Cochlearia officinalis L. - syn. Cochlearia atlantica Pobed. - Brassicaceae
common scurvy-grass, spoonwort, Echtes Löffelkraut, Skorbutkraut
Biennial or perennial herb, native to the coastal regions of of western, northern and central Europe (Germany e.g.).
„The plant acquired its common name from the observation that it cured scurvy, and it was taken on board ships in dried bundles or distilled extracts. Its very bitter taste was usually disguised with herbs and spices; however, this did not prevent scurvygrass drinks and sandwiches becoming a popular fad in the UK until the middle of the nineteenth century, when citrus fruits became more readily available.“ https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cochlearia_officinalis
„300 years ago it was endemic to almost all European gardens, because it was an effective plant against scurvy. Therefore, it was salted and barrels of taken on sea voyages. Even the Vikings are said to have taken advantage of this on their voyages.“ https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Echtes_L%C3%B6ffelkraut
„Spooneworte… is also a singular remedie against the disease of the mouth… called by the Hollanders and Friselanders Scuerbuyck, against whiche evill it hath bene lately proved to be very good and is in great estimation and much used of the Hollanders and Frieseans.“
[R.Dodoens, A niewe herball or historie of plantes… translated out of French into English, by Henry Lyte, Antwerp, Dewes, 1578, 117-118]
[The rise and fall of the “antiscorbutics”: some notes on the traditional cures for “land scurvy”., Hughes, R.E., Medical history, 34(01), 1990, 52-64] http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1036000/pdf/medhist00056-0056.pdf
The fresh plant is eaten as salad or the juice of it taken to treat scurvy. The plant contains ascorbic acid and essential oil (0.015-0.03% f.w. or 0.15-0.3% d.w.). Main component of the oil is 2-butyl isothiocyanate, product of enzymatic hydrolysis of glucocochlearin (1-methylpropyl glucosinolate). 2-Butyl isothiocyanate irritates the skin and may lead to blistering. However, the concentration in the plant is low, therefore the secretagogues, digestive-promoting properties of small doses come into effect.
[Kosch, A., Handbuch der Deutschen Arzneipflanzen, Springer Berlin, 1939, 125-126]
Cochlearia atlantica plants contained (per 100g d.w.) ascorbic acid 135mg, glutathione 52.5mg, α-tocopherol 16.7mg, and γ-tocopherol 25.6mg.
[The role of ascorbate in drought‐treated Cochlearia atlantica Pobed. and Armeria maritima (Mill.) Willd., Buckland, S.M., Price, A.H., Hendry, G.A., New Phytologist, 119(1), 1991, 155-160] http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1469-8137.1991.tb01019.x/pdf
Lindman, C.A.M., Bilder ur Nordens Flora, vol.1 t.204 (1922-1926)