square market on Wednesdays and Saturdays (they’re open Monday, Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday, and they are, hands-down, the best place to get fresh organic produce in the city), and always find a wide variety of edible flowers. But my favorite is the nasturtiums. Windfall Farms has the best flowers, and Stu’s wheatgrass bus has great leaves. Those are always my first two stops.

Read on to find a post from Mary Houston’s Cosmic Cooking about nasturtiums.


Nasturtiums originally came from Peru and perhaps are also native to Chile. The original nasturtiums were brought to Europe (to Spain) by the conquistadores in the 16th Century, who were also responsible for introducing Europeans to the cacao bean from which we get chocolate. These first nasturtiums were Tropaeolum Minus, having a semi-trailing vine and orange-yellow flowers, with leaves in the shape of a shield. The taller variety Tropaeolum Majus which had darker orange flowers and rounder leaves was introduced by a Dutch botanist much later. Today there are nasturtiums of various colors from off-white through to a dark burgundy color.

The official name of watercress is Nasturtium Officinale, and nasturtiums were named so because they have a peppery taste like the watercress. The name nasturtium means “nose twisted” (from the Latin nasum, nose and torquere to twist), probably referring to the pungent smell of the flowers or the mustard — like oil that is released from the leaves when they are chewed. The whole above-ground parts of the plant are edible, and can be used for medicinal purposes.

The Incas knew about the medicinal value of these flowers and used them in salads, as can be done today. Like kachnar, marigold, violet and viola flowers, nasturtium blooms are edible and are a good addition to salads.

The nasturtium is called by many names including ‘nasties’, Indian Cress, Monk’s cress and Capuchin cress, which is a reference to the shape of the flowers which resemble a Capuchin monk’s hooded cloak. I had the misguided idea that their name was “nasty urchins” and I took a long time to put this right. I used to plant seeds in my part of the garden when I was young along with sweet peas. They grow easily and reseed if left to do so, and are very decorative plants. Useful too if you plant them between vegetables, as they attract blackfly, therefore sparing vegetables from this pest. They also repel aphids, ants and flies.

The seeds contain fatty oil which is used as varnish like linseeds oil, and this is composed of unsaturated fatty acids (good ones). The mustard-like oil permeated the whole plant and contains Benzyl Isothiocyanate which is anti-bacterial and anti-fungal. The plant is used for respiratory infections and clears phlegm from the chest in bronchial infections. It is also good for the liver, kidneys and bladder,and has diuretic properties. It is also used for skin problems, with an infusion or decoction made from the whole plant (not roots).

Nasturtiums contain flavonoids such as kaempferol and iso-quercitrin, carotenoids, vitamin C, the minerals iron, sulphur, manganese, and amino acids. They have antiseptic properties and act as a diuretic and mild laxative (not as strong as senna pods or jamalgota). In the past they were used to promote menstruation, and purify the blood.

An infusion of the leaves can be made into sap flakes and can be used as insecticide. An infusion or decoction of the leaves and flowers can help combat skin problems including acne. They were useful for their vitamin C content to prevent scurvy in the past, when people tended to suffer from a vitamin C deficiency in winter.

“La Ronde” by Henri Matisse

Nasturtiums have featured in many paintings including “La Ronde” by Henri Matisse, and just by looking at the pictures here you will no doubt see why they have been a feature in so many paintings. Monet had them in his garden at Giverney of course.

The flower buds may be used as a substitute for capers, although you shouldn’t eat too many of them as they contain oxalic acid which is toxic. The flowers are delicious stuffed with cream cheese, and the petals can be added to salads. You can make pickles with the seed pods in autumn too, and nasturtium and lemon butter to make a change from garlic butter, as it is good with fish and chicken.


A handful or more of your favorite salad greens
A big handful of Nasturtium leaves and flowers
1 grapefruit peeled and broken into sections, then halved

1 Avocado peeled and sliced
2-3 tsps. of fresh Marjoram
2-3 tsps of fresh Thyme (or Tarragon or Oregano)
2 -3 Tbsp. of Organic Olive Oil
Sea Salt to taste

Toss all together and enjoy…


Please RSVP for either or both talks via email to:

Wednesday, August 9th, 7:30pm

will be talking on

“Where Does Pain Come From”

Dr. Blatman is the founder and medical director of the Blatman Health and Wellness Center, and a nationally recognized specialist in treating myofascial pain. He is credentialed in Pain Management and Board Certified in Occupational and Environmental Medicine and in Integrative Holistic Medicine.

After receiving his medical degree from the Medical College of Pennsylvania in 1980, Dr. Blatman completed two years of training in orthopedic surgery. He later studied ergonomics during his residency in Occupational and Environmental Medicine at the University of Cincinnati Hospital. For several years, Dr. Blatman practiced family medicine while managing a chain of urgent care facilities.

During Dr. Blatman’s tenure in general medicine, he recognized western medicine’s difficulty treating and managing chronic and myofascial pain. Consequently, he studied with the late Janet Travell, MD, then recognized as the world’s leading expert in treating myofascial pain disorders.

In 1988, Dr. Blatman established Cincinnati’s first clinic specifically dedicated to providing traditional and holistic pain treatment solutions.

Dr. Blatman is a Board Certified Practitioner of Integrative and Holistic Medicine, Designated A.B.I.H.M., for American Board of Integrative Holistic Medicine.



Thursday, August 31st, 7:30pm

At Dr. Tel-Oren’s last talk at La Casa, we were filled to the brim, and had to turn away 30 people. He is returning to La Casa for another one of his insightful, fact-filled lectures on health next month.

Dr. Tel-Oren has opened over 30 skin clinics around the world. During his trip to NYC, he is offering his free whole-body examination to detect possible trouble-spots on the skin. Skin cancer is the most prevalent cancer today. And if not caught early, it can turn lethal. You can book a place to attend Dr. T’s skin clinic HERE.


Respectfully submitted by:
*Licensed Psychologist
*Certified  Psychoanalyst
*Stone Carrier Medicine Woman, Native American Traditional Organization

Jane’s latest book is out now through Free Association Books, and available through AMAZON!


Our beautiful La Casa de Vida, in Rio Grande, Puerto Rico, now has three rooms available that you can book by clicking HERE!

Since we opened the property up to the public, we’ve had some fascinating visitors, and positive reviews have been flooding Airbnb about what it’s like to stay there.

Here are just a few from happy guests:

“Quaint cabin with a beautiful view that reaches the ocean. We especially enjoyed sitting on the front porch in the evening when the rain suddenly rolled in, drinking coffee and playing with the two adorable dogs on the property. Loved sleeping with the sounds of the crickets and frogs in the forest. Would definitely recommend!”

“Beautiful, beautiful, beautiful. Such a quaint little escape in the rainforest. Very unique and would definitely recommend this experience. The puppies are so friendly and adorable!”


“We decided to stay at La Casa because of its proximity to the El Yunque rainforest–it’s practically part of it! While it turned out we had to drive out and back in order to get to El Yunque proper, it was still an amazing stay in nature. This is not a pristine condo on the ocean, but a tidy and quirky low-tech retreat in the lush forest. No AC, wifi, or other luxuries, but you’re enveloped by the sounds and smells of nature. I had the best night sleep of our entire trip because of the Coqui (frogs), insects, and occasional rain was hypnotic. If they don’t keep you up then you’re not going to believe how many creatures will lull you to sleep. This is a fantastic home to get some respite at, while enjoying the beautiful sweeping vistas during the day, and the natural sounds at night; we would absolutely stay here again.”
                      – Christopher​

For a complete archive of all previous issues of Musings From 20th Street, simply click HERE!


A brand new edition of my book, Princess Diana: Modern Day Moon Goddess, has just been released to mark the 20th anniversary of her death.

The book examines Diana’s growth from self-deprecating ingénue, to royal mother, to powerful and independent woman — as an inevitable process in the Princess’ climb toward self-actualization, one cut short by numerous tragic missteps.

You can purchase a copy, with its brand new cover, by clicking HERE.

La Casa is so very pleased to have a new treatment that we are calling the


This state-of-the-art, NASA-approved technology, uses a fine-tuned mixture of oxygen, light therapy, heat, vibration and essential oils to deliver dramatic results for wellness, healing, detoxification, anti-inflammation, cosmetic improvement, weight loss, and metabolic stabilization. The Rejuva-Pod works by evoking a cascade of healthy biochemical processes throughout the body that increases the body’s natural ability to fight pathogens, disease, and inflammation, and to be in top shape.

La Casa has a brand new brochure out, introducing new therapies as well as innovative packages at significant price-saving costs.

Stop by the Spa & Wellness Center soon to pick up your copy and find out which of our healing and nourishing therapies is right for you.

La Casa Spa and Wellness Center was created out of the experience one woman had with her mother. Long before holistic medicine became widely known, Dr. Jane Goldberg spent the 1970s seeking alternative cancer therapies for her mother, who had been diagnosed with terminal bone cancer. Following sound principles of holistic health, Jane’s mother was able to reverse her cancer condition entirely, moving from her wheelchair to joyfully playing tennis again. This experience inspired Jane to specialize in her psychoanalytic practice to work with cancer patients, and to fulfill the need for a holistic healing center in NYC. Jane and La Casa invite you to partake of the restorative and profoundly cleansing therapies that have brought La Casa world-wide recognition.

Legal Disclaimer
Information provided is for informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice. No health claims for these products or therapies have been evaluated by the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA), nor has the FDA nor any other medical authority approved these products pr therapies to diagnose, cure, or prevent disease. Since every person is unique, we highly recommend you to consult with your licensed health care practitioner about the use of products or therapies discussed here as it relates to your particular situation.